Author's Notes: Thanks go to my beta and to all those who sent feedback about the original draft of the fic at schnoogle or on my LJ. Your help is greatly appreciated.
Gold Tinted Spectacles
Chapter 30 - Home?
The Easter holidays were upon them and Dumbledore had called the bonded pair into his office and suggested a small holiday as far away from sources of strong magic as possible. Harry knew he was a little ragged around the edges even though his control was very good these days, but the only place he could go was the Dursleys' and that was not something he fancied. However, somehow the headmaster had convinced Draco it was a good idea and after that Harry had been unable to change his lover's mind, so to the Dursleys' they were going.
Harry was throwing the last of his stuff into the small trunk he had borrowed off Neville when Ron knocked on the door. He was not going away for very long so he didn't need his big trunk and the smaller one was far easier to carry, but he only had an hour before they were leaving and he was running late. Even so, Ron appeared somewhat anxious so Harry stopped what he was doing and turned to his friend.
"Hi, Ron," he said brightly, "what can I do for you?"
His friend stepped into the room and closed the door.
"Um, Harry," Ron began hesitantly, "um, you know that both Hermione and me are staying here over the Easter holidays?"
Harry nodded: they had originally planned to all stay together until Dumbledore had come up with the idea that Harry needed to get away.
"Well, I was wondering, since you and Draco are going to be off in Muggle-land," Ron continued, still failing to get to the point. "Could we, that is, um."
"Spit it out, Ron," Harry said with a grin.
"Could we borrow your room for a night?" his friend finally said in a mad rush.
It took a moment for Harry to catch up and then his face broke into a full-fledged toothy smile.
"So you and Hermione are finally going to do the deed then?" he couldn't help teasing Ron just a little since Harry had taken enough stick over the months about his sex drive.
Ron was slowly turning a lovely shade of scarlet.
"Harry," he said in a warning tone.
"I don't know," the Hecatemus said, unwilling to give up just yet, "aiding and abetting the head girl and her boyfriend to break one of the strictest school rules: Bit risky that."
Ron was glaring at him now.
"You're really picking up some bad habits from Malfoy," his friend said as Harry laughed at him.
"Sorry, Ron," Harry apologised and patted his friend on the arm, "but turn around is fair play."
Ron muttered something under his breath that Harry couldn't hear.
"If you curse me you can't borrow the room," Harry said lightly.
"Then we can?" Ron said, brightening. "Borrow the room that is?"
"Of course you can borrow the room and for as many nights as you like," Harry said rolling his eyes, "just don't let McGonagall catch you or she'll skin all of us, not just you two."
Forgetting his previous ire, Ron now beamed.
"Thanks, Harry," his friend said brightly, "you're a real mate."
Ron turned to leave, but Harry caught him before he opened the door.
"Just one thing, Ron," he said evenly, "don't tell anyone else. This room is not becoming a brothel."
His friend grinned and nodded, and then he left.
Draco looked up at number 4 Privet Drive dubiously. When Dumbledore had suggested that they spend a week with the Dursleys both Harry and Draco had thought the old wizard had finally lost his marbles, but then the headmaster had taken Draco aside and explained his reasoning. Harry needed a break from magic and with all out war on the horizon there was only one place safe for him to get it. After that Draco had talked his lover into the whole idea.
That, however, did not make him feel anymore comfortable about the whole Muggle experience, especially after what Harry had told him about these particular Muggles. Dumbledore had assured Draco that the Dursleys would be aware of the situation at least enough to know not to interfere, but the young Malfoy had his suspicions that things were not going to be easy. The Dursleys had been conspicuously absent from the train station to pick them up for a start and they had had to catch a Taxi. It was the first time Draco had ever been in a Muggle mini-cab and he had not been impressed. The noisy car had been a big step down from the chauffeur driven vehicles he had been in before, and the lack of cushioning spells had not made him happy.
[Don't look so worried,] Harry said silently as they stood on the drive, [they'll be horrible, but it won't kill us.]
[Are you sure?] Draco asked suspiciously.
The Muggle world just felt so inconvenient to a young man who had rarely set foot in it. The whole process of doing everything was so slow and nothing was easy. Then there was the fact that everyone in the wizarding world always looked at Harry like a hero, even those who saw him as the enemy recognised that, and the fact there were people around who thought of him as a lower life form was difficult to believe. Of course Draco believed Harry completely when he explained the situation, after all he believed everything Harry told him these days since they couldn't lie to each other, but it still did not feel right.
