Glimpsing the Artificial Life

The air was thick. So thick it bordered on cliché. But that was what this kind of place was—a cliché. And, what was more cliché than a cliché sprung purely from banal artifice? Full of artificial lights, artificial backbeats and artificial blondes who thwamped and grinded to the unoriginal bass, the place was full of predictable sadsaps desperate to lose themselves and their clichéd existences for just a moment, for just a taste of something else. Someone else. God, Harry hated it here.

He'd been stuck here on assignment for over a month. The "wonder," if one could call it that, of the place had been lost within minutes of stepping in. The Lair, it was called. Please. How pathetically unoriginal. He hated the music (if one could call that noise music). He hated the décor (if black lights and waitresses wandering around like the undead could be considered décor). He hated the drinks (no alcohol while on duty, thank you very much). But mostly, he hated that he was stuck here night after night, pretending to be one of these sadsaps looking for something else, while he waited for his man to make his move.

Not surprisingly, Harry was, once again, being used as bait. How predictable. How fucking bloody predictable. One would have thought that killing a Dark Lord would grant one status as a warrior to be reckoned with. But no, Harry had never lost his impish gait, or impish. Slender and willowy, he looked more like a defenseless rent boy than a warrior. That's what they were counting on. He fit the victims' "type"—young men, boys really, dancing the night away identically clad in skin-tight black leather pants, mesh shirts, silver nipple rings, a hint of kohl around the eye. They were pretty boys who wiggled and writhed hoping desperately to catch the attention of a few of the more… discerning clientele of this god-forsaken place. They danced and clung to the idea that a night of artificial passion could transform them into something else. Someone else. God, it was so cliché. They couldn't even be original in who they wanted to be in their fantasy lives. Harry was actually looking forward to being the object of his man's insanity—it meant he could start wearing underwear again. God how he missed underwear. These leather pants were killing him.

So, night after predictable night, he danced, he drank and pretended to lust, to desire. There was no heat behind his "bump and grind No. 2" and his "suggestive gaze no. 3." Harry was rather cold to the whole thing. Not that anyone minded, at least Harry didn't think so. They saw a pretty boy dressed the way pretty boys in this place dressed. They saw a pretty boy who moved they way pretty boys ought to move. That was enough for most of them—the empty promise of a fantasy was always enough for the truly desperate. Pathetic losers, the lot of them.

So, in between casual nips of artificial passion, he watched, he assessed, he calculated. But, his man hadn't taken a bite… not even a nibble. Harry was frustrated. He knew if he wasn't almost killed soon, they would send reinforcements. Knowing who they would send caused Harry to shiver every time he thought about it. Malfoy. How he'd gotten stuck partnering with that sick fuck on some of their more "memorable" missions, Harry would never know. But, for some reason, despite their mutual loathing and their general mistrust of each other, they worked remarkably well together. Even when they'd been at each other's throats, there had always been electricity there that neither of them could deny. So, they begrudgingly put away schoolboy rivalries and formed a tenuous truce. A tenuous trust. Necessity truly made for strange bedfellows.

Harry wasn't ready for Draco. Not yet. He was so close. He could feel it. He felt eyes on him every now and again, but could never find them, even after scanning the periphery of the room—probing the shadows. Of course, he occasionally caught a glimpse of their inside man. Snape. If there ever was a man made for the life of a spy, of a shadow, it was Snape. Cold, bitter and unflinchingly loyal, he was perfect for this kind of work. Better still, his general moodiness, sour temperament and sallow skin worked particularly well in this place. Harry was vaguely aware that he'd secured a position as a floor manager of some sort—they'd long suspected that the disappearing boys had been hand-selected with inside assistance. He hadn't had any real contact with Snape, though. Just a few shared glances and his appearance in a few of Harry's hotter fantasies.

