Harry Potter stared at the bird hooting on the windowsill. He blinked once. He blinked twice. He even took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes for good measure, but still the image did not abate. A snowy white owl was still standing right outside his window; a bird that looked remarkably like Hedwig. This was either a very cruel joke or an extremely touching gift. With shaking hands, he opened the latch quickly, making room for the bird to come inside.
“Hey, Beautiful,” he whispered softly as he stroked the bird’s feathers gingerly. The owl hooted in pleasure and hopped closer. He stared at the bird in wonder and sure enough, it felt like he was looking at his beloved Hedwig.
A scrap of parchment tied to the owl’s leg caught his attention and he hastened to cast detection spells on it. Finding no traces of dark magic on either the bird or the letter, he quickly unwound the paper, curious to see who’d sent the lovely gift. He blinked in bewilderment when all he saw written on it were three mysterious words:
Paid in full.
Draco Malfoy grunted grouchily as he traced soothing circles on his throbbing temples. Bloody hell! Why was he still feeling like a horde of Hippogriffs was tap-dancing on his head? Shouldn’t the sodding life debt be over and done with by now? He gritted his teeth as he poured a liberal amount of Firewhiskey into a cup and downed it in one huge gulp. Damn and blast! But it seemed like that quack of a Healer was right. He sighed heavily as the man’s words washed over him again.
“Pain is a manifestation of an imbalance in you, Mr. Malfoy. It’s your body’s way of saying that something is terribly wrong.” The Healer cocked his head and peered at the scowling man inquisitively.
“Thank you for stating the obvious, Hollis! Now, are you going to give me something to alleviate this annoying pounding in my head or do I have to take my Galleons elsewhere?” Draco growled as he made to get off the hospital bed.
“That is, of course, your prerogative, Mr. Malfoy. But other Healers would only tell you the same thing. The problem is not in your brain or even in your body, it is an imbalance up here,” He tapped his temple. “Perhaps a visit to a Psyche Healer is in order? I can certainly give you a recommendation-“
“I am not barmy! Nothing and I repeat NOTHING is wrong with my head!” Draco roared, insulted.
“I’m not implying you’re insane.” Hollis put his hands up in a conciliatory manner. “I’m merely educating you about the avenues open to you since there is nothing physically wrong. And besides-” he looked the blond over thoughtfully, "-I’ve only seen one other case similar to this and it wasn’t a physical ailment causing the pain there either.”
“What?” Draco breathed in sharply. “What was it? How did you cure them? Why aren’t you giving me that? That’s hardly fair! Do you want more Galleons? Because I can assure you-“
“Mr. Malfoy, I told that patient the same thing I said to you,” Hollis interjected, exasperated. “There is no cure you can buy or be given.”
“The man had a life debt, Mr. Malfoy,” Hollis explained to him softly, his eyes thoughtful once more.
“It was calling.”
Draco grumbled as he refilled his glass. Stupid Potter and his sodding life debt! Why the hell did it have to be him anyway? Even the bloody Weasel would’ve been better! He wrinkled his nose. Well, not by much really, and even then, only because all he would have needed to do in Weasel's case would be to give the moron something new and shiny and the fucking debt would’ve been squared away but still! It would’ve been so much easier! And less time-consuming!
How many perfectly good evenings had he already wasted trying to think of the right way to repay the git? So far, how many Galleons had been squandered on all sorts of things he thought the Gryffindor idiot would like? He'd been practically convinced that a white owl would be the ticket!
He slumped further into his seat as he ran a frustrated hand through his hair. He refused to think of the other option he had, which was to wait in the wings until he could save the man's life and even that plan had a flaw the size of Wales! Potter had been the Defence Against the Dark Arts professor for three consecutive years now and that didn’t really bring him in close contact with mortal peril. Unless of course one could count the occasional paper cut.
He groaned as he reached for the bottle again, intent on drowning out all thoughts of the life debt and of Harry Potter at least for one day!
“Alright there, Harry?” a concerned voice cut through his thoughts and Harry was brought back to the present.
Still rubbing his ear absently, he turned to the woman who'd just entered. “Oh. Yes, Headmistress.” He offered her a smile.
“Harry, it's been three years. I think you can call me Minerva when there are no students about.” She smiled back gently, then nodded to Harry’s reddened ear and added, “Perhaps someone is thinking of you.”
“Superstitious, Headmi- Minerva?” Harry chuckled playfully. “I never figured you for the type!”
“I’m not quite like Sybill, not just yet.” She laughed in return as she shook her head. "But if the idea produces a happy thought then I can’t say I'd really mind if I was.”
Harry merely shook his head in bemusement, finding that he agreed. Then his thoughts once again turned longingly to a certain redhead.
“Damn that Potter!” Draco growled as he slammed his fist on his desk, sending various quills flying in different directions. He’d just finished off the last of bottle of Firewhiskey on hand, and instead of the wonderful giddy, detached feeling he'd been anticipating, all he felt was anger; a raw and deep fury coupled with the ever-present ache in his head due to that thrice damned life debt centred around the only one clearly responsible.
Gnashing his teeth, he swayed unsteadily as he got up and hurried out of the room. Well, as fast as a highly inebriated man could manage anyway. He tripped and fell and was almost certain that he did some lasting damage to one of his mother’s prized vases but he eventually made it. He swooped in triumph when he saw the ornate double doors, only to cower a second later, his head pounding from his own yell.
Gah! He moaned as he shuffled into the library at a more sedate pace. Fortunately for his sanity, the book he was looking for was easy to locate and just as he reached up to take it from the shelf, his eyes fell on another tome. It looked fairly unused, perhaps even still unopened, and it was lined with dust and grime but its gilded title beckoned him seductively.
PAID IN FULL: A Guide to Fulfilling Every Wish
Suddenly it felt like a light from heaven had shone upon him and lead him to this very book! Either that or the manor's lighting system was on the blink again. Thank Merlin there were no disco balls this time. He could’ve really done without seeing the evidence of his father’s disturbing strobe lights’ fetish. There was one in his parents’ bedroom for pity’s sake! Although, when he stopped to think about it that did explain a lot. He shuddered, cutting off that train of thought. He seized the old book, intent on ridding himself of the life debt for once and for all.
Perhaps it was the result of being excited over his find or maybe the buzz of sweet alcohol filling his senses or maybe it was because of that one time the House Elf had dropped him on his head when he was a baby and it really hadn’t been his fault that he’d sent the creature a nonverbal Stinging Hex strong enough to give the thing a small stroke but it had just been an act of self defence and--ahem, oh right.
Perhaps it was for all those reasons that Draco never gave the book’s subtitle a second thought. For just below the illustrious title was a small script that read:
How to become a Genie in 10 Easy Steps.
Oh gods! Please let this work! Draco prayed as he looked over the finishing touches for the ritual. Everything seemed to be going according to plan, although that golden oil lamp looked entirely out of place amongst the runes and symbols he had sketched onto the floor. Discarding his discomfiture, he stepped into the centre of the room and positioned his body correctly. Then after taking a deep fortifying breath, he brought his elbows up.
“Ruat coelum!” he growled as he maintained his posture. “Exitus acta probat!” He slapped his open palms together and bowed his head.
The room came alive with the hum of magic and the candles flared higher. Spots began appearing in his line of vision as he swayed unsteadily, but determined, he planted his feet firmly on the ground. He had to do this! He had to finish it.
The pain in his head surged anew and he doubled over in pain. He was able to take a few staggering steps forward before he crumpled on the floor. Fuck! Perhaps trying to perform mysterious rituals when he was about as wankered as a Hufflepuff on his first bottle of Ogden's hadn't been the best idea in the world. He groaned as he curled into himself in pain.
Then the world went mercifully black.
There were times in life when absolutely everything that needed to be said could be neatly comprised into three strong words:
“WHAT THE FUCK?”
