Draco Malfoy/Harry Potter
Draco Malfoy Harry Potter
Slash Angst
Multiple Eras
Philosopher's Stone Chamber of Secrets Prizoner of Azkaban Goblet of Fire Quidditch Through the Ages Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Published: 03/18/2003
Updated: 08/21/2003
Words: 70,367
Chapters: 11
Hits: 277,324

Beautiful World


Story Summary:
Draco is afraid of living and Harry is afraid of dying, but sometimes the choice isn't offered. Draco's got to learn what it is to really live, while showing Harry how beautiful the world really is when you're not too scared to see it.

Chapter 07

Chapter Summary:
Draco is afraid of living and Harry is afraid of dying, but sometimes the choice isn't offered. Draco's got to learn what it is to really live, while showing Harry how beautiful the world really is when you're not too scared to see it.

Beautiful World

Chapter Seven

'Good afternoon, Harry.'

He nodded a bit, feeling nervous. 'I was told you wanted to see me, headmaster?'

'I did. I understand today is your second session with Sirius?' Dumbledore smiled at him and motioned for him to be seated.

Dropping into a chair, Harry said, 'Yes. Actually, he's probably waiting for me now...' he trailed off hopefully.

'I told him you would be a little late today, don't worry.' Dumbledore studied Harry for a moment and then said, 'I called you here because I wished to discuss something with you. Do you know why you've got that scar on your forehead?'

'Voldemort tried to kill me,' Harry said, frowning. He didn't know if he could handle another one of Dumbledore's discussions and could only wonder what confession he was about to hear this time.

'Yes, but the scar was because you started to die. That's how we know your mother's spell wasn't complete. You started to die, just a little bit, and ...'

'I started to die? Part of me died?' Harry cried.

'Not enough of you to matter, Harry, just enough to give you the scar. Then your mother, who was already dead, used her last thought before she drifted off to the Other World to enact the spell.'

'The half spell,' Harry corrected. 'She didn't do it right.'

'Had she not cast the spell at all, you wouldn't be here even now.' It was the closest Dumbledore had ever come to being abrupt with him, and Harry was stunned. 'I understand that you're scared and I understand that this is hard to accept, but we are doing the best we can, Harry. As did your mother. If it weren't for her, you would have died a baby. Sixteen years is surely better than only one.' His voice was gentler now. 'It does no honour to your mother's memory, to dwell on what she was unable to give you rather than being thankful for what she did give you.'

'I'm going to die in a month and you want me to be thankful?'

'I want you to be thankful that because of your mother, you have lived for nearly sixteen years. Do not give up hope, Harry, because even your mother, as she died, still had it. You owe her that much at least.'

His eyes were stinging and Harry felt the juvenile need to lash out at something, anything, because he was feeling powerless, and underneath it all, suddenly guilty. 'What is this?' he said spitefully. 'Last week's session with Sirius didn't go well enough so you thought this week you'd call me in here first to loosen me up a bit so I'd talk? So I'd cry? Do you want me to cry? Maybe this whole thing is just some stupid... stupid...' His voice cracked, but he was not going to cry. 'Stupid game to make me cry.'

'I don't play games that make people cry,' Dumbledore said very quietly. 'I'm just trying to make you understand.'

'Understand what?'

'That you've been given a gift. A very valuable gift.'

'And now it's being taken away,' Harry said, sounding sulky even to his own ears.

Dumbledore just watched him solemnly until Harry felt very small. He squirmed and said quietly, 'I'd like to go see Sirius now.' He swallowed heavily and felt like he was bleeding and just couldn't tell from where.

'Of course. He's waiting for you in his room.'

He nodded and walked blindly from the office, feet taking him instinctively to Sirius' room. Knocking, he waited a second and then walked in, sitting woodenly in an armchair. Sirius, who'd been sitting in the other chair reading a book, looked up at him and smiled a bit.

'I didn't know how long you'd be in with Dumbledore,' he said.

Harry wasn't quite listening. He was breathing quickly, short little bursts of panicky air, and his eyes flicked around the room nervously, as if he were afraid to rest them in any one place too long because if they weren't moving, they'd be welling up with tears. 'I,' he whimpered, and that one syllable burned. He gave up on the rest of the sentence, didn't really know what he'd been trying to say anyway.

Setting his book aside, Sirius studied Harry's face for a long moment and then said, 'I brought you something. I wasn't sure if you wanted it last week, so I saved it. Here, let me get it.'