[You know I never took you for a worrier,] Harry's mental voice was amused.
[That's because I wasn't,] Draco returned in kind. [You're the one who's turned me into a worrywart. I would like it understood that my approaching nervous breakdown is all your fault.]
Harry laughed at that and they picked up their trunks. The front door was actually open waiting for them and Harry went in first with Draco sticking as close to him as possible.
"Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia, Dudley?" Harry called out expectantly.
"Close the door you're letting in the cold air," came what sounded to Draco like a terrified response.
From the emotions coming off Harry, Draco did not think that The Boy Who Lived was aware of the reaction he caused in his relations. The two young men left their luggage in the hall and walked towards the source of the voice and, as they moved into the lounge, Draco was not impressed. The Dursleys were standing in the far corner of the room as a tight family unit and they were eyeing Harry and Draco like they might bite. The look in the slug-like man's eyes backed up Draco's initial assessment of the situation: these people were afraid of Harry.
"This is most inconvenient," Mr Dursley blustered as Draco watched him, fascinated.
If the situation had involved anyone but Harry, Draco might have found the whole thing amusing, as it was he couldn't believe that his lover had managed to spend his formative years with these primitives and turn out to be the hero he was.
"Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon, Dudley," Harry introduced evenly, "this is Draco; Draco, my relatives."
The way the three Muggles looked at him, Draco realised that in their opinion he was beneath contempt: it was not an idea he was used to and it annoyed him. Cultivating a smile that could have terrified the Dark Lord himself, Draco fixed then one by one with his eyes.
"Interesting to meet you at last," he said smoothly, "Harry has told me all about you."
If the Durleys hadn't been backed up against the far wall as it was, Draco was pretty sure they would all have taken a step further away. He was, overall, pleased with the result.
"We'll be going upstairs then," Harry interrupted the moment and gave him a look: it was difficult not to notice that the Hecatemus found the situation amusing, but he also appeared a little conflicted. "It's been a long day and we'll just get out of your way."
Draco kept his eyes on the Muggles as Harry turned to leave the room. He made eye contact with his lover's Uncle for a few moments, daring the other man to make a comment and then he followed his soul mate back into the hall. It was only after they entered the room, which Draco immediately assessed as pokey and dreary, that Harry turned to him and laughed.
[Oh that was even better than the tongue incident,] Harry said cheerfully and sat down on the shabby looking bed. [How do you inspire such terror? I've never found you that frightening.]
[That's because you've always wanted into my robes,] Draco replied and sat down next to his lover. [Anyway you inspire some serious fear yourself.]
Harry looked at him incredulously and now Draco was sure his soul mate had no idea the awe he inspired.
[Nah,] he said lightly, [they despise me, but they don't fear me. They only let me get away with anything because I told them my godfather was a raving psycho.]
[That might have been true once,] Draco said evenly, looking around the dismal room, [but trust me, now it's you who is inspiring the fear. I know about these things, remember who my father is. You actually live here?]
The aristocratic pureblood found the whole area distasteful and he wouldn't have let a servant sleep in such rooms let alone a member of the family. Draco's opinion of the Dursleys was going down by the second.
[You really think they're afraid of me?] Harry asked, ignoring the question. [What's frightening about me, except maybe the wand?]
Draco turned to face his lover then, realising that this was now bothering Harry.
[Let's see,] he said calmly, [you're six foot, one hundred percent muscle, you have eyes that could glare down a dragon when you're annoyed and oh yes, let's not forget, you're the strongest wizard since Merlin.]
Harry still appeared dubious.
[They don't know much about wizards,] he said with a frown, [they think I'm a failure. And being a gay failure probably hasn't improved my standing.]
Draco decided he didn't like where this conversation was going: either Harry was going to end up depressed or Draco was going to end up angry and he wanted neither, so he leant towards his lover and kissed him instead.
[Forget the Muggles,] he said flippantly, [we have a new place to christen.]
Harry did not resist until Draco pushed him down on to the bed and he moaned as which point he obviously remembered where he was.
[Maybe we should put up a silencing charm first,] Harry suggested as he broke the kiss.
[Why?] Draco returned with a raised eyebrow and a smile.
Slowly Harry mouth formed into a similar smile.
[You're evil,] he said mischievously.
