Fandom/Genre: Harry Potter, King Arthur, Time Travel
Relationships: Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy
Summary: When you have to meet your destiny, sometimes that means traveling further than you expect.
Warnings: Some canon typical violence for the movie King Arthur, and mention of the aftereffects of love potions
Word Count: 49,437
Draco Malfoy moved through the set forms for his sword work in silence. He had been at the whole thing long enough that his muscles were burning pleasantly, moving smoothly with the beat of the metronome. As he reached the end of the movement, he set the sword down carefully, point first, with his wrists crossed over the pommel.
“Very good! You are progressing nicely, Lord Malfoy.”
Draco didn’t respond with more than an abbreviated bow as he breathed deeply. His sword was damn heavy and he was still, a year after Voldemort’s death, recovering from that final year of the war. Thinking about that time, he suppressed a wince. His health after the final battle hadn’t been all that great due to the crazy bastard and the shite he had put everyone through. Despite everything that his parents had done, he had still come into his share of torture from Riddle, and he had paid a hefty price for the privileged position he had held in the ranks.
As a budding potions master, Draco hadn’t been expected to take part in some of the more horrific entertainments that had been the norm among the Death Eaters infesting his home. His Mark, that identifying stain that said someone had been a Death Eater, had been impressed on him by Voldemort and his father against his will. He hadn’t wanted to get the damn thing, and had put all his will to fighting the thing’s hold on him. Meanwhile, he had been set to brewing the potions that were needed for Voldemort’s forces.
The internal fighting he had done to try to get free of it, and the external fighting he had done to stay alive, had cost him. He had been exhausted physically and magically from the whole mess by the time the war was over. When the time for his trial had come around, the prosecution had pulled his left sleeve up and tried to show his Mark. The skin of his forearm had been smooth and unblemished. The revelation had caused all sorts of consternation from the court and the spectators. He had been dosed with enough Veritaserum that he had been in danger of overdose and questioned until he had been fighting unconsciousness as he tried to answer.
Potter had come to his rescue and raised an unholy amount of hell at the way the law was being violated to satisfy the prosecution’s very personal curiosity as to why his Mark had faded. Draco couldn’t say that he had minded the assistance at the time. A year later, he still didn’t mind what Potter had done. The other man had slowly but surely teased out the circumstances behind his service to Voldemort. The fact that he hadn’t wanted to serve, had, in fact, done all he could to sabotage things and then had fought on the side of the Light, carried a great deal of weight with everyone on the court. He had been cleared of all charges.
His father hadn’t been so lucky. Unlike Draco, Lucius had taken his Mark willingly. And had supported Voldemort for the length of the first war, through the years of peace, and then into the second war. His trial had been just as long as his son’s, and the elder Malfoy was in even worse physical shape. Years of abusing alcohol, drugs and other illicit substances had weakened him to the point where the damage done by Voldemort had won out. Lucius Malfoy, Lord of the Ancient and Noble House of Malfoy, had died on the stand. More importantly for Draco, his father had died before spilling too much in the way of secrets from the second war, and before he had been convicted of the crimes he had committed.
Draco had taken the family signet ring from Potter’s hand, ignoring the tingle that had come when he touched the other man. With his father dead, and dead before being convicted, the whole trial had fallen apart. The Wizarding world didn’t have the option of convicting a man after his death and, for that, Draco was grateful. It had saved his family’s fortunes. It hadn’t saved their reputation, but that could be repaired.
Breath caught, Draco turned to his sword master and raised one eyebrow in question.
“You are ready to start working with the rest of my students. I have one in particular that I believe will challenge you sufficiently,” the older man told him with a smirk.
“You are aware that not everyone is thrilled to associate with me, right? And putting me against a bunch of other lords and their scions is just asking for bloodshed. Either mine or theirs,” Draco informed him dryly.
“Not this student. And if you can successfully spar with him, I figure you will be safe enough with the rest of them.”
Draco hefted his sword up and onto his shoulder in a casual carry gesture. “I hope so. Lead on.”
The room he had been practicing in was warded against unauthorized entrances. After all, the students were practicing with very real and very sharp swords, and anyone walking in was at risk. It also protected the students from people who might have… objections to those who were learning there. The feel of the wards passing over him as he left his room were a familiar caress and completely ignorable. The trip through the hallway was quiet and Draco eyed the closed doors as they walked past them. He had no idea who was on the other side and wasn’t all that curious to find out.
His teacher paused in front of another plain door and placed his hand on the brass plaque attached to the wood. The glow of magic was subtle and Draco cocked his head to the side. The spells on the room were just as robust as the ones that had been on his own. Whoever was on the other side of the door was someone very special indeed. When the door opened and he saw the occupant, he completely understood why there had been the high level of security.
Harry Potter was going through his forms, and, from what Draco could see, they were about at the same level. He hoped that the truce they had started the year before was still standing. Otherwise, the room was going to get very bloody.
“Potter,” Draco offered as the other man reached the end of his set.
“Malfoy.” Potter eyed him, gaze keen as he looked him over. If it had been in his nature to blush, Draco was sure that he would be doing so. The clothes he wore to practice in were nothing like the robes the modern Wizarding world normally wore, and they showed everything. Useful when fighting, but very revealing on a personal level.
“It looks like Master Baudin has decided that we are to spar against each other. See if I’m fit to join the rest of the students.”
Draco watched as Potter looked at the Master of the school and raised one eyebrow in question. When the older man nodded, the Gryff grinned and waved a hand at the practice circle taking center stage in the room. “I think I can work with that. And I promise not to skewer you.”
Reluctantly amused, Draco took his sword off his shoulder and stepped into the circle. Rolling his head slightly, he felt the muscles of his neck relax before shrugging his shoulders to settle everything out again. As he took his spot for the match, he kept one eye on Potter as he settled into the first form. Unlike the last time he had seen the Gryff, he was actually looking healthy. Potter was almost four inches taller than he had been at his trial, about a stone heavier, and, from the magic swirling around the room, just as powerful as before. Good. When his opponent took his spot, he waited until he heard Master Baudin clap his hands and then nodded.
“I’ll do my best not to get skewered. What brought you here?” Draco asked as he started moving around the circle, breath coming in easy gusts as he held his sword in a light but sure grip. From the sure and easy stance Potter was displaying, Malfoy was sure the other man was trained in the basics at least. Their forms were mirroring each other and they stayed on opposite sides of the ring, moving until the time felt right.
“I needed something that wasn’t riding a broom for exercise, and lifting weights was boring as hell. So I got my physician to recommend something that might actually be fun. He was right,” Potter told him right before he exploded into movement.
Draco grunted in reply as he moved to counter each move, the forms slipping from one to another without conscious thought, so ingrained into his muscle memory were they that he didn’t have to concentrate on them. His eyes were glued to Potter, watching as he moved, trying to gauge where a weakness was going to appear. The back and forth nature of the match was soothing and even the clanging as their swords met blended well. As his breath started to come in pants, he stepped back slightly, and started circling in the opposite direction. Potter pulled back as well, eyes intent on his stance.
“Well, you seem to be doing great,” Draco said when he had gotten enough air back that he wouldn’t sound like he was knackered. Because he wasn’t.
The smile that crossed Potter’s face was disconcerting. “Thank you for that. Why are you here?”
“I took lessons as a child, but when I went Hogwarts, they stopped. My father didn’t think I would need them anymore and, well, it was difficult enough finding the time for the independent studies I was doing in Potions, let alone in this,” Draco explained before he drew in a deep breath and launched his own attack. Parry, riposte, lunge and a small twist! Potter’s sword was wrenched out of his hands and across the floor. Draco stepped back and pulled his sword up in front of his face, saluting his opponent. “That was a good match. Thank you.”
“It was,” Potter agreed before shaking his hands out like the action had stung. Well, Draco was aware that the move wasn’t all that pleasant to have happen against one, and the Gryff’s hands had been twisted slightly as he had connected. “Shall we do it again?”
Draco looked at Master Baudin and the older man was smiling. “Sure.”
“You know, Master Baudin wants to get you on the lists for international competition,” Harry muttered as he threw a towel at Draco.
Draco grunted slightly as he caught the cloth and ran it over his face. After several years work with Master Baudin and his merry band of sadists, he was a very skilled swordsman and had branched out to axes and knives. Add in some of the Muggle kickboxing that Harry had talked him into and he was a force to be reckoned with.
Their competitiveness at Hogwarts had resurfaced in the salle, but it no longer had the bitter edge it had once carried. This was more about the fun of learning something new and using the skill. Plus getting a free drink out of it. Draco had stepped up his game when Potter had beaten him to the punch by getting the first wandless spell out. A completely unexpected Impedimenta had stuck his feet to the floor as he had twirled through one pirouette and all had been lost.
He had paid his wager like a gentleman and had taken Potter, now Harry, out to dinner. That had been happening a lot recently, and Draco was starting to get some inkling that Harry really didn’t mind. Were they dating? If so, he was really, really bad at it. Because most of their dates seemed to revolve around using their swords. Wincing slightly at the mental double entendre, he tried to keep his expression neutral.