The fantasies had come more frequently as of late. He had to do think of something to avoid going numb with boredom. Harry had expected this to be a fairly short assignment. After all, most of the boys who went missing had only been spotted at the club for the first a couple of weeks before their disappearance. But so far, the worst thing he'd had to fend off was a grabby drunk who'd mistakenly thought Harry leaving the dance floor for a piss was code for "let's have a quick non-con fuck in the bathroom." The man hadn't returned after that night. After Harry had "persuaded" him that he'd gotten the wrong idea. So, to ease the boredom, he'd taken to pretending that Snape was watching his every move. It would be just like that pathetic voyeuristic letch to get off on Harry's autoerotic machinations. Harry took perverse pleasure in putting on a teasingly suggestive show for Snape, pretending that the inside man was watching with baited breath and a weeping cock. That was the only time Harry felt alive in this cold, lifeless pathetic hellhole. He'd close his eyes, think about Snape… and sometimes Draco… and pretend as he lost himself in the music.

Ironically, it was when Harry was thinking about Snape that Harry's man would watch him with lusty avarice, poised to leap from his shadowed corner and claim his dark-haired prize. It was the only time that Harry's man thought that the boy seemed alive. Life simply dripped from him in those few moments and Harry's man wanted each and every desperate drop. He found Harry absolutely intoxicating. He'd watched him for so long. So much longer than the others. Harry was special. He was darker. He was richer. He was a fighter—the incident in the bathroom proved that much. Harry's man waited with baited breath and weeping cock for the moment when Harry would finally gave in to his desperation, to the need that lurked everpresent beneath his artificial façade. He dreamt of the moment when he would whisk him away some place safe so that could drain the life from Harry slowly, languorously, indolently. The boy would beg him for it, would be desperate for the kind of pleasure and pain that only he could give. Only he could grant the kind of absolution that would take away Harry's sins.

Harry's man turned to leave when a bright blonde head caught his eye. It wasn't the hair that caught his eye. No. It was the predatory gleam in his eye, fixed firmly on his prize. The man clamped down the fierce possessiveness roiling through him. It would not do to lose control. Not now. Not when he was so close to claiming his prize. The blonde was no threat, Harry's man knew. He could tell that he lacked the subtle cruelty that his dark-haired prize craved. No, there was no threat. But, he would watch to be sure.

Draco smirked as he strode across the floor to Harry. Growing frustrated at the lack of Harry's progress on this case, they'd sent in the reinforcements. Draco knew that Harry was dreading this. Of course, Draco wasn't entirely sure what it was he was supposed to be doing. But, as he watched Harry dance, or writhe and arch like a bitch in heat more aptly, he decided the first thing he wanted to do was have a little fun. He made his way over to Harry, slipped in behind him and purred in his ear.

"Guess who?"

Startled, Harry opened his eyes. Turning slightly, he caught sight of the silver blonde hair and grey eyes and snorted in protest.

"Great. Just bloody great," he grumbled to himself as he moved closer to the blonde, keeping up the façade a little longer.

"Come on then, let's get a drink and get this sorted out," he said in Draco's ear before tugging him from the dance floor.

After two drinks, Harry and Draco had run out of ideas about what was going wrong and how best to use Draco.

"I just don't understand it," Harry growled.

Draco eyed Harry suggestively and licked his lips.

"Well, you're certainly hot enough, so it can't be that."

"Don't be such a bloody prat," Harry grumbled.

"My, my what ever has happened to your sweet disposition?"

"It went south the minute I had to start wearing these ruddy pants. God, I can't wait to start wearing my own clothes again."

Draco wrinkled his nose in disgust.

"You mean that baggy jeans/flannel shirt train wreck you call a wardrobe?? No thank you," Draco scoffed.

Harry pursed his lips but let it go. He looked at his watch. Biting the inside of his mouth, Harry had a sudden thought. He leaned in and whispered into Draco's ear.

"This is the time I usually leave. Let's dance and then leave together. I've not done that with anyone. Maybe that will be enough to draw out my man."

Harry leaned back, licked his lips and gave a wry smile, hoping he'd put on enough of a show for who ever was watching.

Draco smirked and leaned in close as well.

"Why, if I didn't know any better, I'd say you were coming on to me Potter?"

Harry rolled his eyes and mouthed "It's for the mission."

Draco smiled. He lifted his hand and let his fingers trail down Harry's face, lightly, reverently. Harry closed his eyes and trembled involuntarily. He'd forgotten this part. He'd forgotten the effect Malfoy had on him. The electricity of his touch. To be fair, Draco, was just as affected.

