Dream-Pedlary

BY : Lomonaaeren
Category: Harry Potter > Slash - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 1712
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. I am making no money from this story.

Title: Dream-Pedlary
Disclaimer: J. K. Rowling and associates own these characters. I am writing this story for fun and not profit.
Pairings: Harry/Lucius, Harry/Severus
Content Notes: Angst, jealousy, love triangle, AU in that Severus survives
Wordcount: This part 3000
Rating: R
Summary: Harry is being courted by both Lucius and Severus. Their courtships are dazzling, stunning, splendid. But in the end, he can choose only one.
Author’s Notes: This is another of my Advent fics, written for robinellen, who gave me the prompt: Lucius and Severus competing for Harry in some way. Your call on who gets him. The title comes from Thomas Lovell Beddoes’s poem “Dream-Pedlary”: “If there were dreams to sell,/ What would you buy?/ Some cost a passing bell;/ Some a light sigh…”

Dream-Pedlary

Harry still wasn’t sure exactly why it had begun. He did know that Lucius and Severus were both attractive to him, for their intelligence, their ferocity, and, yes, their looks. But he would never have thought of approaching them. Lucius was married. Severus hated him.

And yet, there were letters one day, each with a gift. Severus included a variety of lily that he said had been his mother’s favorite. Lucius sent a letter with a copy of his divorce decree, simply explaining that he was divorcing Narcissa, and that it was a mutually-agreed-upon decision. They loved each other but could no longer live together.

Lucius wanted someone different. Severus wanted to heal the past.

Harry had answered not expecting much, honestly. He’d liked the thought of them. He might not like the reality, he’d realized. He’d explained what he would need from them, and that someone else wanted to court him, and that he would like to see where it went, even entertain both of their courtships at the same time.

And they had agreed. Sometimes, Harry still thought that was the most amazing part, far more amazing than gifts or two men who had once been on the opposite side of the war reaching out to him.

*

Harry smiled a little as he came out of the Apparition and looked around the valley where Lucius had brought them. The mountains on either side gleamed fiercely green and white, marked with forests on their lower slopes, glaciers near the top. Harry drew in a breath and it was wild air, scented perhaps with early spring flowers coming through the snow.

“Why did we come here?” he asked. Lucius never traveled with him simply to show him beautiful sights. There was always something they did in those places. Riding sea serpents in Greece, soaring on dragonback in the Carpathians, watching a volcano erupt in Italy…

“You’ll see,” said Lucius, his eyes bright with passion, and he wrapped his own white cloak around Harry’s shoulders and pulled him forwards. Harry laughed and walked down the path, which was bordered with bluebells.

They ended up in the middle of an exquisite grove of white trees. Harry couldn’t identify the trees, but as he watched their tossing silver-green, newborn leaves, and their trunks flaming in the sunlight, he thought perhaps he didn’t need to.

“Why are we here?” Harry murmured, watching the pale cloud of his breath lift up in front of his mouth.

“Watch this.” Lucius drew his wand and pulled Harry close to him, nestled against his side. Harry obediently watched as Lucius studied the trees, then aimed his wand straight between the crooks of two of them and gestured sharply with it.

In a second, another pale cloud rose up, but not from Lucius’s breath. Instead, it formed into a glittering vision that took Harry’s breath away.

It was obviously still in these mountains, but looking at just one of them, straight ahead from a ledge nestled on the flank of one. He and Lucius seemed to be standing on stones with a carpet of moss growing over them, and small grass, and more bluebells, and trembling flowers that Harry thought might be snowdrops. He leaned forwards, trying to see, and the end of the vision formed, so that Harry could see the “wall” where the visionary ledge met the imagined mountain.

There was a cottage there, made of the same white wood as the grove. Harry could see windows framed in a different kind of wood, honey-blond, and through an open one with billowing red curtains, a bed where he lay next to Lucius. The sheets were puddled lazily around their waists, and they were both at least half-naked. Harry watched avidly as the dream-Lucius slid his hand down Harry’s back and then over his chest.

Then he kissed him, and bore him down on the bed, and reached down and ripped the sheet away, and reached for lubrication. The Harry in the vision laughed and spread his legs for him as though he was used to doing this all the time.

Then the vision abruptly wisped and blew away. Harry licked his lips, trying not to mourn the loss too much, and glanced at the real Lucius that stood next to him—the real Lucius with a real expression of yearning.

“What was that?”

“A vision of the future that could be,” Lucius whispered, and leaned against him. “I wasn’t sure it would work. It needs three things. First, both people have to be in a place they could live. Second, they need to have desires that are complementary.”

“And third?” Harry found his voice becoming lower even though he had no reason to sound that way.

Lucius looked at him with a faint smile and traced his fingers over Harry’s face. “It has to be the product of true love on the part of the person casting the spell.”