“I don’t think I want to get that high profile just yet, Harry. You saw the shitestorm that came up when the press found out you and I go here. Can you imagine what they would say if I went to compete? Let alone on the same team as you?” Draco grabbed the sheath for his blade and slid the gleaming length of steel into it. The sound it made was a quiet whisper and he smiled. The first time he had seen a Muggle movie with swords and heard how they got theirs out of the sheath, he had freaked out. Harry had thought the whole thing was hilarious.
As if he was going to let any blade of his sound like it was being scrapped on a dull corner every time it was drawn. That could fuck up the edge! And don’t get him started on the shite they passed off as fighting in most of the movies Potter had shown him. It was depressing.
“You can’t keep living your life by the swaying of the public’s opinion, Draco. It won’t work, they’ll still hate you, and worse, you might come to hate yourself,” Harry told him, eyes serious.
Bloody buggering fuck, the bastard would have to remind him of that, Draco thought savagely. After years of keeping a low profile, he had slowly, carefully been getting more and more open about being in England and starting to take a hand in the world around them. For the first four months, he had actually read everything the Prophet and Witch Weekly had written about him and reacted accordingly. It hadn’t worked.
Harry had finally had enough during one practice and had beaten him black and blue with words, the flat of his blade and some well-timed jinxes. It had been a miserable afternoon. But he had stopped paying attention to the two premiere gossip rags in England and had been happier for it. Even if he did return the favor, in spades, when some of the Weasley’s had gotten on Harry’s case about the time he was spending with someone other than Ginny.
“You’re right, but I think I left part two of that revelation to too late,” Draco shook his head and stared up at the ceiling. “Living by the opinion of the public sucks.”
“It does indeed. Good thing for you that Master Baudin was willing to let me sign you up and all that shite. No need to thank me,” Harry grinned at him and spread his arms wide.
Draco wasn’t sorry at all when he threw his towel into Potter’s face, followed closely by a nicely cold, conjured snowball. The shriek the other man let out as the cold, wet slush went down his shirt was fantastic.
“Lord Malfoy, I didn’t realize you were competing,” Minister Shacklebolt observed as he shook hands with everyone on the team representing England.
“I have the skill and am sufficiently high enough in the ranks to try, Minister. If nothing else, I can say that I did just that. Try. Merlin knows, there are some very talented people out here today,” Draco informed him with a wry smile as he waved at the masses of competitors.
“Indeed. It will be interesting to see how you represent us then. Good luck, Lord Malfoy,” Shacklebolt murmured as he moved onto the next person in the line.
Draco didn’t sigh, but he wanted to. Especially with who was closely following the Minister. Granger had made it far up in the ranks of the Ministry in just a few short years and while the old him might have wondered if the chit had gotten there on Harry’s coattails or some other means, the newly grown up and aware Draco knew she had done it all on her own. That and Harry had been muttering about what he had been up to for most of the time they had been sparring together. Granger was scary smart and after sloughing off the Weasel, had shot high and far. He didn’t even try to do anything but nod at her when she passed him.
The narrow-eyed glare he got in return just made him shrug, and he moved to the back of the room, looking for the bar. He didn’t want alcohol, but he did want something to drink. And maybe use as a prop. One soda water with lime later and it looked like he was having something else. Picking a slice of wall to hold up was even easier and Draco settled in to watch the room and all the various circling sharks.
“It’s amazing who they allow to compete in international competitions now-a-days, isn’t it?”
Draco didn’t turn his head, but sighed internally. Where you had the Minister for Magic, you always had his entourage. And that in this case, meant Blaise Zabini. “Do us all a favor, Blaise, and go the fuck away.”
“Why should I, Malfoy? I’m here to watch the competition,” Zabini told him with a toothy grin.
For the life of him, Draco couldn’t see what had made him even try to be friendly with the other man at Hogwarts. He was vain, cold, cruel and, above all else, shallow. Even as shallow as he had been, Zabini had been worse. But he and his mother were survivors. He had to give them that.
“So what number spouse is your mother up to now? Ten? And are any of them alive?” Draco asked cheerfully, eyes full of malice as he sipped his water.
There was a slightly darker stain to the other man’s cheeks and Malfoy counted that as a win. Ms. Zabini and her black-widow tendencies had been gossip beyond compare in the social circles of his youth. He was betting that they still were years later.
Zabini pushed off the wall and walked away. The feelings that stirred in his gut were bitter. That had been the single most civil conversation he had had with any of his housemates since the war. It was depressing as fuck.
Surveying the room, he sighed. He wasn’t up for this shite. Draining his glass, he set it onto the closest table and headed towards one of the side doors. He was going to go to his room and try to get some sleep. The drama wasn’t worth it.
The competition was rough. Everyone in the place knew who he was and what he had at one point been made to stand for. It made the various matches interesting to say the least. Draco kept a casual eye on Harry and enjoyed the spectacle as he managed to kick a great deal of ass over the days of the competition. That wasn’t to say that he was being shy or retiring either. He managed to do a lot to advance England’s standing in the trials.
His last bout had been close, and he had had to pull out some fancy maneuvers that he had actually seen in one of Potter’s movies to achieve victory. It had been too weird. Master Baudin had been less than pleased with him for his audacity. Draco had been made to run drills until he puked, but it had totally been worth it when he had sent the Bulgarian fighter’s sword spinning off into the wards.
Harry, the little bastard, had laughed until he cried when he found him sipping at his glass of soda water and ignoring the results of his exercises.
Two weeks later they were back in England and Draco was sitting in his study, admiring the decorative sword that was now hanging on his wall. It was bejeweled, shiny with gold, and absolutely useless for actual fighting, but it was precious none the less. He had won that. In an honest competition, without a wand and without using his innate magic. Sipping at his brandy, he smiled in pleasure.
The sound of the bell to his apartment was just odd enough that he had to test the wards to see who might be at his door. Whoever was on the other side didn’t seem to have any ill intentions at least. Draco unlocked the door and took a deep breath before opening it. “Harry?”
“Gonna let me in, Draco?”
He didn’t bother to reply, just stood aside and let Harry make the choice if he wanted to come in. When Potter walked in, Draco felt his breath catch. Whatever this was, it was something important. Leading the way to his study, he waved at the chair opposite his own. “Brandy?”
“Please,” Harry confirmed before looking around the room.
Draco tried to see his study with the eyes of someone who had never been in it before. The apartment was a minor Malfoy property that had originally intended to house a mistress of the Lord of the House, so it was very nice, but not up to the extravagant standards of Malfoy Manor. It was richly appointed in wood with brushed nickel accents, plush fabrics and enough leather to be comfortable. Since the apartment was for a mistress, it was set up for someone to live in without servants.
Unlike his childhood home, there were no house elves keeping an eye on him, popping in and out all day long. The Malfoy elves had all gone with his mother when she had retreated back to France, and he was content to let them. Draco had found, over the years since Hogwarts, that he was capable of a lot more than he had ever expected when he had been living under his father’s thumb. Not to say that he didn’t enjoy a spot of spoiling from the elves, when they had the time, but their devotion to his mother came first.
“It’s a muggle brand that I found recently,” Draco told him as he offered up the beverage. His fingers brushed Harry’s when he handed over the glass and they tingled again. The feeling had been happening a lot and he looked forward to it each and every time.
As he sat back in his chair, Draco watched as Harry took a sip of his brandy. The pleased hum Harry gave as he tasted the drink, gave him a warm feeling and he didn’t try to analyze it. He just accepted it. The question on if they were dating was still rather up in the air, especially since they hadn’t even discussed the finger thing going on. He watched as Harry set the snifter aside, and put his aside as well. Maybe the reprieve was over?
“Are we going to talk about what’s happening between us?” Harry asked as he stared over at him.
Draco looked down at his hands before raising his eyes to meet the green ones gazing back at him. It figured that Potter would be the ever-brave Gryff and push things on first. “You mean the thing that happens when we touch?”
“Yes.” Harry leaned forward and extended one hand.
He stared at the limb and reached out his own hand, carefully grasping what was being offered. The tingle that had been hinted at every time they brushed erupted in a blaze of warmth. There was no way he wanted to let go. “That wasn’t what I expected.”
“It was what I was expecting,” Harry admitted as he tightened his grip. “I had this best friend when I was a child… She loved to research everything, including how her new world dealt with marriage. She discovered that some magicals are gifted with the ability to have something like soulmates. And one of the things that showed that compatibility was a flash of warmth when they touched. Like what we’re feeling.”
“Huh. I should have known that,” Draco mused as he debated between pulling Harry over to him or just giving into the warmth and dragging him upstairs to his bed. “So, is this a fated thing and Magic has determined that you are the one for me and that’s it?”