[That's why you love me,] Draco replied cheerfully. [I wonder how much noise we can make before one of them would have the guts to come in here?]
[Do you really want Uncle Vernon walking in on us?] Harry asked playfully. [That would be enough to kill off anyone's ardour.]
Draco thought about this for a moment and had to agree.
[Okay,] he decided and went back to kissing Harry, [just enough noise so they remember we're here and know exactly what we're doing.]
[Oh Merlin,] his lover replied as Draco ran his hand up the inside of his leg. [I think I can manage that.]
It was the middle of the evening when Draco left a shagged out Harry to sleep upstairs. He had some things he wanted to sort out before anything in the household became too difficult. When Draco walked into the lounge the main reaction from the family was shock; they had obviously not been expecting to see him. The box in the corner was spewing out noise and pictures, but the three Muggles were now firmly focused on him.
"Good evening," he said cordially and favoured them with another of his devil-incarnate smiles.
Over the past few months he had discovered they worked far better than the patented Malfoy sneer: they were far more frightening even to those who didn't know him.
"What do you want?" Mr Dursley asked shortly.
Although the odious man had made the majority of Harry's life hell, Draco had to admire the fact that, even though he was terrified, the Muggle still managed to sound derogatory.
"I just have a few things to make clear," Draco said calmly, never for a minute letting the Dursleys see the extent of the distaste he held for them. "I do not care what you think of me, I don't even care what you think of Harry, you are all insignificant in my world view."
"How dare ..." Vernon Dursley tried to interrupt as his wife gasped in horror.
"Shut up or I will make you," Draco said pointedly.
Dursley looked as if he might blow a blood vessel as he went purple.
"I know you're not allowed to use magic outside that wretched school until you're an adult," the man blustered.
Draco smiled again and Vernon shut up. He really couldn't be bothered to try and explain that he was in fact an adult in his world; there were more important things he wanted to say.
"I want you to listen very carefully," he said evenly. "Harry is a genuinely nice chap; he respects the rules when they don't get in the way of him saving the world. I on the other hand am an evil bastard from a very long line of evil bastards and the only thing I care about is Harry. I know curses that would make your blood boil, literally, and I also know how to make sure no one would ever find out who did it. We are here for one reason and one reason only: Harry needs to rest. We will stay out of your way, you will stay out of ours and in one week we will be out of your hair. Is that alright with everyone?"
The three Dursleys were staring at him in wide-eyed shock but slowly Vernon nodded, followed by his wife and then his son.
"Good," Draco said lightly, "glad we have that out of the way." and then he turned and walked back the way he had come.
The Dursleys were a very predictable family and were hence daytime people: to avoid them, Draco and Harry became nocturnal. Vernon might have been under the impression that the pair was not allowed to do magic, but of course they could do anything they liked as long as the local Muggles didn't find out. Since the whole idea was that Harry should be away from lots of magic they had only used one of their repertoire and that was a silencing charm on the room. After their initial fun, no one outside could now hear what they were up to inside.
Since it was four in the morning when Draco wandered downstairs to find himself and Harry something to eat, he was surprised to find that the kitchen was not empty. He padded into the room with bare feet to find Harry's cousin Dudley with his head in the refrigerator.
Draco still found the whole idea of a Muggle kitchen bizarre, but he was nothing if not a quick learner and he had to admit that some of the ways the Muggles solved their needs were intriguing. He found the refrigerator quite fascinating with its strange noises and little light. Seeing Dudley with his ample behind sticking out of it was not as interesting, however.
Calmly Draco walked up behind the oblivious Muggle and said: "Are you finished yet?"
Dudley stood up straight instantly, forgetting that he had his upper body in something shorter than himself, hit his head on the top of the refrigerator and then leapt backwards clutching the bruised spot. His piggy eyes were open wide and he stared at Draco as if he was his worst fear. For his part, the Slytherin gazed at the boy evenly and let his lips curve in amusement. Draco milked the awe he inspired for a couple of seconds and then turned back to his task in hand, expecting the Dursley child to run away the same way he had the only other time they had come into contact.
Surprisingly, when he had retrieved what he wanted from the refrigerator and turned to place the items on the kitchen table, Dudley was still there. He jumped as if hexed when Draco actually looked at him a second time, but he was never-the-less still very much in the room.
"Did you want something?" Draco asked evenly.