Draco stared down at himself in horror. The small relief that the action didn’t even give him a slight headache was completely lost beneath the tide of complete revulsion that was stirring in his gut. He hurried to the floor length mirror in the corner of the room. Gaping at the picture he made, he turned every which way to survey the damage.
How could this be? He'd followed the directions to the letter! All the way down to the imported Baltic Yeti toe clippings! Although he really didn’t know why those were so important and why they even had them in stock. It wasn’t as if his father ever tried to transform himself into- He shuddered at what that line of thinking might imply and firmly brought his attention back to the problem at hand.
Why the hell was he dressed like a sodding Harem girl?
And why for the love Merlin’s teacups was the outfit pink? And what in god’s name was that on his wrist? Was that a cuff? His grey eyes widened even more as a grim realization dawned on him. It couldn’t be! Surely even he wasn’t that unfortunate? He tore his gaze away from his reflection and hurried to find the book. He breathed sharply when his hands closed around it and he saw the innocent subtitle glaring up at him from the spine.
“FUCKING HELL!” Draco roared as the book clattered to the floor.
“I’M A SODDING GENIE?!”
Meanwhile, Harry was well on his way to getting pleasantly drunk in his living room, a bottle of Firewhiskey in one hand and a crumpled letter in the other. He didn’t care that it was barely nine o’clock in the morning. Hell, he didn’t even mind that he was drinking alone. He raised his tumbler jauntily as he toasted the couple of the hour.
“T-to Ginny and Dean! M-may you live together in stinking happiness with your stupid house and your sodding baby!” he growled as he threw the bottle against the wall. The sound of shattering glass grated on his nerves as he slumped back to the couch. “Okay, prolly not the b’st thing to do and prolly not the baby, but sod evr’ything else! ‘Specially that stupid Thomas!”
He gritted his teeth, still incensed beyond all reason. So he didn’t exactly go off chasing after Ginny these days or had ever really asked her out after the end of the war, but damn it! He had been busy! And there had been the restorations to complete and then the trials to deal with! What else was he supposed to have done?
And besides, Dean had had no right to go swooping in like a- like a girlfriend-poaching vulture and propose to her! And that was after he’d knocked her up the duff, the disgusting fertile bastard! Harry groaned as he made to reach for more alcohol to numb the pain but he remembered it was a casualty from his pique with the wall. He ran a frustrated hand through his hair.
Fuck, he really wished he had some Firewhiskey right now!
Draco was still staring at his reflection in muted horror when a tug on his wrists propelled him upward and Apparated him out of his room. He blinked bewilderedly as he took in his surroundings and the bottle of Firewhiskey that had suddenly materialized in his hand. Apparently it couldn’t be said enough today…
“What the fuck?”
“What the hell?” Harry growled as he stared at the pink vision in front of him. Was that Malfoy? And what the hell was he playing at? What was the deal with all that pink? Harry was about to snarl these questions to the immobile man when he caught sight of the alcohol in Malfoy’s hands.
“Oi Firewhiskey! *hic* Give it here!”
Still blinking in shock, Draco made no resistance at the tug on his hands.
Harry grabbed the bottle with great zeal and then with a nod of thanks, he began to guzzle its entire contents down. The delicious line of liquid fire worked its way down his throat and warmed his insides pleasantly. He almost closed his eyes in rapture but he couldn’t pull his gaze away from Malfoy’s penetrating stare.
Draco watched in wonder as the muscles in Potter’s throat worked tirelessly as he downed his drink. A trickle of alcohol had escaped the corner of the man’s lips and it trailed deliciously down the line of Potter’s chin and neck. Draco found himself with the sudden and quite inexplicable urge to lick it off. Mortified beyond belief, especially since this was Potter for fuck’s sake, he quickly looked away.
“Mmm…’s good.” Potter licked his lips and Draco, to his eternal consternation, felt a small twinge in his groin at the action. “Must say, even though you’re here *hic* this a pretty damn good dream *hic* Though-” He wrinkled his nose. “D’nno why I’d dream you up tat way. You’re already a fairy in real life!” He laughed drunkenly.
“WHAT?” Draco’s mouth fell open in outrage as a sudden image of himself as a fairy coming out of a genie lamp invaded his mind while Potter's drunken words washed over him. The skirt, the sparkles, the bloody wings! The full picture was too ghastly to even contemplate!
“I am not a sodding fairy! It’s bad enough that I bloody well turned myself into a fucking genie but I will not stand here and let you slander me with such lies!“
“Gods, Malfoy! You shriek like a bloody harpy!” Harry groaned as he clutched his head.
“I am also NOT nor have I ever been a harpy!” Draco shot back. “Bloody hell, Potter! Are you intent on calling me every single bleeding kind of magical creature there is until you fucking well-?”
“Holy shite, I think I’m going to be sick,” Harry clutched his stomach, a hand flying up to cover his mouth.
“You’d better not do it anywhere near me, you oaf!” Draco blanched as he warily stepped backwards.
“Merlin, why the fuck are you here again?” Harry said through gritted teeth as he doubled over in pain. “I wish you’d just go home, Malfoy!”
Twin spots of colour dotted his cheeks as Draco opened his mouth to deliver a blistering diatribe in response when suddenly he felt another tug on his wrists. Oh bugger, not again! He moaned in dismay, but instead of Apparating he felt himself transfiguring into a wisp of smoke. But before he could even wrap his stunned mind around that, he was already returning to his solid form.
“What the hell?” he exclaimed as he looked around his new surroundings, instantly struck blind by the hideous colour scheme of the room and the amount of god-awful chintz sofas. Taking in the chamber’s decorations, the realization hit him like a Bludger to the face. Genies stayed in their lamps or bottles, didn’t they? That’s why he was here in this den, which also seemed to be a discarded bottle of Firewhiskey.
Draco found himself rudely awaken by the swaying of his bed. Disoriented, he quickly sat up and took in his surroundings. As he did, not only did he feel his retinas burn from staring at the garish clash of red, pink and violet, but his stomach also lurched violently at the memory of yesterday’s events.
He was now a genie living in a discarded bottle of Firewhiskey. He swore loudly.
"For the love of Merlin's teacups, quit whining about the bloody tapestries! Perhaps Potter was right and you were better suited to be a fairy after all!"
Draco whirled around in shock, nearly landing on his arse as he did so. “Professor?” He gaped at the horrific vision before him.
Severus Snape was glowering at him, dressed in sheer silver chiffon and… My god, was that a belly button ring?
"Professor! You look...How could you be? What just-“ Draco spluttered, incoherently. "HOW?"
“Don't ask me, you infuriating brat! You're the one who’s envisioning me this way!”
“What? I never!” Draco spluttered incoherently. “Especially not in that colour!”
"Whenever a new genie is born, there is an Elder sent to guide them. The shape and form of that mentor depends on the neophyte. So clearly this monstrosity-" he pointed at his attire, "-is all your fault!”
“Okay, so since you’re coming from my thoughts, do you think you could change into something else then? At least something that’s not see-through?” Draco cringed. “Because really, even I can barely pull off this look and no offence, Professor, but I think you may have scarred me for life here.”
“Very well.” The Snape look-alike’s body shifted out of focus for a second and thankfully re-appeared wearing familiar black austere robes.
“Thanks. That really helps a lot.” Draco breathed a sigh of relief.
The Elder merely sniffed. “Now that we’ve gotten past your hysterics, let us move on. I am here to guide you on your path to becoming a proper genie.”
“Wait! That’s the problem, Professor or Elder or whoever you are! I don’t want to become a genie! This has all been some mistake!” Draco protested earnestly.
“What? Did you not pass on from the other side? Didn’t you take the Test?” He inhaled sharply.
“I don’t even know what you’re talking about!” Draco shot up from his seat. “I didn’t take a test! All I did was draw some symbols and runes! The ritual wasn’t supposed to-“
“The ritual?” The Elder looked up at him sharply. “You performed a ritual to make you transform this way?”