“Compatibility, Draco. Not fated. This doesn’t determine that. We would have to go visit the Book of Souls to determine if the compatibility is actually a soulbond,” Harry explained as he smiled softly.
Draco mentally shrugged and slid out of his chair and moved to kneel in front of Potter. He reluctantly let loose of the hand he was holding to run his hands up the length of Harry’s thighs to grasp his arse and pull him forward. The surprised huff of air brushed over his face and he breathed in the scent of vanilla brandy and something that was uniquely Potter.
“Okay. I can live with that,” Draco told him, as he stared into the deep green eyes of his friend. “But we need to discuss a few things. Ginevra Weasley?”
“I haven’t been anywhere with her, socially, in about three years. I told her parents that there was no way that I could see me marrying her,” Harry told him, voice even. “I know that when the war was over, everyone expected us to get together, but it didn’t work. We tried. It was like… what I imagine kissing a sister would be. Towards the end, it was just duty that kept us trying. Mutual decision ended that, and the elder Weasley’s told me that they are fine with the lack of a relationship between us. So’s she. Ron’s the only one still bent on it.”
“Right. That’s good to know. I probably won’t get hexed from her, then.” Draco muttered as he knee-walked a bit closer. When Harry spread his own legs, he moved even closer, enjoying the warmth that came from being so close. “What about Ronald and Hermione?”
“Ron would love nothing else but for me to marry his sister,” Harry informed him, eyes solemn. Draco could feel one of the hands that had been resting on his shoulders move and he tilted his head into the stroking of his hair. “I can see you like that. Good to know. Hermione isn’t interested in controlling who I date at this stage. She’s much more wrapped up in the last stages of her mastery. That and she hasn’t talked to Ron in about a year.”
“You have until forever to stop doing that.” Draco was hard put not to let his eyes close and purr into the feeling of Harry’s fingers. “So the Golden Trio has fallen apart?”
“You didn’t notice?” Harry asked as he moved his fingers through Draco’s hair.
He shook his head slowly, being careful not to dislodge those wonderful fingers. “You know I don’t get the Prophet or Witch Weekly. And while I do get the Quibbler, Luna hasn’t really been concentrating on gossip over the last few years.”
“Huh. Yeah, we haven’t really had time for each other. Hermione went for her mastery in Charms, Ron went for the Aurors and you know I took over my lordship. There was a lot of catching up to go with that and I just haven’t had time.” Harry shrugged carefully. “What about your mother?”
Draco hummed softly at that. Catching up was a mild term for the intensive studying that Harry, as Lord Potter-Black, had done. He had inherited one of the most Ancient and Noble houses directly by blood from his father, and another by magical inheritance from Sirius. Hogwarts had in no way prepared him for it, and Dumbledore sure hadn’t bothered to before he had died. Draco had long ago come to terms with that and no longer harbored the guilt about his part in the old bastard’s death. Helping Harry learn everything he had needed had been a welcome refresher for what he had needed to rule his own house.
“My mother honestly won’t notice. She’s in France for a number of reasons, Harry. Keeping her away from the arseholes here in Britain is only one of them,” he revealed. It was a closely held secret, what was actually going on with Narcissa Malfoy.
“No. She isn’t. And there’s nothing that’s going to change things either.”
Harry leaned forward until his forehead was resting against Draco’s. “I am so sorry.”
“Thank you,” was all he said for several moments. Pulling his courage together, he asked the question that had been weighing on his mind. “So, how long have we been dating, do you think?”
The giggle that erupted from Harry was sweet and carefree. “Months. Months, Malfoy. And you owe me a kiss.”
“Well, I’ll just get right to that,” Draco returned before leaning forward and brushing his lips over the ones before him. He kept the kiss soft, simple and just enjoyed the rush of heat that moved between them.
The thing about dating the Boy Who Lived was that a large portion of the British Wizarding World seemed determined to hate anyone he stepped out with who wasn’t Ginny Weasley. Given that Draco was the son of a Death Eater and had stood in the Death Eater ranks, most of the population really, really hated him. They had started going on dates into Muggle London and avoiding Diagon Alley due to the bullshite that kept coming their way.
He was ordering all his normal shopping from either catalogs or muggle sources because dealing with people in the Alley was mostly out. Gringotts was about the most neutral place to be had in the Alley and even then, the customers in the bank never shut up. Draco had started requesting that the goblins who handled his estate meet him at his apartment. It was calmer for him and for them.
Some things, though, required a physical presence. He and Harry had apparently been dating for almost four months before he had acknowledged it with a gentle kiss in his study. The mind-blowing sex later that night had been a wonderful way to celebrate. Six months later, they had decided to look at the Book of Souls. The warmth that infused them when they touched had never gone away and his curiosity had been burning since Harry had told him about the possibility.
The floo exit into the atrium of the Ministry was about as public and open as was possible to get and still be relatively safe. Draco stepped out of the fire and made sure to banish the soot from his travels. Harry was arriving on his own so he made sure to approach the main desk openly and with his body language showing he was relaxed. It didn’t work all that well, but then, it never did.
Draco set the wand he had for this purpose on the counter. It was one of several hundred that had lived in his family vaults for at least a century and the original wielder was lost to history. He had never used it, and, since it was ancient, the last spell listed on it was a stasis charm. The Ministry employee picked the wand up and sniffed over the condition of it before he handed him a claim ticket for it with an affronted air.
It took a great act of will not to snap back at the little twit, but he managed it. Getting delayed or detained wouldn’t serve his purpose at all. That and Harry would be less than pleased with him.
The way down to the Department of Mysteries was clearly marked and the parts of him that had been trained for and in war winced at how exposed everything was. To have one of the most important and crucial departments in the government so clearly labeled for anyone to find was just stupid. To compound it, every other department in the building was similarly denoted. If anyone invaded now, they would be able to find everything. Including the Minister for Magic.
Shaking his head, Draco followed the signs until he reached the right corridor and tucked his hands into his sleeves, trying to keep his face smooth. He had every right to be there, and he just kept moving like he did. The door leading to the Book of Souls was a high arch, the wood of the door covered in all the symbols denoting soul mates from cultures around the world and accented with gold and jewels. If it hadn’t been in the Ministry itself, he would have thought it vastly overdone. As it was, it was still a bit much.
Pushing the door open, he saw the room beyond was a very plain and uninhabited anteroom. Sitting in the center was a desk that should have had someone manning it. From the sound of voices echoing out of the room behind the desk, he could only presume they were with someone else who was looking at the book.
A quick, wandless tempus confirmed that he was on time and all he had to do was wait for Harry. He had just settled into one of the benches when the doorkeeper came walking back out with the person they were escorting. Draco didn’t know the witch, but from her slightly depressed mien, he could only conclude that she didn’t have an entry in the Book. He did grace her with a nod of acknowledgment before leaning back once again.
“Lord Malfoy? Are you waiting on something?”
“Or someone, Madame,” Draco murmured before closing his eyes.
The tingling warmth that tied him to Harry was getting closer, and he let a small smile cross his lips. He had no real doubts as to what they would find in that other room, but Harry wanted the confirmation and, to be fair, so did he. If their relationship was going to go public, they needed all the help they could get. The visit to the Book was thus a very calculated endeavor. Harry had mentioned the hope that the reinforcement of a soulmate bond on their status would help, hopefully, keep the baying for his blood down.
Draco wasn’t actually betting on that, but he was hopeful. Hopeful enough that he had agreed to come to the heart of the Ministry on a weekday, meet up with Harry and look at the bloody Book. He wasn’t stupid, however. The wand he had given over was one thing, but he also had his sword strapped to his back, his actual wand tucked into a holster in his forearm, and a whole slew of useful potions and other stuff tucked into a dimensional bracelet. Smart, not stupid had become a mantra over the years of training.
“Draco,” Harry called and his eyes snapped open.
“Harry.” Draco would have loved to kiss his lover hello, but they had a witness and they still needed to see the Book. Dressed in dark green and black, Harry was in the formal robes he used when he was playing Lord Potter-Black. “You look great.”
“So do you. Shall we?” Harry asked as he held out a hand.
The warmth that was living in his core seemed to be concentrated in the grip he shared with Harry, and Draco couldn’t help the sappy smile that crossed his face. He might have actually been a bit slow when it came to figuring out he was dating Potter, but he was pretty sure that he loved the bastard. And that he was willing to do just about anything to keep him safe.
Draco looked at the third person in the room and raised an eyebrow at her. “As I recall, your oaths mean that you can’t speak of what happens in these rooms?”
“You would be correct, Lord Malfoy. Lord Potter-Black? Are you both going in?” the lady asked. She had answered his question only grudgingly, but seemed happier dealing with Harry. That damn Death Eater connection, Draco thought.
Harry glanced at her and nodded. “We are. Thank you.”
Walking into the room where the Book of Souls was displayed stirred a weird feeling in his gut. There were ancient wards designed to protect anyone within them, emanating from the center of the space. When Harry had first mentioned the mystical item, Draco had known of it only from the fairytales he had been told as a child. Afterwards, he had done his research. His father hadn’t been a believer in sentiment, so he had paid scant attention to the legends of Britain, so he had been surprised at how much there was to learn.