He got up and went over to a large trunk, rummaging through it for a moment and then returning to his chair with a book, handing that book to Harry. The cover was unremarkable, just plain, cracked leather, and for a long time, Harry just stared at it, stroking his fingers along the spine. 'What is it?'

'It was a birthday gift. From Remus, James and... and Peter.'

Peter's name nearly made Harry long to drop the book with a hiss, but his father's kept him holding on. His fingers closed over the spine and he hugged it a little closer to his chest.

'Open it,' Sirius prompted gently. He came and stood behind the chair, so he could see over Harry's shoulder. 'When I went to Azkaban, that night, Remus went to my house and took all my things, to keep them safe for me. He thought I'd betrayed them all, but I guess he just didn't want... didn't want my things taken and sold. He gave this back to me just before I came here.'

Harry didn't open the book so much as let go and it spilled open on his lap. It was a photo album, so many moving pictures crammed onto the pages that it nearly made him dizzy. Fingers trembling, he flipped to beginning.

Hagrid had given him an album, of course, at the end of his first year, but this was different. This was made by his father, for his father's friend. It contained pictures he’d never seen before.

There was his father, slowly growing up from picture to picture. Eleven, then suddenly fourteen, fifteen, seventeen, and then an adult, and then nothing. And Lily, a pretty girl with a huge grin. She came into the book when she looked about sixteen, and only lasted the last few pages. Sirius, Remus, and Peter, all smiling, shoving each other, smirking. Looking up from books and chess games, rolling their eyes as if they were too busy for the picture but someone had insisted. There weren't any pictures of the four of them together until they were sixteen and Lily had arrived to take them. Before that, one of them was always taking the picture.

The last picture was of his parents sitting together on a couch, smiling at each other and ignoring the camera, and Sirius was in the far right of the frame, grinning.

'That was the day she found out she was pregnant,' Sirius said softly, and Harry tensed. So he was in that picture, sort of. He studied his mother but could find no sign of his presence.

As he watched, his father reached up and smoothed a lock of his mother's hair out of her face. They were both beaming, glowing. Because of him.

It was too much and Harry slammed the book shut, though he pulled it to his chest and hugged it.

'Thank you.' It was more because he was expected to say it than that he was particularly thankful. He didn't know if he could deal with this, this evidence that his formerly almost faceless, bodiless parents, particularly his mother, so easy to blame for all of his current troubles, had glowed because of him.

'You should have seen James the night you were born,' Sirius said, still behind him, looking over his shoulder at the worn leather. Harry flinched; he didn't want pictures, he didn't want stories, he wanted someone to direct his anger at. But Sirius didn't care, and kept talking. Story after story, like they'd been waiting inside his brain, all these stories with all these details, just waiting to spill out of his mouth like diamonds.

Harry wondered with a vague sort of panic if it was stories like this that had kept Sirius sane in Azkaban.

Finally, the sun had set and Sirius seemed finished. Harry stood up; he could barely see straight, barely move, and clutched the album to his chest. 'Homework,' he lied, before lurching from the room.

He made it halfway back to Gryffindor tower before his legs gave out and Harry sunk to the floor, the book slipping from his fingers and landing with a thump. He buried his face in his arms, folded over his bent knees, and he cried.

All the while he cried, loud, harsh sobs, he waited and waited for Draco to show up and save him, but he didn't.

Sometimes you've got to save yourself, he decided, getting to his feet. And sometimes you've just got to go in search of someone to pick your pieces up for you.

The thing about falling apart is that picking your pieces back up and building yourself up exactly as you had been before rather wastes the opportunity to put them back differently, to sculpt yourself into something new and more complicated, stronger, so that you never fell apart again. Or, if you did, you wouldn't fall quite so far.


Studying with Harry had resulted in more studying of Harry, so Draco spent most of his evenings studying alone in the library. Harry had never bothered showing up before, and quite understandably, as he intended to fail his exams, so Draco was rather startled when the other boy wandered in, looking like his entire world was falling down around him. His face was white, his eyes huge and glazed, and he was holding a giant book.

'Oh, please,' Draco sighed. 'Don't let it be another book about death.'

Harry made his way over to the table and fell heavily into the chair across from him, dropping the book like a stone. 'Hi.'

'Hello,' Draco replied cautiously. 'What are you doing here?'

'I was talking to Sirius.'

Draco nodded slowly, still trying to figure out exactly what had happened to put that stunned, bruised look in Harry's eyes. 'About what?'

'My mum and my dad.'

'What about them?'

'How much they... how much they l-loved me.'