After a moment, Harry bowed his head. Lucius’s fingers continued tracing over his hairline now, with reverence, making Harry shiver. He swallowed.

“I’ll be looking up that spell,” he said, voice unsteady. “Just to verify that it is what you said it was.”

“I would expect nothing less,” Lucius said, and kissed Harry’s hand. “It’s called the Dream-Pedlary Charm. Come, I’ll take you home—to what’s your home for the present, I should say.”

Harry had to look away from the sheer gleam in Lucius’s eyes.

*

“You are late.”

Harry snorted as he dropped into the seat across from Severus, after a glance at the clock. “No, I’m not. If you wanted dinner to start at six instead of seven, you should have told me.”

“I was with a potion at the time.”

Severus’s eyes were challenging. Harry picked up a glass of the wine that sat next to his plate and drained it, the way Severus would expect him to, never looking away from the second of the men competing for his heart. Severus had been unexpected, but perhaps not more so than Lucius. It was his way of courting that made Harry have to check his balance and his heart regularly.

For example, this glass of wine. Harry could tell even as he swallowed it that it was thicker and sweeter than it should be. Severus had mingled one of his brews with it. He was always telling Harry to trust him, that nothing he gave him would harm Harry in any way. And now Harry had proven that trust.

“What’s going to happen?”

“Eat your dinner first.”

Harry obediently began to eat the steak Severus had cooked, and although the meat was soft and delicious, he looked more at Severus than his meal. The room they were in was part of Severus’s neat, modest house—well, modest except for the potions lab—in Ottery St. Catchpole. Harry thought he had chosen the village because he had absolutely no memories connected to it.

Looking at Severus paid off. Harry blinked as he watched a trace of mist creep across Severus’s face, and put his fork down.

“Keep eating.” Severus’s voice seemed to echo in any of several directions. Harry swallowed a little more wine, stopping himself from drinking more at a warning move of Severus’s hand, and finished the steak.

He had just started on the potato when his vision clouded over completely. Harry put his fork down for good. It was like having a silvery blindfold wrapped over his eyes. A gauzy one, so Harry could make out Severus’s shape when he stood up from his side of the table and came over to Harry’s, but not enough to let him see features or details.

“Shhh,” Severus said, when he touched Harry’s shoulder and Harry started involuntarily. “I wanted to do this.” He slid Harry’s chair out and helped him stand. A few shifts, and Severus had him gently by the arm. “Come. I will not let you trip.”

And he didn’t, either. Severus guided Harry over what Harry knew was a rough set of small steps from the dining room to the ground floor without a stumble, and into his potions lab without a stubbed toe, despite the way that the flagstones stuck up from the floor of the lab. Harry leaned against the solid bulk of his lover’s shoulder and watched the shadows drift past them until they arrived in a chair. Severus pressed him gently down. Harry didn’t mind. It was a lot more comfortable than the wooden-backed chairs that Severus usually had him sit in when he visited.

“In a few minutes, the potion will wear off completely.”

Harry nodded, and started counting seconds in his head as he watched Severus’s form lean against a table next to him. Not one hundred seconds later, the gauzy silver mask dissolved, and Harry blinked and looked around. The tables looked clear of any new draughts or experiments. “Did you want to show me something?”

Severus nodded back the way they’d come. Harry turned to look, and stared. The floor of the lab, and what he could see of the drawing room through the open door, was absolutely covered in knives, delicate glass stirring rods, edged tools that were probably meant for crushing stubborn ingredients, and caltrops that Severus must have conjured with the aid of a spell.

“I guided you through all that,” Severus whispered. “Because of me, you were never in danger. Can you not trust me?”

Harry stood up and leaned in to kiss Severus. Severus held him back with a hand in the center of his chest, and Harry nodded. “I reckon I can.”

Severus smiled in triumph, and pulled him in.

*

“A brick.”

Lucius smiled at him across the table.

“You brought me a brick.”

Lucius smiled wider.

Harry picked up the brick and turned it around in his hands, shaking his head. No matter how much he looked at it—and even when he cast Detection Charms on it—it remained a normal, lowly brick. It was rough, and red, and looked as though it might have sat outside for any number of years.

Harry finally set it back on the floor and looked at Lucius. They were dining in Harry’s modest flat instead of Malfoy Manor. There was probably some devious, cunning reason behind the gift, but Harry was too tired to figure out what that reason was right now. “So what? Why bring me this?”

Lucius bent down and removed something from the glittering leather bag sitting on the floor, the same bag that he’d brought the brick in. When he tapped his wand against it, it shuddered and grew in size. Lucius carefully turned the Pensieve and placed it in the middle of the table.

Harry found himself growing a little uncomfortable. This was the finest Pensieve he’d ever seen, made of a cloudy blue stone that he supposed might be turquoise. It looked so out-of-place in his little dining room that it was almost ludicrous.

Harry licked his lips and managed to clear his throat. “Yeah? So what? W—what do you want me to actually do with it?”