It occurred to him that baiting and then terrorising the Muggle might be fun, but he knew Harry would disapprove and he was not in the mood for a fight. Dudley might deserve anything Draco could dish out, but he was not worth the effort.
"Yes?" Draco tried again when the portly Muggle just stared at him.
"Are you and Harry...?" the pitiful excuse for a human being began, but seemed unable to finish his sentence.
Draco let the pause hang for a while until he became impatient.
"What?" he asked sharply. "Shagging; casting spells; leaving; feeling like baying at the moon?"
Dudley stood there for a moment with his mouth open.
"Together?" he finally finished.
It was not a question Draco ever expected a member of Harry's family to ask.
"Yes," he said in a put upon tone. "Why, did your parents try and pretend that we're just friends?"
Surprisingly Dudley nodded and the way the boy actually appeared to have a thought in his head intrigued Draco. However, when the Muggle did not appear to have anything else to say, he dismissed him from his mind and went about making himself and Harry sandwiches. Draco had never actually made a sandwich before he came to the Dursley's. He had eaten them of course, but they had always been made by house elves and, if asked, Draco would have had to admit that he'd never even considered how they were constructed. Hence Harry had described his creations as 'interesting', although his lover had not objected to Draco making any more. Draco started putting ingredients together almost as if he was making a potion and he totally forgot that Dudley was there.
"How did you know you were gay?" the question came as such a shock that the emotion actually made it to Draco's face before he could stop it.
He looked at Dudley in surprise, putting the knife down where he had just cut the second sandwich in two.
"Pardon?" he said eventually, wanting to make sure he had heard correctly.
"How did you know you were gay?" Dudley repeated quietly.
Draco had the sudden urge to laugh, but managed to sit on it when he realised it was a serious question.
"I didn't," the young wizard found himself answering truthfully.
Dudley looked confused.
"I have never bothered to consider the question," Draco clarified his statement. "If I want something I tend to just reach out and take it, which includes people. I snogged my first girl when I was eleven and my first boy when I was twelve: it didn't really bother me either way."
This honesty caused Dudley to just stand there with the word 'Oh' on his lips, but not actually saying anything. It finally occurred to Draco that the silence might never be broken if he left it to the Muggle.
"Why did you want to know?" he asked evenly. "Do you think you might be gay?"
Dudley shook his head vigorously and started blathering something about a friend, but Draco didn't believe him for a second. For a start he doubted Dudley had any friends he would care that much about.
"You don't lie very well," Draco said eventually when the stream of denials ran dry. "Muggle," he continued pointedly, "if this wasn't bothering you, you'd never have plucked up the courage to talk to me. Now that I am here and I have decided not to turn you into a toad, take the opportunity for what it is. Why do you think you might be gay?"
Draco was actually at a loss as to why he was allowing this conversation to continue; he could only assume Harry's bad habits were rubbing off on him. Dudley did not reply for sometime.
"There's this boy at college," the Muggle finally began, "and I sort of had a dream about him."
"And you think that might make you gay," Draco was stating a fact not asking a question, but Dudley nodded anyway. "Okay, when you," he almost went for the crudest expression he could find, but then decided that would be lowering himself to Dudley's level, "play with yourself, do you fantasise about girls, boys or both?"
Dudley was doing the staring thing again, but it looked as if he was actually thinking about his answer.
"Girls," he concluded eventually.
"Never boys?" Draco wanted to make absolutely sure that the slow-witted Muggle had not missed the point.
Dudley shook his head.
"Congratulations, you're straight," he said and picked up the sandwiches he had made. "The dream was just that; a dream, welcome to the truth about puberty, if a bit late. Now good night, please never speak to me again."
Without waiting for a response, Draco turned with his burden and walked back towards the stairs. Only when he had opened the door to Harry's room, gone in and closed it again did he speak.
"I think I'm scarred for life," he said and put the sandwiches down on the desk.
Harry looked up questioningly from where he was reading yet another book about Quidditch.
"Your cousin thought he might be gay," Draco explained with a grimace, "and I now have mental images I never imagined."
"Don't share," Harry said quickly and he was only half joking. "Dudley, gay? I wouldn't believe it unless I saw it."
Harry made a face.
"Oh hell," he said shortly, "I think I just found my own mental images."
The pair looked at each other with matching grimaces.
"Memory charm?" they both said at the same time.