“Well, I wasn’t exactly shooting for this, but yeah-“ Draco trailed off as he eyed the man warily. “That’s the gist of it.”
“You fool! You imbecile!” The Elder snarled as he advanced on him. “You incompetent, stupid, little-“ a look of revelation passed over the man’s face, "-wizard!”
“Hey! There’s no need to be cross! You’re not the one who's dressed like a trumped up belly dancer!” Draco stepped back, holding up his hands in a conciliatory manner. “Well, at least not any longer, and didn’t I already apologize for that?”
“It’s not that, you moron!” The Elder glared down at him. “I have no idea how you did it, young man, but you have broken one of the most sacred rules of being a Genie. You shall be punished for this trespass against the laws of man and nature! I will see to it that-“
“Oi! It’s not my fault! Really!” Draco shrieked in alarm. “It was that book! How the bleeding hell was I supposed to know it would do this? Besides, if it was going to break one of the laws against man and nature as you say why the hell was there a sodding manual to do it? Any idiot could’ve done it! It’s just rotten luck that I’m the first one! And I’m not admitting I’m an idiot either! Despite current evidence! I have a good head on my shoulders! Well, for the last three years anyway, the others don’t count, especially since there was a crazy madman underfoot. I definitely can’t be held accountable for the stupidity that went on then! Goodness knows-“
“My god, are you always this talkative or am I just that sodding lucky?” The Elder snapped angrily. “And a book, you say?” Suddenly, he straightened and paled. “Oh dear, did it happen to have a green cover with some gold lettering?”
“Yes! And the title was-“
“Paid in Full: A Guide to Fulfilling Every Wish.” The Elder sighed. “I should have known that one would eventually come back to bite me in the arse. I should have never been at the Firewhiskey that night!”
“What? You know of that book?” Draco smiled at him eagerly. “So you know it’s not my fault, right? It was lying around and I was really drunk!”
“Unfortunately, yes.” The Elder ducked his head in embarrassment. “Gods, I should’ve never made that bet.”
“What bet?” Draco asked curiously.
“Oh Merlin! The chaos that caused! Every Tom, Dick and Harry wanted to become a genie and good gods! I never saw so much beer bellies and disgusting chest hair!” He shuddered in revulsion. “I hid in my lamp for a week before I could face the world again!”
“So I’m off the hook, yeah?” Draco prodded him. “You’ll turn me back?”
That seemed to snap the Elder out of his horrified trance. “I’m afraid not.” He shook his head. “You’ll be cured in the same manner that the others were.”
The Elder’s smile turned sinister and Draco was simultaneously nostalgic and deathly afraid at the familiar look on that face.
“You’re going to fulfil your Master’s every wish.”
Meanwhile, Harry was trying to sit up from where he had fallen but to no avail. A group of dwarves were trying to hammer their way into his head and they seemed to be a bloody determined bunch. Or at least that’s what it felt like. “Ow.” He moaned weakly as he curled into himself. He was never ever going to drink again! He closed his eyes as he tried to regulate his breathing because even that was beginning to hurt. He nearly succeeded in calming his racing heart when his gaze fell on the discarded letter a few meters away. Suddenly reality came blazing back to life and now that the pleasant buzz of alcohol was gone and the initial pain of a monster hangover was setting in, he felt ten times worse.
Gods, he wished he had done something back then! Fuck! Written a letter, checked up on her more often, or made more visits to the Burrow that didn’t include having Ron in tow! At least SOMETHING! Anything rather than the way he'd just let the past three years go by without so much as a lukewarm “hello”.
Merlin, he was pathetic. He grimaced, thoroughly giving in to self-pity. Seeing that he was bent over backwards in pain on his floor near his own bitter vomit, he figured there was no better time for it. He sighed as his stomach rolled violently once more.
“God, I wish I didn’t feel like this.” He moaned miserably, not knowing whether he was talking about his health or his heart.
He dismissed the useless thought as his insides lurched again. Head or heart, it didn't matter. They both hurt equally anyway.
“What was that?” Draco demanded as he examined his hands, a curious tingling sensation washing over his palms.
The Elder stopped mid-lecture as he glared. “Firstly, never interrupt me when I am instructing you and secondly, that would be the sign of your Master’s call.”
“What the hell does he want now?” Draco snorted. “And would you kindly stop calling him that? He is NOT my Master nor will he ever be! And while we’re listing things you could do to lessen the mental trauma that’s been inflicted upon me in the past twenty four hours, could you please, for the love of all things good and holy, change out of that form?”
The Elder merely sniffed. “He is your master. Your denial, although irritating to the nth degree, will not change that fact. You shall serve him until his greatest wish is granted. This is the price of your folly. And do I really need to tell you again? I am an Elder of the Dyjinn Order, or a Genie Elder if you want to put it in your butchered language. The form I inhabit in your presence is strictly determined by you. By emulating a neophyte’s preferred mentor, it provides them with a sense of comfort and safety. These are the rules. Are you so thoroughly enamoured with breaking them at every turn that you insist on violating all of them?”
“Do I look particularly comforted to you?” Draco glared. “You will forgive me if I don’t find any reassurance in the face of my dead professor’s insults and lectures!” He looked away angrily. “You don’t do him justice anyway and you taint him with your weak impersonation!”
A painful silence stretched between them. Draco nearly thought that the Elder had left in a pique when a quiet voice broke through his thoughts.
“You didn’t think you’d miss him this much, did you?”
Draco looked up, startled. His mouth hung slightly open before he shut it quickly with an audible snap. “I have no idea what you’re talking about and even if I did, I don’t see how that’s any business of yours!” Draco snarled. “Ugh! There he goes again! It’s maddening!” He glared hatefully at his reddened palms.
“I told you. It’s his call,” the Elder told him. “He is making a wish.”
“Then why am I not Apparating there like the house is on fire and offering him everything his bleeding heart desires?”
“Because he is making a wish you can’t grant.” He smiled sadly. “Like all things, there are limits to the wishes we can fulfil especially when it involves humans. For example, genies can’t make another person do anything. We cannot control another’s mind, feelings or actions. Time is another thing that’s best left alone. On the whole, a genie’s powers are very limited when it comes to giving people what they truly want or what they actually need.”
“I seriously doubt that.” Draco snorted, imagining the things he would wish for if the roles had been reversed and Potter was his bitch. Money, fame, fortune? Who the hell cared about other people’s doings when he could have all that instead? But then again, this was Potter. He probably wished for something completely useless, like love or affection or better yet, a gentle fluffy hug!
“Ugh! He’s probably pining after the Weaselette! Probably wishing for her freckled body to be wrapped around his equally unattractive form! My god!” He groaned as he flung his hand across his eyes. “Potter is SO footing my therapy bills when all this is over!”
To Draco’s surprise, the Elder let out an amused chuckle at his antics. “You know, if one were to take out your sense of entitlement and outlandish narcissism, you wouldn’t actually be half bad.”
He sneered in response. “If that was a compliment, you are sorely out of practice.”
The Elder shrugged. “Merely an observation, nothing more.” A beat later, he added, “If it is any consolation, I understand why you are so averse to your new duties and to my appearance. However, both things cannot be helped, no matter who’s responsible.”
“I won’t call you his name.” Draco glared at him defiantly.
“I’m not asking you to. He is only a representation of what I am to you: your mentor. I am not him and neither is he me. It is not my wish to become him,” he explained gently. “Still, if it helps, my name is Orion. You may use it if you so desire.”
Draco rolled his eyes. “Fine, Orion. I’m surprised it’s not a garishly obvious world play on ‘genie’. Something like Jeannie or Gin!”
Orion merely smiled. “Hardly. We did have lives before we succeeded on this path. Now I think I should give you some time to adjust to all this and I suspect you’ll want to be getting home. Your parents must be worried sick.”