He frowned a bit, confused and feeling a little helpless. How could he help if he couldn’t even understand? 'Do you miss them?'

'How do you miss someone you never knew?'

'I don't know. What's that book?'

Harry slid it towards him and flipped it over to the last page. 'Pictures,' he said. 'That one there, that was the day they found out about me. See? Look at her, she's beaming.'

'You look just like your father,' Draco said, studying the picture. He flipped a few pages back, watching as James got younger and younger, until he looked to be fifteen. They looked nearly identical, except that James had a huge, crooked grin, and Harry's eyes looked older.

Harry made a strange choking noise and Draco’s head snapped up. The other boy was trying desperately not to cry.

Slamming the book shut, Draco stood up quickly and tugged Harry to his feet. 'C'mon,' he said abruptly, pulling him from the library.

In a tiny voice, Harry asked, 'Where are we going?'

'Well, I've noticed you generally like to go to the lake when you're upset.'

'You're taking me down to the lake?'



Draco led him out the doors and into the dark night, over the grounds, and onto the pier. Then he pulled his robes off, and his shirt, and his trousers. 'C'mon. We're going swimming.'

Looking relieved and mildly amused, Harry said, 'But Draco, you do know there's a giant squid in there.' His eyes were still shadowed and bruised.

'Fuck the squid, I dare it to even try to fuck around with me today,' Draco said. 'Take your clothes off.' And then, teasingly, 'It's not like I haven't seen you naked before.'

Shooting him a strange glance that instantly made Draco’s skin tighten and his stomach clench with nervousness, Harry started doing just that, and soon had left all of his clothes and his glasses behind, running and leaping off the edge of the pier. Draco saw a quick flash of moonlight hitting naked skin, and then Harry was gone. He took a deep breath and pulled his boxers off before slipping into the water, which was cold silk against his skin.

Harry was floating on his back in the middle of the lake, staring up at the sky, and Draco swam over to him, flicking his dripping hair out of his eyes. He touched Harry's chest, mostly because he couldn't help himself from wanting to trace his fingers through the beads of water there, and Harry turned his head and smiled a bit, shifting so that he was treading water like Draco was.

'Thank you,' he said, aching sadness so deep and complete that Draco's first instinct was to pull away, in case a darkness like that was contagious.

Harry's eyes slowly closed and he let his head tilt back and his arms spread wide. 'I'm so tired,' he whispered.

Grabbing his arm, Draco studied the cuts there, but they were all old, and he let Harry go, relieved. 'Sleep, then.'

'It's not that sort of tired.' Harry straightened up again, his eyes different now. Almost vibrating with some strange sort of angry energy, and he swam a little closer, so that Draco could feel the shock waves of his movements rippling through the water and brushing against his legs. He reached out and smoothed a lock of Draco’s hair up off his forehead and behind his ear. Harry's hand was trembling and his voice husky with tears. 'I think the best way to die would be to drown,' he said, his eyes flickering away. 'Do you think so? It would be so quiet, like floating away into sleep and not ever having to wake up.'

Instantly, Draco's hands were on Harry's upper arms, keeping the other boy afloat in case he decided that now was the time to find out for sure how peaceful drowning was. 'I swear,' he said gently, searching Harry's face for any indication of what the other boy was thinking. 'Your moods change faster than anyone's I know. What do you want, Harry?'

Harry sniffled and closed his eyes, smiling a little. 'That's the millionth time you've asked me that.'

'You didn't answer the first time.'

'A spot on the Puddlemere Quidditch team. A lifetime supply of butterbeer. Some stock in the Weasley joke shop. A house. Parents who aren't dead. A faster broom. A first kiss. A date with ...'

'A first kiss? You've never been kissed?'

'... A date with Marsha Englemen, that girl who models women's Quidditch ...'

Draco interrupted again. 'You're not being serious, Harry. Tell me seriously. What do you want?'

Harry was quiet for a long moment, and then he said in a tiny voice, 'What if I can't tell you that? I only know what I don't want...'

'And what's that?'

But Harry's eyes were going dark, colour draining away, and his lower lip was trembling. The legendary Harry Potter was going to cry? His Gryffindor courage seemed to have deserted him, and Draco was terrified. He didn't want to see Harry cry, it just wasn't right.

Harry opened his lips and a small, shaky breath came out, his eyes meeting Draco's pleadingly, as if he couldn't find the words and wanted Draco to find them for him. But Draco didn't even know where to start.