Enchanted by someone, the Book of Souls sat on a solid marble plinth in total darkness. When people entered the room, it lit from an unknown source. No one could figure out how the magic for it continued to work, century after century, but it did. The Book itself was plain, the leather of the cover unmarked and unadorned by writing, tools or jewels. The only time it opened was when someone had an entry in it. If anyone else tried to open it, it stayed stubbornly shut, resisting all efforts at discovery.
“So, shall we?” he asked as he walked over to the plinth, never letting go of his lover’s hand.
Harry didn’t reply, just pulled him closer and stepped up. When they were both in front of the Book, the edges lit up and Draco could hear the long sigh of relief, and he shared a smile with the other man. “On three?”
Harry nodded. “On, three. One. Two…”
“Three,” they said together and put their hands on the Book.
The white light of confirmation exploded from the pages and they leaned over to read the words written on the pages. The script was the formal form that was seen in ancient documents, but still clearly legible. The names Draco Lucius Malfoy and Harry James Potter were spelled out for them to see.
“So that’s that,” Harry muttered. “This will get announced automatically.”
“That there’s a new soul-bound couple, or our names?” Draco asked as he stared down at the script. His mind was starting to spin out, trying to make decisions on what they needed to do next. Number one decision on his list was to keep Harry safe and damn the consequences.
“Yes. To both items. I suggest we get out of here before something of a bullshite nature happens,” Harry confirmed before stepping down from the plinth.
As soon as his feet hit the floor of the room, the light from the book faded. Draco could still see Harry’s name, but the light from the book was softer, less outrageous and startling. He stepped back as well and sighed as the book went dark. Fate was such a bitch.
Turning to his lover, his soulmate, he smiled. “Let’s go.”
The anteroom had been empty when they had entered, but was full when they walked out. The attendant was standing in front of the door waiting on them to come out. Gathered on either side of her were a number of aurors, Unspeakables and the Minister himself. Harry shot him a grim look and turned to the woman. Draco had vaguely recognized her, but didn’t have a name to put to the face. Harry apparently did.
“What’s all this, Candace?” his lover asked as he stepped forward. “I thought you couldn’t speak of what went on in here.”
The look that the woman flashed him was filled with malicious satisfaction, and something in Draco stirred. “I can’t speak of what happens in here, but I can make sure that the right people are here if something interesting happens.”
“So you obey the letter of the law and totally ignore the spirit of it. How Umbridge-like of you,” Harry sneered back, green eyes bright with temper. “So, Minister, to what do we owe your presence?”
Shacklebolt stared at the two of them and shook his head. “When it reached my desk that the two of you were seen in public together, I wasn’t too concerned. I mean, you couldn’t stand each other in Hogwarts. Your rivalry was immense, deep-seated and bitter. That you had overcome it enough to be civil was good. It meant that you were putting the war behind you. You even competed on the same team for Britain and brought home the first championship in years. Your closeness after that was a bit much, but still, wasn’t a problem. This is a problem.”
Draco stepped up beside his lover and kept a wary eye on the men in the room as Candace faded through their ranks. “How is our private life a problem for you, Minister?”
The Minister didn’t even look at him, which raised his hackles and he felt his magic start to rush until it was contained just under his skin. “Your private life isn’t really a concern, Lord Malfoy. We would prefer that you stop associating with Lord Potter-Black, but that will get taken care of soon enough. His private life though, that is a concern.”
“Really, Kingsley? You think you have the right to tell me who I can be with?” Harry snarled softly, a faint questioning tilt to his voice as the only thing keeping Draco on the side of civility. “The last I knew, you were the Minister for Magic and that position doesn’t mean you can control people’s love lives.”
“Ah, lad… For anyone else on this island, that would be true. But you are the Boy Who Lived and there is no way that we’re going to let you be soul bound to a Death Eater. Even one who got cleared in court,” Shacklebolt told him with a mournful shake of his head. “The announcement’s been blocked. Just let it happen and it’ll be as painless as possible.”
They watched as the Minister walked out of the room and turned their eyes to the crowd. There were enough Unspeakables in the place that Draco was certain that they would be trying something horrific to block what hummed between the two of them. He swiftly reached out and grabbed Harry’s hand, pressing hard on the bones to lock their grip together.
“You lads don’t want to do this,” Draco murmured as he tried to figure out how they were getting out of this mess.
“Oh, we really, really do,” Blaise told him as he moved forward from his spot in the back. His former classmate was sneering at them both as he looked at how their hands gripped the others. “Potter’s too important to Britain to waste on you. He’ll be happy enough with the bride we’ve picked out for him.”
“So what I want means nothing to you? Free will doesn’t seem to be something that you’re interested in letting me keep, eh, Blaise?” Harry fired back. Since he had his hand on his lover’s skin, Draco could feel the gathering of magic surging to the fore. Whatever Potter was planning, it was going to be big. Harry was heavily trained in Defense and he would back him against just about anyone. Including Riddle.
“Like I said, you’ll be happy enough Potter. And Malfoy will be well taken care of. Don’t you worry about that,” Blaise told him. “Separate them!”
Harry drew in a deep breath and Draco got ready as well. As soon as his lover let loose whatever it was he was planning, he was going to apparate them out of the Ministry and to the safest place he knew. With the first step from the mob before them, Harry let loose a blast of magic that exploded out of him, into the room and out into the Ministry itself before collapsing unconscious. Draco wasn’t going to stick around to see what the result of the blast would be. Using the connection of his hand on his lover’s wrist, he pulled him into his arms and apparated them both to Stonehenge.
Right into the middle of a fairy ring.
When they had acknowledged that they were dating, one of the conversations they had had, had focused on what could be done if the public turned against them. Escape with a minimum of casualties had been their first option. But doing so took massive amounts of power and neither of them were under the illusion that they wouldn’t be tracked. To that end, they had both looked for areas that could be a safe stop to allow them to regroup.
Stonehenge had not been his first choice of emergency apparition points, but Draco hadn’t been able to find another spot that had power as clean and as pure as the old henge. If either he or Harry blew their reserves for something, the pool of magic under the ancient monument would do wonders to recharge them. They had both found that being conscious didn’t make a bit of difference when it came to recharging; the lack of it actually made it easier since their magic automatically reached out to tap into the pool.
But whatever their experimentation had proven, it hadn’t been under circumstances like this. Draco tapped into the pool of magic and used it to top off his reserves. Side-apparating with an unconscious passenger from London to Stonehenge wasn’t a big deal. Even blowing through the shields at the Ministry hadn’t been that big of a deal. What was a big fucking deal were the pops of noise all over the place as he was followed.
Draco shifted Harry into a more comfortable spot across his shoulders and tucked them closer to the bluestone monolith they had appeared by. The magic of the fairy ring they were in seemed to be floating above that of the henge and he wasn’t able to confirm if the living circle was complete. Visually tracing the ring, it didn’t seem to meet up, but he couldn’t tell magically, and he was quite certain he wasn’t going to have time to meditate down to find out.
That left hoping and luck that the living connection to the wild magic of creation wasn’t going to harm them, or even worse, help them. He wasn’t all that sure he wanted to do that, but it wasn’t like he had much choice. Pushing down the line of warmth that connected him to Harry, Draco tried to assess how his core and reserves were doing. Potter’s core seemed to be back at fully charge, and his reserves were filling rapidly. Which was good, because he could hear their hunters coming up on their position. Launching a shield would likely be the smart thing to do, but it would also be draining. And apparating out was chancy due to the fairy ring.
Running away was basically just as chancy. Their clothes were rich and sumptuous, more suited to marble manors or glittering palaces than running around in high grass. Reaching into his own core, Draco pulled out a whisper of magic and slowly, carefully transfigured his outer robe to its second form as a long leather duster of a jacket. It was still black, but it no longer hindered his movements the way the robe had.
Emboldened by that success, he carefully did the same with Harry’s robes, all the while keeping an eye out for enemies. Flipping the hood of his trench coat up over his hair took only seconds and he rested against the stone for several moments. He let another small thread of magic out to follow the path of the fairy ring as it circled their position. The searchers were getting closer and he needed to make a decision soon. Chance it? Or stay and fight?
Shrugging his shoulder slightly, Draco tried to nudge Harry awake, but whatever he had let loose in the Ministry had completely knocked him down, and all he got was a weak moan. The shadows were all they had to hide them, and there was no telling how long that would last. Peeking around the edges of the stones, he tried to trace the ring and finally gave up. He was going to have to trust the Lady Magic to get them through.
He shifted Harry one last time and silently thanked Master Baudin for being an utter bastard in making sure that he was as strong physically as he was magically. Straightening up, he got ready to move when there was a shouted word that echoed across the site.