The last day was quite a relief when it came round and Draco gladly packed his things back into his trunk. The rest had been good for Harry, but Draco had taken it upon himself to shield his lover from his family no matter what, and it hadn't been quite so much of a rest for him. It had only taken him a matter of hours to despise Harry's relatives and he would be very glad if he never saw them again.
Draco felt the spike of alarm first and then heard the crash from downstairs. Harry had gone down to say goodbye to the Muggles against his lover's wishes: his soul mate confused him sometimes, Harry still insisted on being polite. Something had happened downstairs and Draco knew who was going to get the blame before he heard Vernon Dursley's loud recriminations. He felt his face set in a grim expression and he walked towards the door, ready to go and extract Harry from whatever trouble the Muggles had created.
It was when Draco felt the surge of anxiety and confusion in his lover that he forgot anything about being civil.
[Draco, help!] Harry sounded desperate.
Without even thinking, Draco was out the door so fast that he almost pulled it off its hinges. He flew down the stairs and went over the bottom banister, jumping and bracing himself with one hand rather than making his way to the bottom. He raced through the kitchen door and came to a halt with his wand trained on Vernon Dursley, who had Harry pinned against the sideboard with a hand on each of his nephew's arms.
"Get away from him," Draco yelled across the room, unsure of how his wand had made it into his hand, but knowing that he would use it if necessary.
He could feel Harry trying to shut out the raging emotions coming from his uncle and he tried to lend his mental support, but his first priority was getting the slug away from his soul mate. The Muggle seemed far too gone in his rage to obey Draco's command and, although his wife gave a scream at seeing a wizard with wand in hand, the man did not move.
"Dissendium," Draco said forcefully, casting at the large man and the Muggles hand flew off Harry's arms, "Mobilicorpus," Draco followed up his first spell with a second and then swiped his wand viciously in the opposite direction from Harry.
His lover's uncle was yanked backwards as if on a rope and ended up crashing into the counter between the kitchen and the dining room. Draco covered the distance between himself and Harry in a heartbeat and put his arm around his soul mate as Harry tried to reassert his equilibrium after the rage Dursley had thrown at him. Draco let his mind connect with Harry's, but he did not take his eyes off the Muggles.
"You'll be expelled for that," the slug of a man yelled at the top of his voice, "I know how this works."
Draco turned his glare onto the Muggle and let his fury blaze in his features. When he was annoyed he could be scary, when he was completely furious he knew he was terrifying, and Draco watched as his anger had an effect on the raging Dursley.
"You worthless piece of detritus," he said, his voice cold and merciless, "you don't know anything."
If Draco hadn't needed to keep a steady grip on Harry he would have taken a step towards the centre of his wrath. He was so angry he wanted to do damage.
"I can do anything I need to, to defend Harry," he said icily, "he is my soul mate and I am his protector. No one hurts him, and that includes you."
"Underage wizards may not perform magic ..." the man did not seem to gather quite how angry Draco was and was obviously used to getting his own way.
"We're not underage and he's not a normal wizard you complete idiot," he exploded, so infuriated that he lost any control he had left, "didn't that much get through to you. You think Hogwarts normally condones its pupils sleeping together?"
The look in Dursley's eyes told Draco that that it was exactly what the Muggle had assumed, which did not improve the his mood.
"What Harry is has never existed before," Draco said, his voice returning to dangerously cold, "and he's the best chance my world and your world have of surviving the decade. The nephew you think is a worthless nobody is the greatest wizard we have and if we fall you can kiss your safe little existence goodbye."
He was ready to do something very nasty and Draco hadn't felt like that in a long time. He was almost shaking with rage when a waterfall of calm washed over him. It was so sudden and it took his breath away.
[They're not worth it, Love,] Harry's voice sounded in his mind and Draco turned to face his soul mate. [They will never understand, let it go.]
[How can you not hate them?] Draco asked, unable to reason how his lover could put up with his relatives.
[I don't care enough about them anymore to hate,] Harry said calmly.
The Hecetamus' shock was gone and his shields were firmly in place: he looked and felt serene and Draco did not know where his soul mate found the inner strength.
[You,] Harry said silently to his unasked question, [my strength is you.]
"We're leaving," Harry said evenly and looked at his uncle, "I doubt you'll ever see us again."
Draco glared at the now silent Muggle and then Harry steered him out the door. They finished packing and left the house in less than ten minutes.
End of Chapter 30
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