He finally decided to start with Harry's lower lip, because it was shaking. Butterflies in his stomach and a strange, nearly paralyzing fear came over him, but Draco ignored it, and the way his hands were trembling when they slipped up and traced Harry's lower lip.

'What are you doing?' Harry whispered shakily.

'I don't know,' Draco replied quietly, biting his lip to keep it from trembling as well.

Harry's eyes were huge and shining and colour was leaking back into them as he gazed at Draco with naked trust shining from the green depths, visible even in the darkness.

There was no sound as Draco closed his eyes and pulled Harry forward a tiny bit, except for the lapping of water and the distant chirp of crickets. Their lips met awkwardly, their noses bumped, and Draco was so scared that he whimpered low in his throat. His hands were still on Harry's face, and for a long moment, they didn't move or breathe or so much as think, because thinking would only increase the terror.

And then Harry shifted a little, instinctively tilting his head so their lips slid together, his hands nervously coming up to rest on Draco's shoulders. Letting his breath out in a relieved sigh, Draco responded to that, encouraged by the fact that Harry wasn't screaming in a mad panic yet. He didn't know what he was doing but it seemed right, the answer to all the weird things he'd been feeling lately.

Which didn't make them any less terrifying.

But still, he, at least, had been kissed before. Harry, by his own admission, hadn't been, and that made Draco feel a little more confident. He moved closer, one hand slipping behind Harry's neck to support his head as he forced him to tilt it back a bit, deepening the kiss.

Harry's fingers dug into his shoulders, whether in panic or something else, Draco wasn't sure, and just because he didn't wish to scare him further (or himself, for that matter), Draco pulled back, though he kept his hand on the back of Harry's neck, the other slipping down to his upper arm to hold him above the water.

Harry's eyes were shining with tears.

'What?' Draco whispered, panic making him tense.

'I don't want to die,' Harry said, so softly that Draco was sure he hadn't heard him right.

'What?' he asked again, more gently now, his fingers playing in the hair at the base of Harry's skull.

'I don't want to die,' Harry repeated, the words bursting from his lips like a dam had broken, and they sounded more like a sob than anything. And then Harry was crying. Huge, hiccupping, painful sort of sobs.

'Oh. Oh shit. Harry. Harry, calm down,' Draco said, holding him up as Harry's strength gave out. 'Shh. It's alright, it's alright, you're not going to die.'

His chest heaving, Harry let his head fall weakly to Draco's shoulder, clinging to him and burying his head in Draco's neck. 'I am,' he whimpered.

Draco felt something inside him die a little then, turning cold, and he shivered, stroking Harry's back. 'You're not,' he said firmly.

'I am. On my birthday, in a month, I'm going to die.'


'Dumbledore told me so.' Harry's voice was toneless, resigned.

A few things snapped into place then for Draco, and he whispered. 'When did he tell you that?'

'The day I broke my hand against the wall.'

Oh. Just before the strange behaviour and the anger and the cutting and the skipping class... Draco slowly closed his eyes. 'Why?' he whimpered.

'I don't know!' Harry cried. 'It doesn't make any sense, nothing makes any sense. I don't want to die, I don't want... I can't...'

'You never even told me!'

'I didn't tell anyone.'

'But I could have... I didn't even... I could have helped you...' He sounded as lost as he felt.

Harry pulled away now, though he still held on to Draco's shoulders, his face pale and eyes enraged. 'You did,' he whispered harshly.


'You were there. Even when I didn't want to be there, whenever I'd get so scared that I couldn't breathe, you just showed up and... and healed whatever I'd done to myself and... and you were always so... alive and I was always worried that I was fading away and I didn't really exist at all but there was no way I could feel like this was a dream whenever you looked at me because the... the way you looked at me, like now... I... needed it to be real so badly.' He stopped abruptly and snapped his mouth shut, shaking his head.

Draco could only stare at him, a tragic sort of wonder over taking him as he thought frantically of what he could say now, what would make all this better. 'What... what can I do to make this go away?'

'I was kinda... hoping... you could tell me,' Harry said in a small voice, sniffling a bit. 'It still doesn't seem quite real.' He laughed shakily. 'Every time I start feeling like this is a dream, I... that's when I...' He gestured to his arm, the cuts still visible through the shimmering water.

'No,' Draco snarled, furious suddenly. 'No. You're not going to do that, Harry, never ever again, I won't let you!' That, at least, was something he could control. 'If you want to remember that this isn't a dream,' he said desperately, still angry, 'then find another way to make yourself feel. Every time you feel like that... I'll... I'll kiss you to remind you it's real ...'