The sun bright ball of magic burst over the henge and took all the shadows with it. Draco bit off several virulent curses and gathered his energies. Whatever was going to happen, he had to be ready to move.
“Son of a bitch!” Draco muttered as he looked over to see Molly Weasley picking her way across the field to him.
“There you are!” Molly said as she walked around the stone across from them. She stopped just outside the fairy ring and looked at them before shaking her head. “You should have just given in. It would have been a lot less painful. Harry and Ginny will do well together.”
“For Merlin’s sake, Molly! You know neither Ginny nor Harry are interested in each other. Why are you going along with this?” Draco asked as he watched their enemies gather. “You told Harry that you understood when they told you that they were breaking up!”
The Weasley matriarch bit her lip and then firmed up her gaze. “I know I did. But things change and now I believe this is the best thing for the both of them!”
“Really? Because from where I’m standing, it looks like you are trying to split a soul-bonded couple apart and then magically rape three people every day for the rest of their lives to make this work. One of those people is your own daughter,” Draco fired back at her, trying to get her to see sense.
Molly looked devastated for a brief moment before she shook her head. “She’ll understand soon enough.”
“Even if the potions made her go along with it, you know somewhere deep down, that she’ll hate you for the rest of her life. So will Harry, under whatever enchantments you layer on him. And that doesn’t even count what I’ll do to you lot,” he snarled.
The witch shook her head. “You won’t even know, lad.”
“Oh, yes I will, you old bitch. We’re bonded. That means your plan won’t work,” Draco spat. He had the ring mapped out now, and he had to take the chance. It went around the lintel set and he had to take the chance it wasn’t physically complete, even if it felt magically complete. If he could get to the other side of the stone and out of direct sight, even if it was for a moment, he could get them away.
“It has to work,” Molly yelled at him, eyes flashing with the light of fanaticism.
“Fuck you,” Draco yelled back. Flinging up a shield, he stepped back to the center of the lintel and passed through the opening. Magic, both his and the innate magic of the fairy circle caught them and he could feel something happening. Whatever it was, it had them in a firm grip and wasn’t letting them go. Draco tightened his grip on Harry and held on.
Colors he has no words for, sensations that made his skin crawl and sounds that he heard more with his bones than his ears all assaulted them. Eventually he had to close his eyes as his brain tried to make sense of what he was seeing. Even that barely helped, and his stomach lurched as the force that had moved them released them and the magical insanity ended. His paranoia made him launch a shield and Draco took a deep breath as the world came back into focus. The feeling of magical danger had faded as soon as he had stepped through the lintel, despite not being able to see anything.
He had no idea how long they had been held in the embrace of the magic that had moved them, and he wasn’t too sure he wanted to know. But what he did know was he hadn’t been expecting to get dumped out into the middle of a full scale battle when they had been released. Draco would love to say that he had taken the surprise well, but that would have been a lie to end all lies and he wasn’t in the mood to lie to himself.
Looking around, he tried to figure out what in the hells he was seeing. Several different cultures of men were racing around the battlefield and from what he could see; the whole thing wasn’t a reenactment at all. The whole place stank of blood, shit, soot and the peculiar smell that well-used armor carried. Draco sidestepped one man who was running by them dressed in ragged armor and then reached up to zap his lover awake, Harry would have to work through the magical hangover he likely had.
“Draco!” Harry’s gasp was flattering, but they didn’t have time. “What in the hell is going on with my head?”
“You have what amounts to a magical hangover. Please tell me you brought your sword?” Draco asked as he tried to figure out what in the hell was going on. The second side of the battle seemed to be mostly naked, wearing blue and screaming in a language that he was sure had been absorbed into English more than a thousand years before his birth.
“The whole kit,” Harry agreed as he looked around the sooty landscape, with his eyes squinted against the pain in his head. “Where the hell are we, Draco?”
“I have no idea, but I know we aren’t anywhere close to home,” Draco told him as he pulled his own sword out of the sheath strapped to his back. “You need to get up, Harry. And figure out where the hell we are.”
“I’ll get right on that,” Harry muttered before pulling his own sword out and flicking his wand out of its forearm holder. Draco was too busy keeping them safe to pay any attention to what his lover was up to until their bond started reverberating with shock.
“So, what’s the news” Draco asked as he traced the movements of a man in black armor through the battlefield. He was wielding twin swords with enough skill to rack up an impressive body count. Whatever he was hunting, though, he wasn’t finding because he kept moving. “Is it bad?”
“Oh, it’s bad. We’re 1500 years in the past, Drake. And up next to Hadrian’s Wall,” Harry reported. “From the date and location, my best guess is this is the Battle of Badon Hill where Arthur won against the Saxons.”
“For fucks’ sake,” Draco muttered softly. “Right. Well, I think I may have my eye on one of the good guys, but we need to survive this first.”
“How can we tell who the good guys are?” Harry asked as he moved to stand beside Draco. They had practiced fighting together, but that was in the salle and in the ring, not on a battlefield where people really were trying to kill them. But better that practice than none at all.
Draco waved at the man he was watching. “History tells me that the native population of this area used a lot of blue woad in their personal decorations, so I think the ones in blue are good guys. And the one I’m watching hasn’t attacked a single one of them either. He does seem to be having a great deal of success at taking care of the other rabble.”
“So, and I’m reaching here, but I think that means the guys in crappy armor are Saxons, the ones in the really impressive black stuff are Arthur and his knights, and that leaves the blue-painted group as Arthur’s allies?” Harry asked as he cut down one of the semi-armored men chasing after a blue painted woman.
Holding his hands out, he tried to show his peaceful intentions toward her when he saw a Saxon running towards her with a sword at the ready. Draco saw the movement and put his wand away before his hand flicked out again, only this time it was filled with a dagger. As soon as she saw that, the woman raised her own axe, and he could see Harry shake his head. Draco threw the blade at the man coming up behind her and grunted in satisfaction as it entered his throat.
Harry grabbed her attention as he started approaching the woman, weapons carefully held so the points were to the ground. Draco’s own attention was pulled away before he could watch the end of the discussion between the two by more men in armor arriving. They were shouting something unintelligible and he was suddenly sick of not understanding what in the hell was being shouted around them.
The Latin phrase for the translation charm used at by the ICW was fairly complicated, but he had done it damn near daily while away on competition and every time he traveled abroad, so he knew it well. Hopefully it worked in the here and now. When he started understanding the shouts and threats coming from the troops around him, he almost sagged in relief. The charm to make sure that he was understood could wait.
“Die, Roman scum!” one of the men attacking him shouted, and Draco tried not to roll his eyes at the words.
“Bastard, I’m English, not Roman!” he groused as he twisted to avoid one awkward slash before he returned the favor with more skill and cut the man’s throat. His back slash took out the second man and he swallowed heavily. Killing with his wand was one thing, but this was totally another. Neither option sat well with him.
But if he wanted them to stay alive, he would kill everyone on the battlefield with them to do it. “Harry, try the translation charm so you can at least understand what’s going on,” he directed as he stepped around the bodies and put himself on guard.
Harry grunted and Draco ignored the squishy sound that followed it. “When you finished yours it got me too. Guess the bond’s growing. I’ll do the second charm, you guard us. Also, the lady I saved? She says her name is Guinevere.”
“Oh, balls,” Draco breathed out as he risked a glance over his shoulder. The very blue young lady just grinned at him; eyes alight with a mad and hungry light as she kept her part of the battle under her eye.
He could feel the instant the spell took hold and he shot Guinevere a glance. It seemed that she could feel the magic as well and was giving them both a considering look before taking out the next man who came their way.
“So, we’re not fighting your folk, right?” Draco called back, ignoring how his words twisted from the English he said them in to something that sounded like the bastard child of Welsh and Latin.
“No, you aren’t, Mage,” she shouted back right before she screamed a war cry and took out a man with a crossbow.
“Great. And the other guys are Saxons?” Harry grunted as he blocked an overhead blow with his sword and then kicked his opponent in the stomach.
“Yes! Where have you been that you don’t know this?” their ally asked as she stabbed Harry’s challenger.
“We have been long and far away from here. And the men in black armor?” Draco asked, already panting from the exertion.
“Arthur and his knights. The one with two swords is Lancelot, Bors has an axe, Tristan has a slightly curved sword and a bow, Galahad and Gawain both carry swords as well. Arthur has a great sword,” she told them in between sharing blows with a bigger opponent.
Draco finished off his latest Saxon and looked around the battlefield. Guinevere had projected the faces of Arthur and his men as she named them and he had enough legilimency to pick them up. He had been right; the man he had seen with two swords was indeed one of Arthur’s, and his face matched that of Lancelot. Looking around, he noticed another of the knights was in trouble.
“Guinevere! Is that one of yours?” Draco asked as he pointed at the battle taking place roughly fifty meters away from them. It might as well have been fifty miles away as he tried to figure out how to get over to the two men.