“My parents are holidaying in France,” Draco answered distractedly, furrowing his brow. “What do you mean, go home? Are you saying I don’t actually have to stay trapped in this foul, stunningly horrid bottle?”
“No, you don’t.” Orion shook his head. “Now that we’ve cleared up a few things, I’m sure you’ll find all this a whole lot easier to deal with. Your transformation, although suitably amusing, didn’t change you indefinitely or sufficiently. You will find that you can live out your life like a normal-“
“Normal? Right.” Draco snorted. “Except for the fact that I have to pop in and out to grant Saint Potter’s every stupid little desire! Oh shite!” He groaned. “Please tell me I don’t have to deal with the Four Eyed Git? Because if I have to stand before him like a ninny, call him Master and offer him the world on a silver platter, please do me a favour and kill me right fucking now!”
Orion chuckled, amused once again at the boy’s histrionics. “No, it is not necessary since you are bound to our code and not to your Master. Notice that you only have one cuff on your wrist. If the transformation had been complete, you would have two and no way out of it. You may serve your Master from afar. Might I suggest casting a spell to disguise yourself whenever you feel the Call? I think it would be better for all parties involved.”
“Right,” Draco agreed wholeheartedly. “So if I become a good little genie then will you turn me back into a full wizard? If I grant him like what- four or five wishes that would be enough, right?”
Orion shook his head. “I told you. You will fulfil his every wish until there are no more left.”
“WHAT? How in Merlin’s name is that a cure? I’ll be rid of this when Potter’s dead? That’s hardly comforting, considering his track record!”
“Haven’t you been listening? Who am I kidding? Of course you haven’t! You’d rather prattle on like an idiot about your sorrows than actually stop and pay attention!” Orion snapped, losing his patience.
“What I mean, boy, is that you will be a ‘good little genie’ as you called it and you will fulfil his wishes until you grant the one he desires the most; the one that will break your service to him and revert you back to your own bigoted self from before all this happened!”
Draco groaned as the realization hit him. Wasn’t this what the thrice cursed life debt was all about? Paying off his debt to Potter by giving him what he wanted? And look how well that had turned out! He smacked his forehead with his palm.
He’d be stuck being Potter’s bitch forever if that was the case!
“Is this all you need from me, Clough?” Draco asked his estate manager.
“For today, yes, Mr. Malfoy.” Clough nodded as she flicked her wand to gather all the paperwork strewn across the desk. “I shall return tomorrow with the deed for the Chateau in Sienna.”
“See that you do.” Draco nodded absently. “Good day, Ms. Clough.”
“You as well, Mr. Malfoy.” She was about to head out the door when a piece of jewellery caught her eye.
“Is there anything else, Clough?” Draco adjusted his sleeves stiffly when he saw this as he raised an eyebrow. “Because I can’t think of any reason for you to still be standing there like an idiot!”
“No, Mr. Malfoy.” She quickly hurried out the door, thoroughly chastened.
“Stupid cuff!” Draco growled as he recast the sticking charms on his sleeves. Well, at least Orion had been right about one thing. He could still live in relatively the same fashion as before. Well, he grimaced, except for maybe those stupid little trips to fulfil sodding Potter’s wishes!
It was nothing short of a miracle that the idiot hadn’t noticed him yet! He shuddered as he remembered that last trip to Potter’s shower of all places to conjure him a bottle of his five sickle shampoo! He shuddered. No wonder the idiot’s hair looked like an eagle’s nest! And as if that little mishap hadn’t been enough, he’d also been subjected to several episodes more of turning up with strange objects in hand and having to find a clever way of letting Potter discover them without wondering about their origins.
What the hell was an X-box anyway? He dearly hoped that it was something the Toys for Wizards, Inc. would gladly give away! Thank Merlin that the git was visually and mentally impaired! It also helped immensely that more often than not, Potter was three sheets to the wind whenever he called for Draco.
That was happening more and more frequently actually. There wasn’t a night where he wasn’t Apparated to Potter’s living room in order to place a vial of Hangover Potion somewhere convenient and clean up the mess the bastard had left behind. It happened so often that if Draco was even remotely pleasantly acquainted with the Four Eyed Wonder, he’d be concerned. And wasn’t that just another can of Flobberworms waiting to be opened? Potter’s friends didn’t seem to be aware of, let alone worried about Potter’s burgeoning drinking problem, which left Draco in a very distressing position.
Right smack in the middle of having to help Potter not only to sober up but also to mend his stupid broken heart so he wouldn’t feel the constant need to get pissed in the first place.
Draco groaned as the tug on his wrists snapped him out of his thoughts.
Gods, why couldn’t Potter be normal for once and get soused at a club where he could get good and laid? Maybe then he’d stop bloody pestering him with all this!
“Hermione, I told you, I’m fine! You don’t need to keep inviting me over all the time, certainly not on a night when you and Ron are supposed to be going out on a date!” Harry tried to explain to his friend one more time, but as usual she was hearing none of it.
“Harry, what are you talking about? Of course you’re not fine! The love of your life is getting married to someone else and having his baby!” She shook her head. “No one is expecting you to be alright with this, Harry. Especially since-“
“Since what, Hermione? Since I dated her three years ago?” Harry shook his head. “Come off it. Ginny can do whatever she likes. She isn’t my girlfriend! She hasn’t been for quite a long time.”
“But you still want her to be, don’t you? You always did. Oh Harry! I see it written all over your face every time you look at her. It’s okay to admit that it hurts and-“
“And what? Cry and howl and rage at how things turned out? How is that going to help anyone?”
“I’m not guaranteeing that it will, Harry. I’m just saying it might and-“
“Look, I understand that you mean well and I’m really grateful you care, but I’m really alright. I have to go. I’ll see you later, okay?”
“But, Harry!” she protested as he stood up, but he wasn’t to be dissuaded.
“Bye, Hermione,” he called over his shoulder as he left the room.
Harry gripped his wand tighter as he stared resolutely at the door. I am happy to be here. I am happy for them. I am happy. He kept on repeating the mantra in his head, taking in big gulps of air. He sighed because even as he repeated the chant for the tenth time, he still didn’t believe it one whit! Deciding to just get this over with, he raised his hand and knocked resolutely.
“Ginny!” he greeted her with what he hoped came across as warmth and not the desperation that was making his insides hurt. “Congratulations!”
“Thank you. I wasn’t sure you’d come since Hermione said you weren’t feeling well.”
Classic Hermione. Harry sighed. Aloud, he answered, “I felt better so I decided to come.” He closed his eyes briefly before forcing himself to add, “I couldn’t miss my little sister’s engagement party after all, could I?”
Ginny’s smile seemed to tighten at that and Harry couldn’t help the small vindictive rush he felt at having caused that facial expression. He was surprised at the sheer anger and betrayal coursing through him.
“Of course, and I guess that answers the question of why things never worked out between the two of us.” Her words were whispered sharply, holding a definite challenge and a plaintive question in them.
“I guess.” He shrugged off-handedly. “Hey, Dean!” he called out to the man and shoved him in the ribs none too gently. “Congratulations!”
“Oof!” Dean massaged his poor middle. “Thanks, Harry! Glad you could make it, I wasn’t sure you would since-“
“Hermione decided to stick her pointed nose in and assumed that I was too sick to show up?” He laughed and even to his own ears it sounded bitter and harsh. “Wouldn’t miss it for the world, mate!” He slapped the traitorous man’s back heavily.
“Wouldn’t have missed it for the world!”
One dozen glasses of champagne and two hours of stilted smiles and feigned conversations later, Harry would have gladly handed the world on a silver platter to whichever deity that’d allow him to not only miss this entire event but also to avoid any future gatherings involving the future Mr. & Mrs. Thomas.