Harry smiled a bit and said softly, 'That just makes it feel more like a dream.'

It seemed the height of irony then, that Draco could finally be there, with Harry, like this, could finally kiss him and touch him and know that Harry wasn't going to run, didn't find it wrong, only to learn that it wouldn't be forever. He gradually let go of Harry, moving away a little, so he could think. 'I... I don't think it's true,' he said finally. 'You can't just die because Dumbledore said so.'

His voice quiet, Harry explained, 'The spell my mother used to save my life from Voldemort was incomplete because she was dead when she cast it, and it is only strong enough to give me a childhood, which technically ends when I turn sixteen, which is on July thirty-first.'




Harry sighed and slowly closed his eyes. 'You think this is easy for me? I don't... I don't want to die. Sixteen isn't enough. I want seventeen, and twenty, and thirty, and even eighty. I want to see the whole world. I want to go to France and I want to go to America, and I want... want to watch the sunrise over the rooftops of London and go on a safari in Africa and I want... want...' He swallowed and looked away, because he was crying again. Not the harsh sobs of before, but something gentler. 'I want to learn to dance so I don't embarrass myself again like last year. And I want to learn all there is to know about magic and the wizarding world. I want to play professional Quidditch, and I want... to move out of my uncle's house...'

Draco tried to say something flippant. Tried to say something about how Harry had just said moments before that he didn't know what he wanted, and here he was listing all sorts of things he wanted. Instead he just floated there, water slipping through his fingers, lapping against his shoulders.

Finally, in a very low voice, he said angrily, 'You're not going to die, Harry.'

A small, sad smile curved Harry’s lips upwards, and he whispered, 'You think I've got a choice?'

'I'm not going to let you die! I'm not going to let you go! You think that there's a chance in hell that I could ...'

He didn't finish. His angry words broke and he was crying. Draco Malfoy never cried, but here he was, naked in a lake with Harry Potter, sobbing like a baby. And Harry was there suddenly, his chest pressed to Draco's, his arms around his shoulders, and he was kissing him desperately, trying to make him stop.

It was an awkward kiss; Harry Potter, hero of the wizarding world who was supposed to have died almost fifteen years before, didn't know how to kiss.

What it lacked in grace, however, it made up in pure emotion, because his entire body was trembling, and he was stroking Draco's face with shaky, wet hands, trying to dry his tears and succeeding only in washing them away. His lips were shaking too, Draco could feel it, and Harry's breath kept hitching like he was trying not to cry.

Draco realized then how unfair it was that he could twist this, make it about him being scared rather than Harry. Make Harry worry about him. He wasn't the one who was going to die.

He was still crying, but softer now, and he slid one arm around Harry to pull him closer, pinning him against his chest because Harry seemed to have forgotten to keep kicking. Closing his eyes, he kissed Harry back firmly, smoothly taking control of it, gentling it, kicking a little until they were in shallower water, standing on the muddy bottom of the lake.

The kiss changed then, stopped being an almost chaste press of lips, stopped being about making Draco feel stronger, and started being about comforting Harry, reassuring him, letting him know, the way Draco didn't seem to have the words to, that there was no way he was going to die.

Pressing closer, Draco ran a hand up Harry's naked back, water swirling around them at the motion. His other hand slipped up to Harry's jaw, tilting his face gently so their lips fit together perfectly, the way they were supposed to. He could feel Harry's heartbeat change, from panicky to something somehow softer.

One of Harry's hands slipped up Draco's chest, until it was flattened between them, and he wrapped his arm instinctively around Draco's shoulders. Their bodies were pressed together, chests, hips, and thighs, and it was the first time Draco had ever been this close to another person without any clothes, but it wasn't as scary as he’d thought it would be, nor was he as nervous. It was just Harry. Nothing could be wrong when it was Harry.

He opened his lips cautiously, uncertain of how far he could push this, how far until it became something it wasn't supposed to be. Something more than comfort that he wasn't quite sure he could handle right then without some sort of guilt because Harry needed something but certainly not that.

His tongue flicked lightly against Harry's lower lip and he felt the other boy tense nervously. Stroking his back until Harry relaxed against him again, Draco did it again, tracing it this time, pulling it into his mouth lightly, still stroking his back, keeping him calm. Giving him this because he didn't know what else he had to give to make this better.

The hand at Harry's jaw pressed into his skin a little, gently coaxing him to open his mouth, and Harry was trembling when he did, his arm flexing nervously around Draco's shoulders.