“Yes, that’s Tristan!” she screamed as she glanced over at the battle before hamstringing a Saxon as he ran by. She quickly wrapped a garrote around the man’s neck, and Draco didn’t bother to worry that the man was going to be standing up ever again.
Draco had a bad feeling about the fight and started pushing the other two in that direction. “Harry!”
“Shielding?” Harry asked.
“You two talk too much. Save your air!” Guinevere snapped as she got off the battle’s latest corpse and looked at Tristan.
“Healing,” Draco disagreed grimly. Battlefield medicine wasn’t his specialty and he was aware of it. Harry had more, but that was through hard-won experience. Neither of them were Pomfrey but they should be able to keep someone alive long enough for an actual healer to get to them.
It took far too much time to get over to where the two men were battling it out. Draco knew that he could have run the distance in seconds if conditions were clear, but with all the men fighting there was no speed available. He had already acquired numerous nicks and cuts all over his arms and legs and he was ignoring the line of fire that crossed his ribs. Battle was messy as fuck, and he hated it.
Tristan wasn’t doing too well in his own fight, and his opponent even seemed to be bored as he slowly worked to kill the knight. Draco kept pushing to get over to him, something in him saying that he needed to make sure that someone else lived through this day. When the Saxon stabbed the knight under the arm, Draco broke and ran, shoving his way through the mass of weapons and men, shaping his will enough to clear the way.
Skidding to a halt, Draco shoved his own sword into the asshole’s shoulder and twisted. For once, the scream as he hurt someone sounded good. He jerked the blade free as he moved to protect Tristan and trusted Harry to keep him safe as he got to work. Flicking out his wand hand, he grabbed the smooth wood of his wand and started running diagnostics. The man under his hands was utterly fucked up and if Draco didn’t help him soon, he would be dead in minutes.
Charms and spells, both verbal and wandless fell from his will and wand in a continuous rain, and Draco could feel the damage being staunched and then repaired. He was ignoring the battle going on over his head and around him. He only stopped when he recognized the knees that dropped down into his vision.
“Enough, Draco. He’s good enough to make it to Guinevere’s healers. She says that have a number who will be able to get him through,” Harry demanded.
Draco looked up and blinked as the world followed moments later. “I think I overdid it, Harry.”
“No shit. We both have,” his lover told him grimly. “You can’t pass out yet.”
He squinched his eyes tightly closed and shook his head slightly, trying to resettle his brain back into his skull. His hands gripped his weapons and he took the time to run one last diagnostic over his patient. The results showed someone who was gravely ill, but not dying at that moment, and if he got some care, likely wouldn’t die. Letting the spell go, he tucked his wand away and staggered to his feet, his grip sure on his sword. “I’m up.”
“Good. You can tell me what you were doing to him,” came the growled command from his right.
Looking up, Draco tried not to be impressed. He was actually considered to be rather tall, but the man before him made him feel dwarfed. Tall, broad and built, he was solid as the mountains and seemed very unamused to find someone he didn’t know hovering over his knight.
“Arthur Castus, at your service.”
“Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter at yours, sir,” Draco managed. He knew that the person in front of him was someone he had studied in history, and he only hoped he didn’t fuck everything up.
The aftermath of a battle was never mentioned in all the various tales he had read. Draco was reasonably certain he knew why, too. Reading about your hero’s delivering peace to the dying, stripping bodies of armor and filling mass graves wasn’t part of the derring-do of those heroic sagas. There was no valor or honor in the tasks, just heartbreak and misery.
Unfortunately for him, he had to think about it. In the three days since the battle, he had divided his time between making sure Tristan kept breathing, gathering bodies, and sleeping. It wasn’t glorious, it wasn’t exciting, but it was what was needed. Harry was doing much the same thing, only instead of one patient; he was looking after everyone in his reach.
His wand stayed in its sheath. Magic, while known, wasn’t acknowledged. Events that could be excused in battle, couldn’t be passed off in the cold light of day. There was no way for them to clean the battlefield in an instant that wouldn’t be noticed by everyone.
Now, three days after everything, he and Harry were in a small set of quarters waiting on Merlin (Merlin!) to show up and talk to them. It was enough to make him insane.
“So before we meet Merlin, do you think we’re in the past, our past? Or in an alternate universe?” Harry asked as he used his wand to repair and refresh their clothes.
Draco grunted softly as he shifted on the bed. He was sitting cross-legged as he took a complete inventory of what he had in his dimension bracelet. There were a lot of potions, some interesting books, grooming supplies, spell-ready parchment, his main wand plus the three spares that actually fit him. He even had his personal grimoire, a round dozen pens, his broom, and a Quidditch set. What he didn’t have was more clothes, boots, armor, or any of a hundred things they needed and couldn’t get. What he had was useful for the world they had left, but very little applied to their new circumstances.
He had his Gringotts’ key and some gold, but even with the difference in worth, living would be damn expensive. And the key brought up all sorts of issues directly tied to their unexpected time travel.
“If we are very lucky, it’s a new universe,” Draco muttered.
Harry walked over to stare at him from the foot of the bed. “And if it’s not?”
“Then I just fucked time the time line six ways from Sunday,” he told his lover blandly.
“Going to explain that?” Harry pushed.
“Tristan felt familiar. It’s why I’ve been so driven to protect him,” Draco explained as he began reloading his bracelet, starting with the gold. “He feels like family. So while I was doing a check on him, I cast a familius spell. He’s related to us on the Black side.”
“Really?” Harry stared into the distance for several moments, and Draco was content to let him. He wanted to be packed and dressed before Merlin got there. “Well, he does actually look like Sirius.”
“Given that I think he’s the start of the Black line here in England, I would expect so,” Draco agreed. “But all the history I’ve been taught says that while the progenitor of the Black line was a knight of the Round Table, they said nothing about the mother.”
His lover cocked his head to one side and huffed, amused despite himself. “Would that be the young lady who works at the tavern and keeps visiting him with a little boy in tow?”
“That would be her,” Draco agreed. “Lady is a bit of a misnomer though. From what I’ve overheard, she’s at best a tavern wench, and at worst a whore. Tristan doesn’t seem too attached to her, but he’s very attached to the boy.”
“Does this boy have a name?” Harry asked as he settled onto the bed and started to empty his own bracelet. Draco leaned into the cushions at the head of the bed and watched. Harry’s bracelet was several years older than his, and his lover was orders of magnitude more paranoid than he was.
Draco’s bracelet was spelled to be as plain as possible and covered in matte black enamel that hid all the spell work that went into its creation. Harry’s was still the original Goblin Silver and the spellwork almost glowed off the surface. Draco was certain that it was full of enough survival gear to keep them alive for months. Maybe it included some clothes. If not, he would have to part with some of their gold and he wasn’t looking forward to that at all.
“His name’s Corvus,” Draco told him absently as he sorted through the pile of clothes that appeared around them. “So that’s where my favorite shirt went! Anyway. His full name is Indus Corvus Black. I find myself really wishing I was able to let Walburga and Bellatrix know where their illustrious family history started from.”
Harry looked over at him from his side of the bed with a faint look of horror on his face, and Draco pushed on their bond to try to figure out why. His lover was physically fine, so it had to be something else. “What’s wrong?”
“The astronomical name tradition started all the way back here?” he asked, curiosity and horror warring in his voice.
“Yes indeed,” Draco agreed before crawling off the bed to change clothes. Harry just took advantage of the space to pile up more stuff. “Just how much stuff do you have in there?”
“It’s a transfigured dimensional trunk, Draco. I have tons in here thanks to Hermione being pushy and me never removing stuff. Plus I tended to store anything I held for more than five minutes out of habit,” Harry informed him. “If Tristan was supposed to die in the first timeline, I think we’re in the new universe explanation. Because otherwise we have problems. Problems like we could cancel out our own births.”
The feel of clean clothes was heavenly and he ran a quick scourgify over the clothes he had been wearing. The worst of the remaining muck from the day flaked off and Draco banished the mess to the nearest midden. “We have problems anyway, love. How are your reserves?”
“Good,” came the distracted answer. Harry was paying more attention to what he was moving in and out of his bracelet than anything else. “Do you think Tristan could handle a healing potion or two, now that he’s recovered enough from your spellwork?”
“He’s magical,” Draco agreed before looking at the vials Harry was holding out. Both were decent broad-spectrum potions that would do the knight a great deal of good.
Before Harry could respond, there was a knock on their door, and Draco moved to answer, sword in hand. From the whispers of sound behind him, Horry was storing everything away. Opening the door, he kept the naked blade out of sight and peeked around the edge.
Merlin was standing there in all his blue-painted glory, and Draco fought a bone-deep twitch at that. He had been studiously ignoring certain parts of their current predicament but this was shoving them to the fore. Merlin. Arthur. Knights of the bloody Round Table. Nightmares.
“Are you going to invite me in, traveler?” Merlin asked.