Dean and Ginny seemed not to care that the house was crowded and that there were people all around them. They snogged and pawed at each other like animals in heat, even right in front of Mrs. Weasley! Oh sure, they would stop every so often to mingle with their guests, but it was only a matter of time before they’d resume their squid-like displays of affection all over again. It was enough to make Harry wonder if Dean wasn’t, in fact, the Giant Squid’s love child.
The night’s only saving grace were the many times Dean inexplicably fell flat on his face at the most inconvenient of times. The most hilarious occasion of them all was when he was talking to Kingsley’s wife and he clumsily tripped on the carpet, propelling himself straight into the buxom woman’s décolletage! Harry laughed so hard he nearly wet himself. The look on Dean’s face was priceless and the squeals of delight coming from the Minister’s wife only served to make the mishap even more hilarious. Kingsley nearly took the whole house down in his rage and only when his wife kissed him stupid, did he stop throwing hexes at anyone in the immediate proximity.
His good cheer didn’t last long, however. In fact, it dissipated the moment he arrived home and was greeted by an all too quiet house. He sighed as he summoned the only thing that seemed to keep the loneliness at bay these days.
He downed the tumbler quickly while he once again wished that things could be different.
Draco sighed in irritation as he looked down at his palms. The itching was maddening! What could the git want now? Hadn’t he done enough for one night?
Although he had to admit that causing that Thomas git to land on his arse the entire time had definitely been amusing and it had also saved him from killing himself out of sheer boredom. Plus if he’d had to suffer through the whole party with Potter making cow eyes at the Weaselette, he was sure he would’ve hurt somebody, probably Potter and he reckoned that wouldn’t have been terribly advantageous to either the blasted life debt or this genie situation.
He grimaced as he turned on his side, trying to get comfortable and to just ignore the incessant tingling as well as its cause, but it was to no avail. Growling, he pushed himself off the bed, refusing to lose any more sleep. Besides, Potter would be pissed off his face in a few hours anyway and wishing for Hangover potions.
He rolled his eyes when he arrived on the scene. Potter was indeed more than on his way to being thoroughly inebriated and was actually lying haphazardly on his side. Draco sighed as he vanished the smashed bottles on the floor and began to tidy the place up. He was about to reach for a discarded letter when he froze, suddenly aware of hazy green eyes staring at him intently.
Why would Potter- oh shite! The charm! He groaned and he nearly smacked himself in the head with the nearest flat object, much like a House Elf would, but Potter’s bemused inquiry stopped him.
“Are you an angel?” the man whispered hoarsely, his eyes rimmed red and unfocused.
Draco gaped at the ridiculous question before hastily looking down at himself. True, he was wearing a really fluffy dressing gown that his mother had given him last Christmas and it was definitely as white as white could ever be, but an angel? Draco couldn’t decide whether to be insulted or pleased. And to have Potter of all people call him such a thing! It was priceless!
“Yes.” He cleared his throat. “Of course.”
“Come to take me to heaven, yeah?” Potter asked with such open desperation and heartbreaking joy that Draco was horrified.
“What? Of course not!” He knew that Potter was feeling a bit under the weather as a result of this whole Weaselette business, but really! A death wish was a tad on the melodramatic side, even for Potter!
“Hell then?” He frowned and then shrugged. “Okay.”
“What? No!” Draco shook his head. “No one is dying here today, Potter.”
“Oh.” Harry cast his eyes downward as he hugged his knees.
The Gryffindor made such a desolate picture that Draco couldn’t help sitting down next to him. “Hey. You really should stop doing this to yourself.” He gestured to the spilled liquor on the floor. “It’s not at all good for you, you know.”
“It’s the only thing that helps,” he whispered softly.
“How do you know? Have you ever tried anything else? So far this is the only thing I’ve seen you do!” Draco pointed out sharply.
“You know about-“
“Angel, remember?” He lied deftly, grateful for once for Potter’s bad eyesight and intoxicated state. “I know everything about you.”
Then nearly cackling aloud as he saw an opportunity present itself and all but smack him in the face, Draco added quickly, “I know everything, except what it is that you really want- what you really need. Tell me Pott-Harry. What do you really want? What is your greatest wish?”
Draco held his breath as he waited for Potter’s answer, slowly inching nearer to his face when suddenly a loud snore interrupted the tense silence. He couldn’t help but laugh. Taking a closer look, he noticed that Potter had fallen asleep, still propped up on the couch.
He should’ve known that it wasn’t going to be that easy! Honestly, you’d think he’d have learned that by now! He grumbled as he shifted Potter’s head at a more comfortable angle. He smiled softly as he patted the man’s ridiculously cow licked hair. Still, the Gryffindor proved to be quite amusing when he was inebriated. Who knew Potter could be so disarmingly cute? And ridiculous, of course, but still…cute.
Angel indeed. He chuckled as he shook his head wryly,
Well, at least it wasn’t a fairy this time.
The next day proved to be more tedious than the last and Harry had seriously doubted anything else could’ve compared! He ran a frustrated hand through his hair. He had enough, really! His morning had gone completely up crap creek and if he had to stay here for one more sodding minute, listening to a blindingly oblivious Ron prattle on about Dean's stupid little Bachelor party, he was going to smack his best mate upside the head with his own wand! "Oi! Where are you going?" Ron called out to him. "We still haven't finished planning it out! We still need to-" "I need to go, Ron!" Harry snapped, but then upon seeing Ron's hurt look, he softened his gaze. "I forgot I had to grade some papers tonight. I need to get it done or McGonagall is going to have kittens. I'll come by later this week, yeah?" "Oh. Okay." Ron frowned, still concerned. "Harry, are you sure-" A strong pop resounded in the room before Ron could even finish his question.
Harry gasped as he took in his surroundings. He didn't know where he was. Truthfully, he had just focused on wanting to be as far away from Ron and his party planning as possible. He had also concentrated on his yearning for peace and quiet. He had never expected his Apparition to lead him here, especially since he was sure he had never been here before.
He looked over the edge of the cliff, and was left feeling both exhilarated and astounded by the sensation of being so high up in the air. The area spread out before him looked so vast and incredibly endless! A think mist blanketed the bottom of the bluff, but he could still hear strong ocean waves crashing upon sharp jagged rocks. He inhaled deeply, taking in the sharp tang of salt water and the musty smell of the earth. Compared to everything else around him, he suddenly felt small and insignificant and for some reason, this relieved him. His problems and petty frustrations seemed unimportant as well. He smiled happily as he carefully sat down on the ground. This was exactly what he needed right now! He sighed as he fully relaxed, content in staring out into space and letting his mind wander idly. With thoughtful eyes, Draco looked upon the tranquil sight, a curious feeling niggling in his chest. He frowned when he realized what that emotion actually was. Was he really happy that he’d taken Potter to his favourite spot in the world? He sighed as he dismissed that preposterous thought. The life debt must be addling his brains again, coupled with a second mind fuck from this whole Genie business. He let out another, even more solemn sigh. He couldn't wait to get all this over and done with. Still, he couldn't find it in himself to regret having brought the git here.
Draco relaxed even more into the nook he was leaning against. "Well, Potter, welcome to my paradise."
As the weeks progress, Draco was treated to a front row seat to the train wreck that was Harry Potter. Though for the most part, it was mainly a one man show with only him as an audience. None of Potter’s friends seem to know he was getting pissed off his gourd almost every night and the frequency of Draco’s visits to the git’s house was far too damaging for his peace of mind. Draco was actually beginning to suspect that he was to starting to feel something akin to concern for the man. His thoughts often strayed to what Potter was doing and if he was drinking again, often followed by a frown that marred his perfect face. It was simply distressing!