"Come on then, let's dance. Besides, I can think of someone who might enjoy the show," Draco said seductively.

Harry's lips quirked up teasingly.

"Hmm, that could be rather enjoyable."

Hand in hand, they made it the dance floor, each quickly slipping into their assigned roles. Harry never knew if it was by choice or by habit, but always let Draco take the lead. As much as he loathed him, he took his breath away. Harry could imagine no greater vision of sin and debauchery than a night with Draco Malfoy and Severus Snape in his bed. On colder nights, more desperate ones, he and Draco had realized that they harbored similar fantasies but for very good reasons, had never acted on them. Instead, they skirted and teased like they were doing now as the circled each other on the dance floor, both breathing hard and not from the dancing. A few minutes later Draco leaned down, his breath ghosting across Harry's ear in the most delicious manner possible.

"He's watching us, I can see him. What say we give the old man a good show?"

Harry grinned.

"I can't think of anything better."

Draco and Harry gravitated towards each other, eyes locked, bodies beginning to synchronize. It was far too easy for Harry to get lost in Draco. But, he wanted it. He wanted to be lost in something, in someone so desperately. He wondered, idly, if this was what all of those sadsaps came looking for. What they wanted. It was certainly fantasy. But for the first time, Harry didn't care. Soon they were moving in tandem. Draco was behind Harry and bent slightly at the knee as he rolled his hips and ground them into Harry's backside. Harry danced with wild abandon, his eyes closed and his mouth shaped into a perfect wanton little "O." He imagined the dark hooded eyes of his inside man on him, not realizing that his man looked on with just as much lust. Draco pulled him closer and pinched and rolled one of Harry's nipples between his fingers whiling trailing small sizzling kisses down his neck. Harry was lost. Beautifully lost in the heat of the moment. Lost in the heat of desperate need for Draco. He hated that he wanted this. That he needed this. And for a moment, for a brief shining moment, Harry was something else. Someone else. They were something else. They weren't reluctant comrades putting on a show for an old lecherous professor. They were beautiful people attracted to each other's beauty. They were strangers without baggage. They were lovers without attachment. They were boys masquerading as men; men masquerading as boys. They were gods—gods of light and dark, twisting, turning, transforming into one blinding amalgamation of desire. They were perfect. Everyone knew it. Everyone saw it. Everyone wanted it. Wanted them.

And, as Draco pulled Harry to him closer still, his arm curling possessively over his chest while his fingers brushed teasingly against his sensitive nipples again; as he nudged Harry's head to the side, exposing a long, slender column of creamy flesh—exposing the very cradle of life; as he licked his long pink tongue across Harry's neck over, and over, and over, and over again in time to the driving, thumping primal beat, causing every person within a square mile to shiver from the electricity of it; as he looked up and locked grey eyes with black and sunk his teeth to bite—hard (a significance of the gesture not lost on either Snape or Harry's man); as he felt Harry moan, arch his back and fall into him; as he watched the black eyes sparkle with dangerous mirth and fix on the helpless little faux rent boy writhing in skin-tight black leather pants and losing himself to the euphoric pain with which his blonde haired captor graced him, none of them noticed Harry's man watching them. Watching the show. The one meant for him. Watching for the desperation that he craved so very much. And then, his dark-haired prize opened his eyes and Harry's man's cock twitched violently. There! The desperation was there. Finally. His prize had given in. The blonde had finally broken him.

Harry's man smiled a cruel smile. They were all so fucking predictable. Every single one of them. Not an original one in the lot. Wiggling their asses and arching in pleasure while surrendering control to some pathetic loser who could give them nothing more than the illusion of fulfillment. Harry's man's hand traveled to his cock, reassuring it that soon they would have their prize. Harry's man would give him so much more than the blonde could even dream of. He would plunder, spoil and lay to waste his dark-haired prize and the boy would beg him to. The blonde had seen to that. Harry's man watched as the blonde stepped away and smirked as his dark-haired prize stumbled from the loss of support. The blonde mouthed something and looked across the room. His prize narrowed his gaze and shrugged a shoulder as he turned, closed his eyes, and started dancing again. It was time. Time to claim his prize.


A/N: This is a moment from the multi-chaptered fic Artificial Life


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