“There is a memory inside it,” Lucius said. “Hold the brick while you view it. It will provide you with more understanding.”

“You’re not coming with me?”

“It’s one of my own memories. I know what it was like to live through it.”

Harry wanted to glare at him. Lucius never passed up a chance to follow Harry about and annoy him. But in the end, he nodded and bent down to pick up the brick, turning it around in his hands.

It made him feel a little better. Sure, Lucius had brought this fine, glittering Pensieve along, but he could also bear to touch that ordinary brick and even make Harry a gift of it. Harry would remind himself of that when it came time to suffer a bout of insecurity over what in the world Lucius was doing with him.

He plunged his head into the Pensieve.

For a moment, the water—the memory—shifted around him, so heavy that Harry wondered if it would stay as a fog like this, or part and show him the actual memory. Then it cleared, and Harry was standing in the center of a garden that he recognized at once as belonging to Malfoy Manor. Not because he’d ever actually been there, but because of course the stately, tall blue and white flowers and marble walls around it couldn’t belong anywhere else.

But the corner that he turned and faced a second later looked as if it had escaped the attention of the house-elves. There were nodding green weeds growing everywhere, and small wildflowers that Harry suspected wouldn’t have been allowed in the Manors’ trimmed gardens most of the time. And there was a young Lucius building himself a house of weathered bricks in a tiny clearing he’d trampled flat among the weeds.

Harry stared. He’d never see any photos of Lucius as a child, and he’d always thought he would look exactly like Draco. But he didn’t. Lucius’s face was less pointy and more determined. And his eyes gleamed as he wrestled the bricks into place. Harry would know him anywhere.

Lucius piled the final brick on the walls, and stepped back and nodded in satisfaction. The roof of the little house was made of wooden planks. There was an open, arched door that looked to Harry rather like the doorway of a chapel. It was absolutely astonishing that a child—maybe eight or nine years old—could make something like that.

More astonishing still that Lucius would want to build anything like that, but Harry set aside that particular piece of shock to see what Lucius would do.

In fact, he laid himself down flat on the dirt and squirmed through the arched doorway into the house. Then he turned around inside, set his back against the brick wall, and closed his eyes.

The memory ended there, and Harry found himself sitting at the table next to the Pensieve and across from Lucius again, still holding the brick. Harry looked up and held Lucius’s eyes, and knew at once that this was one of the times the ridiculous man wouldn’t tell him the truth. He would want Harry to figure it out himself.

“You—you built a house of bricks to give yourself space and privacy,” Harry whispered. For once, the answer was utterly clear to him, as clear as the memory had been once the first fog lifted. “And you want to share that with me.”

“Yes. The brick is from what’s left of the house. Not much now.” Lucius put down his wineglass and leaned across the table, extending one hand. “But past and future, Harry, everything I have is yours.”

Harry stood up and came around the table to meet him halfway.

*

“There. You brewed that yourself.”

Harry eyed the smoking potion in the cauldron cautiously. He didn’t want to anger Severus by saying that he didn’t think it was true. He had chopped the ingredients himself, true, but whenever he had turned away to work on different ones, he would come back to find things subtly rearranged. The mortar and pestle had traces of blood-red fragments on them that he had never crushed, for example. Harry wanted to shake his head, but he kept still. Severus would be angry if Harry denied his words.

“You did it.” Severus’s voice was soft as he reached past Harry’s shoulder and dipped a cup into the potion, scooping up the clear liquid. “A perfect Veritaserum batch.” He gave the shadow of a smile he often did when he and Harry were alone as he moved back and stood facing Harry. “And to prove it, I’ll drink it, and you can ask me any question you want.”

Harry’s heart rebounded in his ears as he watched Severus take a minute sip of the potion. His face went slack a second later, and Harry leaped to catch the goblet as it almost fell. He set the cup on a nearby table, staring apprehensively. Severus was looking past his shoulder, straight ahead through the window of his potions lab.

There was only one question Harry wanted to know the answer to.

“Did you prepare most of this potion yourself, instead of me?”

“Yes, I did. Your ingredients were not finely-chopped enough.”

Harry swallowed. It was important to Severus that Harry acquire skill in Potions, although Harry honestly didn’t know why; it wasn’t as though Harry needed to brew potions for a living. He did respect Severus’s craft. He just didn’t need to share it.

Well, right now he had Severus in front of him, and bound to be honest.

“Why do you want me to master Potions so badly?”

“It would show that you are different from the boy I taught. I don’t want the boy I taught. I want Harry Potter, the man who has a much different personality and a stronger one, and has only really come to life since the war.”

Harry cocked his eyebrow in thoughtful silence. Well, that was a better answer than he’d thought. But he still reached for the antidote that Severus had carefully prepared and set aside before they began trying to brew the potion at all.

Harry still wanted a different kind of honesty.



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