I don’t care what Potter is doing. Really, I don’t. I couldn’t be happier if some little thirteen year old student of his accidentally offs him in one of his stupid DADA demonstrations! It would certainly serve him right! Draco nodded as he aggressively tore his toast apart. He is so obnoxious, it drives me mad! With him standing in the middle of the sodding room, smiling like a Hufflepuff on crack, as his moronic students throw about hexes like they were going out of style! Who the hell does he think he is risking his neck like that? A stray curse might hit him! But no, I’m worried because I don’t care what Potter is doing so there! He chewed his toast angrily.
He was so agitated that he nearly missed the tingling in his palms. Almost. Seizing the distraction with a vengeance, Draco quickly Apparated.
Harry looked morosely around the dingy strip club that Ron had taken them to for Dean’s bachelor party. He wrinkled his nose in distaste as he felt the sticky texture of the grimy floor and the smell of stale smoke in the air. At least I could be glad that Ron never had the chance to throw me a bachelor party! He thought with a wry grin. The bloke sure knows how to pick ‘em and pick ‘em badly! He chuckled as he sat down with the rest of the group, resolved to spend the next few hours pretending to be a happy camper and not like he was itching to hex that snotty smile off Dean’s face.
Several rounds of Stella later, Harry felt he had done his duty and was about to off the night until a restraining hand stopped him. A more than pissed Ron was urging to get a lap dance and several other patrons were egging him on. Harry rolled his eyes. Honestly! He knew this was supposed to be a night of fun and debauchery but for stupid sodding Dean, not him!
“Oh give over, Ron! I’m too pissed anyway so I wouldn’t enjoy nor remember it.” He said firmly, making sure he slurred in all the right places. “Save your money.”
“Oh, alright! But don’t leave yet alright?” Ron needled him. “I haven’t seen you much lately and it hasn’t been the same.”
“Fine!” Harry grumbled, giving in. “I’ll be in the corner.”
“It’s either that or I’ll leave.” He called out over his shoulder, already striding away.
Draco sighed as he watched the eighth glass of disgusting Muggle ale disappear into Potter’s stomach. He didn’t know why the bloody fuck he was here especially since the Four Eyed Twit hadn’t blessedly summoned him at all tonight but there he was. Watching the stupid man drink himself into another stupor. Having enough of this insufferable passive, he resolutely made his way to the bar.
“You’ve had enough of that you know.”
“Malfoy! What the hell are you doing here?” Potter looked up from his staring contest with the bottom of his glass. “I didn’t figure you for someone that hangs out in a place like this.”
“Clearly you’re as blind as I’ve always thought you were if you didn’t know I was as queer as my father’s prized collection of white peacocks!” Draco sneered.
“You’re gay?” Potter gaped and the light of realization dawned on his face. “The hair, the poncy clothes, your constant staring at my arse…this explains so much!”
Draco was nodding along until Potter’s last words registered with him. “What? I do NOT stare at your arse!”
“Oh please!” Potter gestured haphazardly. “Everyone knew, even me, although at the time I thought it was because you had some weird fixation with my trousers but now I know you just wanted to get in them!” He laughed, his eyes bright with mischief and inebriation.
“I did not nor will I ever fancy you!” Draco shrieked, indignant at the implication. “In fact, it was clear that you were the one who fancied me! What with your strange obsession in Sixth Year, always following me around every corner, even to the bloody loo!”
“That was only because I thought you were a Death Eater, you git!” Potter bellowed as he stepped closer. “I was only proving it to the world!”
“Yes and pushing me against walls was all part of the plan then? Was pressing near me so close I could feel you bloody breathe pencilled into your agenda as well?” Draco growled. “Admit it, Potter. You wanted me. You’ve always wanted me and I’d always had the pleasure of telling you no!”
“Always? My, my Malfoy! You are really off your head, aren’t you? Did you completely forget our First Year? Poor ickle Draco wanting to reach for my hand! If I’d only known it wasn’t my hand you were reaching for!” Potter sneered.
“Why you conceited bastard!” Draco fisted the front of Harry’s robes. “I never wanted you! Do you hear me? If you and I were the last people on Earth and it was a choice between you and a monkey, I would gladly have a go at bestiality!”
“Really, Malfoy? You would choose an ape over me? You never wanted me?” Potter’s lips twisted into a wicked grin as pushed Malfoy back firmly against the wall. “You’d never kiss, touch, taste or fuck me?” He slowly brought his face closer to his captive’s. He grinned as he noted the flushed expression on the man’s face and the noticeable quickening of his breath. He pressed himself closer, letting the other feel the heat of his skin and hard lines of his body.
Then he smiled down at him, his eyes bright and feral and just before his lips came crashing down to claim that insolent mouth, he whispered roughly.
“Never say never, Malfoy.”
It was the unbearable heat, coupled with the buzz of alcohol and the intensity of such a kiss that had Harry doing things he had never dreamed about, things he’d never even thought of! But like a moth to a flame, kissing Draco Malfoy had him going back for more, even though he had no idea what more was. All he knew that those little whimpers coming from reddened lips and the hardness pressing against his own was drove him wild with want. It was enough to make him disregard where he was and why he was here in the first place. It was enough to make him Apparate both of them to his home.
It was enough to make him forget and that was the most wonderful thing of all.
He groaned as Malfoy sucked on a pulse point, those pale hands seemingly everywhere at once, touching him in places he never thought would feel so good. His breath hitched as he felt the tug of his zipper and he immediately braced his legs apart.
Before Harry could even think of a coherent sentence, his cock was enveloped in wet heat. He closed his eyes against the flood of mind blowing sensations coursing through him. His body slumped in wanton surrender as his fingers threaded themselves into Malfoy’s soft silky hair. He moaned as he felt the sting of scraped teeth, followed quickly by a teasing lick. He swallowed thickly as Malfoy went at a steadily rapid pace and Harry just knew there was no way in hell he’d last any longer than a few more minutes.
A peculiar spike of pain travelled up his arse and it created a jarring sort of pleasure that took Harry completely by surprise. The next thing he knew his toes were curling and he was coming with a deafening cry. He sank down on the floor in a boneless happy heap. Oddly enough he found himself feeling a strong desire to return the favour, to know the feel of Malfoy’s prick in his mouth and bring him the same mind melting orgasm that the git had given him. He would’ve done just that if his eyelids weren’t refusing to cooperate. He fought to stay awake but it was to no avail. Too many bottles of beer and a powerful orgasm had quite thoroughly robbed him of his senses. I’ll make it up to him tomorrow. He thought sleepily as for once pleasant dreams claimed him.
Draco would’ve sneered at Potter’s seemingly non-existent stamina if only he wasn’t recovering from the force of his own powerful orgasm. Who would’ve thought he was good for something besides saving the world every year or so? He thought wryly with a smile. His grin widened even further as he gazed softly at the sleeping Gryffindor who had his trousers around his ankles, drool on his chin and a peaceful smile on his lips.
The man was such a slob! He shook his head as he rolled his eyes in exasperation. He gently lifted him off the floor and took him to the couch. Looking around the room, it was clear that Potter had been drinking long before the party, judging by the bottles littered around the room yet again. He snorted as he poked his side. “Oi! You really should stop drinking. It’s not any good for your brain cells and you need all you can get!”
His brilliant insult was only met with a soft snore. Huffing, Draco set about to right the room in the same way he’d been doing for the past few weeks. He’d never learn so much House cleaning charms in his life! It was disturbing! The Malfoy Elves had nearly drowned him with their tears when he first asked to be taught the proper spells. They thought he meant to replace them. As if that will ever happen! He rolled his eyes. He was in the middle of picking up yet another discarded bottle when Potter’s trashing caught his eye.
Not again. He sighed as he instantly stepped closer. “Wake up, Potter! It’s just a dream, do you hear me? Well, technically it’s a nightmare but still very very unreal. So snap out of it!” Draco urged him though he knew it was useless. He had found there was only one sure fire way to bring Potter out of a nightmare. His arms went around the shaking man as he made soothing noises in his ear.