Draco managed to pull the door open wider and waved him in, without using the hand that held the sword. Harry had the only chair in the place set beside the table, and Merlin made for it without a blink. Eyebrow raised in question, he looked at his lover. A feeling of caution and duplicitousness pulsed through the Bond and he figured his lover wanted to present a mostly harmless image to their guest, which was why he was sitting tailor fashion on their bed.
“Thank you for seeing us,” Harry said.
“We have never gotten visitors from as far away before.” Merlin looked at them both shrewdly.
“No you haven’t,” Draco agreed before sitting on the bed and placing his sword beside him.
“Magic flows from you two like water from a river. We have no one trained like you so close to the wall,” Merlin told them, blunt and, to Draco’s ear, honest.
He tried to remember where magic had been taught before Hogwarts had been built and couldn’t. Londinium had the bare beginnings of the Alley, but the sprawling collection of streets were still for the future. Formal schools were rare things, and if he remembered his history right, such schools were in Rome, Athens, Cairo or Constantinople at this time. England wouldn’t have a recognized school until Hogwarts, and that august body wasn’t due to be formed for another six to ten years.
“No, I’m sure you don’t,” Harry offered cautiously.
“Time flows around you in waves as well. As if the sea spat you out and now is making sure you stay,” Merlin announced, and Draco could feel Harry flinch.
“Lady Magic has had a hand in this yes,” his lover said.
“Indeed. Since Lady Magic has dropped you here, we should take advantage of that.” Merlin smiled at them. It was all teeth and danger, and Draco wanted to protest. Take advantage? How? The teachings of his father rose up in him, and Draco throttled the urge to protest back. He was no longer his father’s son.
The clamping of Harry’s hand on his leg reminded him that they didn’t really have any other options. Damn it. The grin on the old man’s face got even bigger, and Draco could feel a growl tickle the edges of his control. Harry’s hand gripped harder, and he settled back into the bed. He hated having people move him around like a chess piece. It reminded him far too much of Dumbledore and his ‘greater good.’
“It is good you have him to help your control, Dragon,” Merlin told him with cold certainty. “Just because I am not what you are used to, does not mean you can best me. Your lover has skills that I can train. You however, will train with Arthur.”
“Why?” Draco bit out.
“Because this is a new world for you. And Lady Magic has plans,” Merlin told them before standing and heading towards the door. “Dawn, young apprentice.”
Draco sat silently for several seconds before pushing off the bed and grabbing the sheath for his sword. The action of sheathing the blade was familiar and practiced to the point of muscle memory. He would inspect the steel in the morning to see if it needed any attention, but at least it was clean.
He managed to wedge the chair at the door before whispering a locking charm that would hold up to just about anyone. Except maybe Merlin. Better to be safe than sorry. Hence the chair.
Plus, he had no idea how well trained the rest of the magical population of the area was.
“Still leaning toward the alternate universe?” Draco asked.
“More than ever,” Harry told him.
“Lovely.” He sighed. “Lumos pila!”
The ball of light was easy enough to set onto the metal plate where a tallow candle had been sitting before he removed it. Draco was deeply grateful that his wand and his magic had come back with him, because smelling tallow as he slept was obnoxious. And he had no idea if it was even safe to have a candle going all night. What if it lit something on fire?
“Come to bed, Draco,” Harry demanded as he settled down onto the ancient mattress.
”I know it’s a bit late to ask, but you spelled this thing against bugs, right? And the linens are clean?” he asked as he pulled his clothes off before hanging them on a handy hook.
”Totally bug free, down to the smallest bed bug. And the linens were clean when I got them from Jols and I did a scourgify to make sure of it,” Harry told him from under a much more modern quilt. “You need sleep, Draco.”
What he needed, Draco thought privately, was a good shag. He gave it even odds on if he wanted to be giving or receiving. As tired as he was, he didn’t even want anything outrageous. Sliding into the bed, he reached out to gather his lover into his arms and tried to tamp down on his neediness. Harry had been just as busy and was likely just as tired.
He even tried to sleep. He closed his eyes and everything. Just, behind his eyes, there were the bodies of the men he had killed instead of sheep. There was no way he was going to be able to sleep with that running through his head. Instead, he just lay still, holding his lover close, and tried not to think.
”This isn’t going to work,” Harry muttered before flipping over and staring in his eyes.
“I’m resting! See? Lying down and everything,” Draco protested softly.
“Bullshite. You’re tying yourself up in knots and it’s affecting me, too,” Harry told him bluntly. “So if lying here isn’t going to be doing it for you, then we will have to find something else.”
“Something else, huh?” Draco whispered before using a wandless warmth charm to make the bed more tolerable. Pushing the cloth away, he took in the form of his lover.
Harry was never going to be the tallest man around, but he was perfectly proportioned and had just enough color to his skin to be interesting. Draco was milk white and stayed that way, no matter how much sun he got. His lover though, tanned to a beautiful shade of brown when exposed to the sun. He was looking forward to summer and exploring the tan lines he was going to be able to explore.
Flicking his eyes up, he took a quick look at Harry’s face. The smile and nod he got were all the permission he needed. He leaned over and started kissing his way over the other man’s collarbones then to his lips. The feel of Harry’s lips under his own were the best homecoming ever, and he sank into the feeling. It had been days since he had been able to do more than look at his lover, and he was savoring the taste.
Reaching up, he rubbed one finger over the dark beard that covered Harry’s cheeks. It was long enough now that it was soft, and Draco was fascinated by it. What would it feel like if Harry gave him a blow job with it? Or rimmed him? Shivering in anticipation, he saved the idea away. Something for later when they had more time and energy.
But first he needed to activate the runes he had placed on the small of Harry’s back, right above the cleft of his ass. They had chosen to get them when they had gotten disenchanted with using their wands to prep each other for sex. A quick brush over them with his fingers, a push of his magic, and Harry would be physically ready for sex.
Draco smiled in satisfaction as the runes took the small pulse of power he sent them and his own throbbed in answer. They had gotten and tested them right before their trip to the Ministry, but never had a chance to use them. The gentle push of power into them sparked a feeling of warmth that he could feel under his fingers before Harry moaned, wanton and unashamed, and spread his legs wide.
“Oh, Draco. You will love this when I do it to you. So much better than the charms,” he moaned, voice drugged on the pleasure Draco was giving him.
They had chosen a rune set that would react to the wearer’s pleasure and increase it, would stretch the recipient for anal sex, protect the health of both parties, and finally make everything slick. It seemed to have worked well.
“Good to know, love,” Draco panted lightly. He was so turned on his cock hurt slightly. A wordless charm got him a bit of lube to slick his dick up and then he was gently nudging the head against the furl of his lover’s ass. Sinking into the warmth of Harry’s body, he moaned at the feel of his mate wrapping around him. The urge to stay there, to rest and revel in the feeling was present, but he knew that if he moved, it would be even better.
Draco laughed on a breath of air before pulling out and then plowing back into his lover. From the way Harry’s legs wrapped around his hips, the action was well received. “Greedy bastard.”
Placing his hands on either side of his lover, Draco moved his knees to get a bit more leverage before settling in to blow his mate’s mind. From the way Harry was babbling in English, Parseltongue and Latin, he was succeeding. He could feel the tension of an approaching orgasm running through their bond and Draco pushed his pleasure down it as well. That seemed to be the final thing that Harry needed to push him over the edge. As Draco sank into his lover one final time, Harry’s muscles locked up and his orgasm rushed out of him in pulses that pulled Draco’s out of him.
Instead of collapsing like he wanted to, Draco carefully pulled out of Harry, ignoring the moan of protest. A scourgify took care of the wet bits and he settled into the curve of his mate’s body. The bond that had been humming between them for so long blazed, and he didn’t know if it was because they had been to see the Book of Souls and acknowledged what was between them, or if it was something else. He really, really didn’t care. He was just glad that the tie that bound them together felt unbreakable.
Six months later
Draco was exhausted. If he had ever thought Master Baudin was a harsh taskmaster, he wasn’t ashamed to admit he had been wrong. Tristan was a thousand times worse. Add in the lessons from Arthur and his men, and he was just done.
Harry was doing no better. He had his lessons with Merlin that were full of things he was not able to share. He tried, with various levels of success to pass on the information, but Draco could only grasp at the edges of some of the concepts. Harry was also taking a variety of lessons from Tristan, Galahad and Gawain, and he seemed to be doing well.
The Saxon army had been pretty well decimated by the battle at Badon Hill, but small raiding parties were still wandering the countryside. The hell they were causing was enough to be distracting, and Draco had gone out with the knights several times over the last six months to deal with them. Mainly this meant killing them, and that was never pleasant. He had, mostly, conquered his need to vomit after skirmishes, and took care of the urge on his own time.
None of the surviving knights gave him shit about it either, not even Bors, and he was by far the roughest of the lot. Arthur just looked on and offered sage advice on how to compartmentalize what he saw and did. As time went on, the others offered their own coping mechanisms.