Trying to calm him, Draco made a small noise in the back of his throat as his tongue slipped into Harry's mouth, a strange sort of warm purr, still stroking him, his back and his cheek. It was different than Draco thought it would be. He'd never kissed a boy before, had only really kissed Lisa. She had kissed like she was trying to decide whether or not she could develop a taste for something, and Harry kissed as if he had discovered something he could never get enough of but wasn't sure if it was something he had a right to taste. With Lisa, it had been trying to see how far she'd let him go, and with Harry... It was different. More fragile by far. Gently coaxing and cradling and ripping down barriers Draco had been hiding behind all his life and inviting Harry to take anything and everything he'd been sheltering behind them. It was something far, far deeper and darker and more frightening.

He didn't want to scare him, Harry must be scared enough already, and so Draco kept it gentle, just a bare taste, a light brushing of his tongue against Harry's, and then he pulled back, resting his forehead against Harry's, his eyes opening.

Harry kept his closed, erratic breath brushing Draco's lips. 'Are you alright?' Draco asked, a little shyly.

Nodding, Harry let his head slip down, until it rested on Draco's shoulder, his face turned into the side of Draco's neck. 'Yeah,' he whispered, his lips brushing Draco's throat.

'Everything's going to be alright, Harry. I'll take care of this. I'll take care of you.'

Harry nodded again, and Draco tightened his arms around him, his eyes wide and shining in the darkness with a panic he refused to show. He would figure this out, he would beat this. He would.

'Draco?' Harry whispered suddenly.


'We kissed, didn't we?' he mumbled, and Draco realized that Harry was almost falling asleep. He smiled a bit, a painful smile.

'Yeah, I think so.'


'Is that... is that okay?'

Harry lifted his head and he was smiling, just a little. 'I think so.' And then he kissed Draco again, like he was just checking, just to be sure. A brief, soft, sweet kiss, and his smile was bigger now. 'Yeah. Yeah, it is,' he whispered, ducking his head shyly.

'Right. You're exhausted, we better go back in.'

'I don't want to go back to Gryffindor Tower. I want to stay with you.'

Draco pulled Harry closer, resting his chin on his head. 'Alright,' he said quietly. 'I'm going to be in the library, you can come with me. Past experience suggests you've got no problem sleeping in the library.'

Twenty minutes and a few drying charms later, they crept into the library. It was after hours and they weren't technically allowed in the library then, but Draco didn't care.

He pretended to study until Harry had fallen asleep, head pillowed on his arms. He guessed it must have been rather draining, the entire day. First the album with his parents' pictures, then the kiss, and confessing everything... He studied Harry's face for a long moment and then sighed, finally letting his shoulders slump, burying his face in his hands.

'It's alright. It's alright.' He got up and went into the rows of books, scanning the titles and selecting a few.

He worked until dawn, researching everything he could about the spell. By morning, he didn't know much more than he had when he started.

Harry hadn't told him much, really, and Draco hadn't wanted to wake him to pry for more details. He didn't want Harry to talk of this at all, or to think of it. He'd said he’d fix it, and he would. Besides, Draco knew of at least one other person in the school who had to know more than Harry did about it and he fully intended on confronting him at breakfast.

Which, he realized blearily, would be in about twenty minutes.

He got up, leaving his things, and coming around the table, shaking Harry gently. 'Wake up,' he called quietly. He didn't know why he was suddenly treating Harry like he was fragile, like glass, but it seemed the thing to do. Because somehow, when he wasn't looking, Harry had come to mean the world to him.

'What?' Harry mumbled thickly, blinking and glancing around. 'This is the library.'

Draco couldn't help but smile. 'It is. C'mon, I'll walk you back to Gryffindor Tower, you're too exhausted to go to class today.' He took his arm and pulled Harry to his feet, lacing his fingers through the other boy's and tugging him towards the door. Following obediently, Harry still looked sleepily puzzled.

'I don't want to go to Gryffindor,' he said suddenly, stopping and digging his heels into the stone floor. 'Hermione will make me go to class.'

'She's probably already at breakfast,' Draco replied, tugging at his hand.

'She'll come back for me. She always does. I'll stay here.'

'I'm not leaving you alone asleep in the library,' Draco said, sighing at the inevitability of it all. 'C'mon then.'

Harry didn't even question it when Draco took him into the dungeons, up into his dorm, and shoved him lightly until he was curled up on the bed, Draco's blankets tossed over top of him, the hangings pulled tight.

'Don't leave the bed. Don't steal anything. I'll be back in a bit.'

Harry hadn't even heard; he was already asleep.