“There you go. There’s a good lad! Come back to the land of the living.” He whispered gently as he rubbed comforting circles on the man’s back. “It’s almost over now and- UGH! You’re disgusting, Potter!” Draco yelped as the bastard who was now semi-awake, turned and vomited spectacularly down his front. He quickly spelled the mess away and made the git hunch over the dust bin. Though his manner was rough, he still managed to pull Potter’s hair away from his face.
The things I do for you, Potter. He thought to himself in bemusement. And of course, for the sodding life debt and-and this whole genie situation! He added hastily. He was about to help the drunken sot lie back down when several things hit him at once. Potter hadn’t made any wishes. In fact, the man hadn’t wished for so much as a Hangover Potion for the past few weeks yet Draco still came here every time.
Aghast, Draco looked down at the head pillowed against his chest and was horrified even further by his compelling desire to drop a kiss on that smelly hair! He gasped and all but shoved down Potter on the bed.
Then he fled; away from the room, away from all his obligations, away from the realization that his serving Potter had nothing to do with life debts or genie rules and everything to do with his desire to care for him.
Harry groaned as he gingerly sat up from the couch, already reaching blindly for the Hangover Potion that always seemed to be sitting on his side table when he needed it. He drank it down gratefully with a smile. He was about to get up and go about his day when the events of last night hit him like a speeding train.
Malfoy! He kissed him and it led to the most spectacular blow job he’s ever had. He shivered as he remembered the dizzying kiss they shared. He had never felt that before. The reckless abandon and the naked want that was clawed at his insides and that only due to the feel of Malfoy’s lips! He couldn’t even begin to describe how he felt after what happened next. Something was definitely there between the two of them. Perhaps Malfoy was right and he did fancy him all along and vice versa or maybe this was just a fluke, a side effect of too much alcohol and even more desperate misery.
Either way I need to find out. He thought as lips twisted into a wicked grin. I can’t wait to test my theory.
Four days, twenty two Owls and countless interrogations later, Harry’s cocky grin was nowhere to be found as it was replaced by an ever present scowl. He had looked everywhere! Even gone so far as to Owl the git’s bloody mother and still nothing!
Where the hell was Malfoy?
Draco winced as he applied a stronger numbing charm on the palms of his hands. They’d been itching like crazy since early that morning and it was only a testament to the strength of the Malfoy Dungeon’s anti-apparition wards that he hadn’t yet been relocated to where Potter was!
Suddenly he heard something completely out of place for an abandoned labyrinth. The sound of echoing footsteps was getting closer and closer. He readied his wand in nervous trepidation when a strong blast shook the room and busted the cell door open.
“What in all seven hells do you think you’re doing?” Orion snarled as he stalked into the room, his black cloak billowing behind and looking so hauntingly reminiscent of Snape that Draco immediately took a step back. “You aren’t adhering to the rules! Do you really want to be stuck this way forever? I thought you wanted to go back!” he growled as he advanced on him even further. “Answer me! Why aren’t you heeding your Master’s call?”
“Because I don’t want this, alright?” he shot back, his voice rising in anger and hysteria. “I never wanted it! I never wanted to serve Potter like one of his lovesick groupies! I never wanted to be his sodding genie and I certainly never wanted to grant him his every blasted desire like some sort of love struck Hufflepuff!” He curled fingers into tight fists. “I’ve had enough, Orion. Do you hear me?” he growled as he pushed his mentor back. “I am done being enslaved by this life debt or that ritual! From this moment on, my life is my own!”
“And when has it ever not been? I wasn’t aware that you were living the life of someone else?” Orion snorted.
“Do not test me with being coy right now, Elder,” Draco snapped icily. “My life has been a rollercoaster of unexpected debts and accidental bondings for the past few months, hell, even years. A life that is self-owned is one of free choice. I will not be anyone’s puppet any longer!”
“You are so very fond of playing the victim, aren’t you?” Orion looked at him coolly. “I wonder; is that what makes your denial of reality- of your own feelings so easy?”
“Are you saying that I’m somehow delusional?” Draco spluttered, incensed that the Elder wasn’t taking him seriously.
“Not delusional; no.” Orion smiled sharply. “Though I would be inclined to say misguided.” And before Draco could react violently to that little statement, the man beckoned him forward. “Come, answer his Call. I do believe you are much closer to freedom than you know. It would be wise not to make him wait.”
“He’d wait for a bloody millennium before I would ever-OW!” Draco doubled over in agony, his head surging with pain and his palms feeling they were burning. “Circe’s tits! That hurts!”
“I’ve taken down the enchantments in this place. Don’t look so disgruntled, boy. They would have crumbled underneath the combined assault of the Call and the sooner or later.” Orion took a step closer. “You must go to him now. Don’t you understand?” He forced the boy to meet his eyes. “He is calling for you. In fact, he’s been calling for you all week.”
“Well, he can wait forever, for all I care!” he shot back as he clutched his chest once again.
Orion merely shook his head. “You misunderstand, Mr. Malfoy. He has been calling for you. Not for a hangover potion. Or more soap. Not even to trip up that Dean fellow again so he’d fall on his face.” He smiled thinly. “He yearns for the company of that bloke he met that night; the one who made him feel better than he's ever felt in his entire life, even better than he ever imagined himself capable of feeling. Don’t look at me like that, boy. His words not mine!” He grimaced and Draco couldn’t help but laugh weakly in a heady combination of amazement and disbelief.
“He can’t be-” He gasped, rattled by the revelation.
“He is,” Orion interjected. “He is wishing for you. You are his one and only desire.”
Draco’s blossoming smile darkened into a deep scowl. "And of course, I have no choice but to grant him this wish,” he spat out bitterly, mentally stomping on his heart that had leapt madly when he’d heard the Elder's words.
"Ah yes, funny things those are, choices." Orion smiled mysteriously. "You see, everyone has a choice, Draco. I was hoping you'd see this for yourself, given the amount of time you've spent as one of us. And yes, before you ask, even genies have choices."
"How can you say such a thing when I feel like my heart’s being pulled out of my arse every time I resist his call?" Draco snarled.
"Did you even consider that perhaps that ache, that need to be there for him is coming not from him, but from yourself?" Orion asked. “Perhaps it is your wish to care for him, to be near him that drives your body to such an imbalance?"
"That is ridiculous! I would never-" Draco began to protest but the elder cut him off.
"Like I said, everyone has a choice. Genies are powerful magical creatures. We possess the strength to topple nations and to bestow the greatest treasures upon man, but we are also highly intelligent. We don't mindlessly grant people their wishes. We have a choice on how to fulfil them." The Elder approached him. "You chose to be by his side whenever he wished for someone to take care of him when he was inebriated. You held back his hair when he was hunched over the toilet. You wiped away his tears and you even stayed when his nightmares came. That was your choice. You could have used a spell, Owled another person or called a healer. But you chose to obey his wishes not through magic, potions or spells, but by personally taking care of him."
“Go now. He calls for you." Orion smiled. "But it is still up to you to decide how much of yourself you are willing to give him."
He turned gracefully, confident in the knowledge that the boy would do the right thing when a trembling voice stopped him in his tracks.
“Stop. Don’t turn around. Don’t say another word. Just-just stay like that,” Draco whispered shakily, his eyes trained on the back of that hauntingly familiar form. “I-I wouldn’t be able to do this if you did and I know now that this is something I need to do.”
He took a deep breath and began, “You were right. All through sixth year, you were right. I should have listened to you. I should have trusted you more, but I didn’t. I was too caught up in things: the fear, the desperation, my own insecurities… I-I’m sorry.” He took another deep breath as he tried to ignore the stinging behind his eyes. “It seems like an inadequate excuse, and it is, but it’s also true. And thank you for saving my life- for saving my soul even when you weren’t quite sure whether it was worth it. You still did, and I-I’m grateful.”