They were riding back from dealing with another raiding party when Arthur waved him forward. Draco maneuvered his way up next to the king and tried not to wince as his horse threw his head back to protest the action. Damn animal, he thought as he shifted his seat and firmed up his grip on the reigns. Unlike a good broom, his horse had a mind of its own and liked to move in unexpected directions.
The sound of amused chuckles coming from his right reached his ears, and he looked over at the king. Arthur looked tired, stretched as if his anchor to life was pulling free. Draco pushed the thought away. The older man was still holding on and that was as it needed to be.
“You don’t seem to be too comfortable on your mount,” Arthur mused as his amusement died down.
“I’m more comfortable than I was, I suppose,” Draco allowed.
“And settling into your lessons with me. I think it will be another six months before I’ve passed everything along,” the king told him with a tired look in his eye. “Merlin can keep me going for about that much longer.”
Fuck. So the older man really did have a problem. “So you and Lancelot?” Draco asked. Lancelot was the one person that every single surviving member of the Round Table admitted that Arthur had been close to. Guinevere had even confessed that while Arthur had wanted to bed her, he had always looked to Lancelot for emotional support.
The look the king gave him was in part frustrated and the other part seemed to be an overwhelming grief. “Bonded, though neither of us knew it. It wasn’t until he died that any of us figured out there was a problem.”
“I’m sorry. I have no idea new you are holding on,” Draco offered, eyes serious as he looked back at his mentor. The thought of losing Harry was enough to take his breath.
“I’m tied to the land. When we found out, Merlin told me I had a year before it wouldn’t be able to sustain me anymore,” Arthur said with a grunt of pain as he shifted. “I’m quite sure that, while I may be alive in six months, I won’t be riding horses for much longer.”
“Understood. Do your knights know?” Draco asked with a nod to the men surrounding them.
“Yes.” The king shrugged and leaned slightly forward in his saddle to pet the neck of his horse. “They’re aware of the whole thing with Lancelot. Galahad and Gawain are upset for me. Bors just wants me to let Lancelot know that his latest son looks nothing like him, and Tristan wished him happy hunting.”
“And when you go?” Draco asked. He had a very bad feeling about things. “What will happen after? To the country and to Guinevere?”
“When I go,” Arthur allowed. “You get the country. Guin will be your spouse and my knights will be your knights. Merlin’s already told me that the land is accepting you as its own. Like it did me.”
Draco dropped the reins to his horse, and the damn beast stopped in place as he sat on its back, completely flabbergasted. From the laughter of the men around him, they found his reaction hilarious.
“I was not expecting that,” Draco growled as he picked the reins up and kicked his horse back into line. “And Merlin?”
“Isn’t going to last much longer than Arthur will,” Gawain told him from his position behind Arthur. “He’s teaching your Harry everything he knows in an effort to make sure nothing’s left hanging when they both go.”
“Damn it,” Draco muttered briefly to himself in Gobbledegook.
“They’re in Londinium,” Tristan told him cheerfully.
Malfoy twisted slightly to look at his family member before sitting back into his saddle. Gringotts was a very old bank, and, if his memory served, the physical building itself had been on the same spot since the branch had been opened. And that had been about ten years after Rome invaded and set down roots in the country, if the history Binns had taught them was to be believed.
Londinium and the burgeoning Diagon Alley were well within his range for apparition, so they were also within Harry’s. They needed to go to the bank and deposit their gold, figure out how much it was all worth, and maybe get their wands checked out. Ollivander’s was an English institution and was certainly in the Alley, given that they predated Londinium and the Alley.
“Thank you for letting me know,” Draco called, nodding at the raised eyebrow his words brought. “Despite what Merlin has to say about the land accepting me, I don’t get why you are going along with it. Why me? Why Harry?”
“You think any of us want the throne?” Galahad asked as he circled his horse around. “Or the mess with Guin? This country? Most of us aren’t real fond of it, but it’s home now after so many years. Even if we were willing, none of us have it in us to lead this mess to a safe and prosperous future.”
“And you think I do?” Draco asked, turning to look at the men around him. He would be the first to admit that he was a lot deadlier than he had been when they had arrived. However, the five men riding with him were all death incarnate to their foes. But would that be enough to hold the peace? “You didn’t even know me six months ago!”
“Yes. I’ve watched you as Arthur passed on everything he has to teach to you,” Bors suddenly spoke up and everyone turned to look at him. “You already know most of what he’s been telling you, but you still don’t fuss or ignore it. And yes, you were a stranger six months ago, but you aren’t one now. Besides, if not you, then who will?”
“Gawain and I don’t want it,” Galahad told him, voice just loud enough to be heard over the sound of the horses. “Tristan has never wanted command and, if you notice, his son lives with his mother. Poor kid would be hard put to live with us at the moment. And Bors? He’s got his woman, his bastards and his tavern. If Dagonet were still alive, he would want for nothing.”
“And Guin?” Draco pressed. He rather liked the little Woad princess and she got along well with Harry.
“Guin could have been my wife, if I was going to live longer than I am,” Arthur told him with a wistful smile. “Lancelot and I weren’t like you and Harry. For all we shared a bond, there was no romantic love.”
“Neither were Harry and I when we first met. Far from it,” he admitted. The rest of that story was going to stay behind his teeth. “So I’m getting the kingdom and the girl by default since you all declined before I knew I was in the running?”
“Basically,” Tristan allowed as he whistled down his falcon. Draco was going to ignore how the bird carried a familiar bond to his relative. “Besides, do you really want to see what would happen if I started running this place?”
Draco shuddered slightly at the thought. Tristan was one hell of a fine knight, but he was never placed in command of anyone, by Arthur’s own admission. The one time they had tried, he had brought all his troops home, but they had been deeply traumatized. Arthur had had to keep the men at the fort for months before they were ready to go out again.
The rest of the knights laughed and teased each other in the short hand of very old friends. Draco relaxed and settled back into his saddle, content to let the conversation move on to something else. Harry was going to shit bricks at his news.
“Guin?” Draco called, checking the areas the Woad woman normally worked.
“Over here!” he heard a light female voice call from the stables.
Wandering in that direction, Draco tried to figure out when he had gotten comfortable with where they were living. He missed curry, Chinese food, coffee, tea, and chocolate! Having the option to pop over to Paris and dine in the little restaurants his mother had shown him, or to just go to Flourish and Blotts to get a new book? Oh, he missed those things. He missed having the ability to call his house elves and request his share of the care the little creatures lavished on wizards, too.
But what he didn’t miss was the overwhelming amount of suspicion that had come his way in the old time line. Suspicion of what he wanted, why he was around, what he was doing… His coin was accepted without quarrel at the fort, and, for that, he was grateful. When he and Harry were together in public, no one gave them side-eye looks of disapproval. It was just… better.
Stepping into the barn, he blinked rapidly to try to adjust his eyesight to the gloom. Movement about halfway down the room proved to be the woman he sought, and Draco rocked back on his heels as she finished doing something to the horse she was messing with. As soon as she had finished with her chore, he cleared his throat and tried to put his thoughts in order.
”I talked to Arthur today.”
Guinevere grinned at him, sharp and foxy. “You talk to him every day.”
“Funny girl,” Draco teased with a smile. “Anyway. He told me about why I’ve been taking lessons from him.”
Eyes sad, Guin nodded. “I know. I discussed this with Merlin months ago.”
“I’ll need to talk to Harry, Guin. He’s my first priority before I even think about agreeing with their plans,” Draco told her.
“Good. As it should be,” she agreed.
“Any idea where he is?” Draco asked as he followed her out of the building.
“He and Merlin went on a vision quest last night. I would expect him in about three days. Merlin was saying something about him needing to meet his inner beast,” she told him with a small shrug.
“His animagus form? As far as I know, he doesn’t have one,” Draco said.
Guinevere stopped before they fully left the building and turned to face him. Tapping one finger against his armor’s breastplate she smiled. “He isn’t quite like you, milord dragon, but he does have a form.”
Sweeping her hand up in his, Draco pressed a small kiss to the back of it in a fit of overblown gallantry. “Not quite like mine, huh? Well, I’ll just have to wait until he gets back to find out.”
“Walk me to Arthur’s quarters?” she asked.
“Sure.” Draco held out one arm in an unconscious courtesy, and she gave him a deeply amused look before tucking her hand into the crook of his elbow. On the short walk to the king’s quarters, they chatted idly, going over the gossip of the fort. Nothing earth shattering, just comforting chatter between two people learning how to be friends.
As soon as he delivered her to Arthur’s suite, Draco headed back to the rooms he shared with Harry. Closing the door, he leaned against the seasoned oak and tried not to freak out. Arthur and his knights wanted him to take over for Arthur. To become the king of Camelot. And Merlin! Wanted Harry in his place? For fuck’s sake! What next?
“What is master wanting Tans to do for him?” came a voice from down by his hips. “Tans can clean, mend and make armor?”
Looking down, Draco saw a very naked house elf standing by, big green eyes filled with yearning. Thumping his head against the door, he sighed. Well, he had asked.