Silence enveloped the room as Draco tried his hardest to regain his composure and this silence was only broken when Orion felt it was safe to say, “Are you quite done being a sentimental little girl? May I be on my way now?”
Draco laughed even as his heart ached at the sneering answer, and all he could manage was a shaky nod of his head.
And as familiar black robes billowed out of sight, Draco smiled sadly.
Draco braced himself for the familiar tug on his wrist and the inevitable confrontation with Potter. He really wasn’t ready for this, but he had no choice. He winced at that train of thought. No, he did have a choice and he was making it.
Gods, I hope he doesn’t kill me.
He closed his eyes as he was Apparated away.
Or at least, not before I’ve fucking well murdered that Elder!
He thought angrily as he felt a cool breeze down his front, aghast to find himself not only standing in front of a shocked Harry Potter but also in that god-awful pink contraption he’d found himself in on that very first night.
“So help me, Orion, I am going to hunt you down and kill you like a dog! Do you hear me?” He shook his fists to the heavens. “I don’t care if I have to research killing Genie Elders until my brain leaks out of my ears. Your arse is mine! Er- no, oh gods! Not in that way because that is just sick and wrong! But in a way that involves whips and chains and again it’s not going to be the fun kind!“ Draco faltered midway through his rant when it suddenly occurred to him that a.) He was ranting like a lunatic to someone who wasn’t there, b.) Potter was gawking at him like he was mad and c.) well, all this really wasn’t helping his case in the slightest.
Harry stared at the bizarre but alluring -- quite disturbingly alluring, he decided -- sight of Draco Malfoy wearing what seemed to be a paper-thin genie costume. Suddenly an even weirder picture of Draco donned in sparkles, a skirt and fairy wings (of all things) popped into his mind. He shook his head as if to clear it. What the hell?
“What the hell, Malfoy?” Harry repeated aloud this time, trying surreptitiously to scrub the tear tracks from his face. My god, had Malfoy seen him crying? Gods! As if this week wasn’t wretched enough!
“Look, before you take up your wand, throw on your mantle of Boy-Who-Livedness and hex the nefarious and very ridiculously dressed Slytherin in the room, I need to say something, okay? So could you just maybe lower your wand a bit and listen to me?” Draco looked at him imploringly, fighting the urge to run, scream and just flee from what he was about to do. He’d made his choice damn it! He might not have ridiculous amounts of brainless bravery in him but he could do this!
“Why should I trust you?” Harry asked him warily. “I’ve tried to find you after that night but you clearly didn’t want to see me! Why should I listen to you now?
“There really isn’t a good enough reason that I could give you, except-“ Draco shuddered visibly and forced himself to choke out, “Please?”
Startled at not only the plea but also the sheer desperation Malfoy injected into that one word, Harry nodded slowly.
Draco released a shaky breath. “Alright. See, the thing is I’m a genie. Well, okay, maybe not a full on one, only partly but that was because I couldn’t really do anything but a shabby job of it since I was pissed to the high heavens when I performed the ritual, which in hindsight, I guess I really should be thankful for, otherwise I’d be stuck in this form at all times, and spend my days just sitting around waiting to be anyone’s bitch.“
Harry stared at the rambling man as he tried to process what he was hearing. His thoughts derailed a bit when he heard Draco mention dungeons, and chains, but he forced himself to get back to the business at hand.
His thoughts turned to bizarre instances where he’d found the tiniest things he’d wished for in the most convenient times, especially that gorgeous cliff side he had been brought to whenever he’d needed time for himself, and the many accidents Dean had had when Harry was feeling thoroughly angry and bitter. Lastly, his mind gave him a full Technicolor version of everything that transpired that night. The kiss. The caress. The climax. Not to mention those early wee hours of the morning where he’d been hunched over the toilet, vomiting quite spectacularly but still on the forefront of his mind was the memory of the soothing hand on his back and a small gentle kiss on his smelly hair.
He had never felt so bloody loved, so utterly and completely taken care of, and that had all been Malfoy’s doing? His heart broke a little at Malfoy’s explanation. So it had all been a lie then? A mere act of duty?
“So are you telling me that night happened b-because I wished for it? You only slept with me and took care of me because you were my genie?” Harry asked him haltingly, fearing the answer but needing to hear it all the same.
“Haven’t you been listening to me?” Draco asked, exasperated. “I’m only half genie and even if I was a full one I still wouldn’t have the powers required to do that! I can’t make anyone do anything! At least not anything they didn’t want to already.” He coloured brightly. “And as for that night and the other nights before it, well, you only need to look at me to know.”
Draco forced himself to meet that searching green gaze head on and for once he let himself wear his heart on his sleeve.
“You’re in love with me.” Harry gasped, the realization hitting him as he stared into the open expression on Malfoy’s face.
“I know! It’s unspeakably horrid!”
Upon seeing the stricken look on Harry’s face, Draco hastened to chase it away. “Unless when it’s not, which is most of the time since you’re bloody fit and actually quite charming in that disgustingly sweet earnest way of yours. Although you’re not quite so charming when you’re mooning after the Weaselette which really has got to stop before I gouge my eyes out to escape it or kill her with my bare hands and at the rate things are going, it’s probably going to be the latter rather than the former!”
He trailed off when it dawned on him that he was babbling yet again whereas Harry hadn’t said anything for the past twenty minutes and was in fact merely staring at him silently. “Potter? Harry?” Draco reached out and tugged at his sleeve, uncertain.
Oh my god! he hates me! Draco thought in panic. And why wouldn’t he? He probably thinks I took advantage of him that night! Ugh, what a mess!
He made a face when he thought about the many different, not to mention highly unpleasant things Harry could ask of him now. Perhaps he'd ask for him to Transfigure himself into something horrid or maybe perform a belly dance, judging by the way he was eyeing Draco's outfit, and just to add insult to injury, it’d probably have to be done in front of the Weasel and Mudblood!
Draco was so busy having an aneurysm and his very own internal hissy-fit that he almost missed Harry’s words.
“I’m sorry, what?” Draco stared at him, agog. Did he just say-
"I release you. I wish for you to no longer be a genie,” Harry said slowly. “I wish for you to be free." As soon as Harry had uttered those words, a blinding light surrounded Draco and he stared in wonder as the cuff on his wrist vanished and his clothes were transformed back into his usual robes.
“You freed me,” he whispered, confusing colouring his voice. “Why?
Harry shrugged carelessly as his face lit up into a slow smile.
"I’d prefer my boyfriend to be one hundred percent willing if it’s all the same to you." Silence stretched into uncomfortable proportions when Harry’s declaration was only met with silence and he felt that easy smile slip right off his face as Draco continued to stare at him.
"Er-- you do still want me, right?" Harry flushed. "Or was that just because of the whole genie business?”
He was only met with more blinking.
“Oh my god! It was just because of the whole genie thing! Bloody hell! I’m such a fool! Of course you wouldn’t want to be saddled with me! What with the facial scarring and the confused gender issues! I was labouring under the impression that I was in love with Ginny, for fuck's sake! Someone who’s been like a sister for me for years! And I-“ Draco rolled his eyes as Potter continued to ramble on about Merlin knows what and he decided to shut him up and reassure him the best way he knew how. He hauled the babbling man up by the front of his robes and kissed him.
And it was just like that night; the delicious sliding of lips and the erotic sensation of duelling tongues that stole his breath away and left him hard as a rock. He let out a whimper that would’ve shamed him if he hadn’t been so caught up in the ecstasy of being in Potter’s arms. A place he never thought he would be in again.
"Hmm." Draco sighed contentedly as he smiled lazily up at Harry, amused at the stunned look on the Gryffindor’s face. "I guess the life debt has been settled then. It's not calling to me anymore."
Harry merely smiled in return as he pulled the man into another dizzying kiss.
"I think we can both consider it paid in full."
The happy end!