- 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: 03/18/2003Updated: 08/21/2003Words: 70,367Chapters: 11Hits: 277,324
- 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 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.
I really hope we make it
Do you think we'll make it?
We're running, keep holding my hand
So we don't get separated
Harry was sleeping. Draco studied his face carefully in the moonlight spilling through the window, and then slipped from the bed. His clothes were scattered all over the floor and he dressed silently before leaving the room.
Knockturn Alley was not the cleanest of places by day, and by night, Draco decided, it was worse. Dirt, by day, sometimes glimmers like there are diamonds hidden beneath. In the darkness, it just shimmered with an oily sheen, like the rainbows skimming the surface of polluted waters.
The people there didn’t change, however. In Diagon Alley, there was a distinct difference between the people that wandered the streets in daylight, and those who skulked in the darkness. In Knockturn Alley, the ones who wandered in the darkness were the same who skulked in the daylight.
They wouldn’t harm him, however. Everyone in Knockturn Alley recognized him as a Malfoy, and would not risk the wrath of his father for all the world.
They did not speak to him, though a few nodded, their eyes skittering away from his. They did not tip their hats as they would have for his father, but Draco didn’t care. He couldn’t care less about the scum in the corners and doorways of the alley.
There were a few shops that did business only in the dead of night, shops Lucius had never taken Draco to. He knew they were there, however, and he could only hope that they could help him now.
He finally found the store he was looking for, a squat little building with a thick sort of grease on the window to keep out the light. Not that there was much light spilling onto this area of the alley.
The door creaked, announcing his presence, and Draco glanced around nervously, trying not to show it. After all, the people who frequent places like this would not respect anyone who showed fear.
“Mr. Malfoy,” he was greeted, by a shopkeeper he did not remember having seen before but who had evidently seen him about with his father. “Is your father about?”
“No,” Draco replied coldly. A Malfoy is never warm. “I wanted to inquire about a spell.”
There were places that sold dark spells, and this was one of them. It was an illegal practice but hard to trace, and a few places still made a go at it. They charged a lot, and only desperate people willing like paid the high fee, but Draco was desperate.
“What sort?” asked the shopkeeper.
“The sort that’ll keep someone alive who’s going to die.”
“How d’you know he’s going to die? Prophecy? Dream? It depends on that.”
Draco took a deep breath. He couldn’t give too much away, if they found out that it was Harry Potter he wanted to save, they’d laugh in his face. “He nearly died as a child and was saved by a spell his mother cast for him but she cast it when she was already dead so it’s gonna run out on his birthday.”
The shopkeeper looked wary. “Never heard of nothing like that,” he said.
“Right,” Draco said absently, thinking hard. “A spell to ward off death then.”
“What sort of death? Need to be specific.”
Frustrated, he snarled, “An immortality spell? Anything?”
Snickering, the shopkeeper replied, “If living forever was as easy as a single spell, everyone would do it.”
“If a mother sacrificed her life for her child, invoking an ancient spell that was incomplete, would there be anyway to finish the spell?” Draco asked, nearly panicking. “If… if someone else were to sacrifice themselves, something, would there be away to finish it?”
“We don’t deal with spells like that,” sneered the man. “Doesn’t sound like the Dark Arts are what you ought to be looking at.”
But Dumbledore had searched all the other options and none of them were viable! Draco closed his eyes and clenched his hands into fists. “Right,” he said, in a tightly controlled voice. “There’s nothing here for me then?”
“Nothing I’d help you with. Things like this, spells like that… they don’t happen often. Only once, that I can recall.” His eyes were narrowed, shrewd, and Draco knew he’d said too much. The man knew.
“Right,” he said again, backing out of the shop, never taking his eyes from the calculating look on the shopkeeper’s face.
There were other options, options that would cost more than his money, but Draco was getting desperate. He went farther down the alley, towards and old building with boarded up windows and concrete walls to keep out any hint of sunlight. His father had told him what it was once, long ago.
A ‘pleasure house’ of vampires for stupid mortals who liked flirting with the gothic and somehow sexy idea of vampirism and death.
He snorted even as he opened the door and stepped inside.
He’d never met a vampire before, and certainly wasn’t prepared for the pale, pristine creature that met him at the door. Male, and every hair was perfectly in place. Icy blue eyes, dark hair, pale skin, and a wicked sort of smile, Draco instantly felt almost bland-looking, and it was the first time he had ever felt that way. He didn’t much care for the feeling.
“Pretty,” the vampire cooed, running strange eyes over him. They reflected light like a cat’s.
“Umm, hello,” Draco replied, shifting uncomfortably. “I just had a question…”
“Nothing comes for free in here,” replied the vampire.
Draco licked his lips and said, after a pause, “Well, I only have one question. How much money would that cost?”
“Oh, honey,” purred the vampire. “We don’t take cash payments.”
“Then what —” he stopped talking abruptly because the vampire ran one cool finger down the side of his neck, tracing his vein. “Oh.”
“Only one question?” asked the vampire.
“Only one,” Draco whispered.
It grinned. “Won’t kill you, only one question. Won’t even hurt, if you don’t want it to.”
There was naked hunger in the vampire’s eyes, a type of hunger that was basic and instinctive and not at all human. The creature may have looked human, but the eyes gave it away, and Draco shivered. He was desperate, however. “I want it to hurt,” he said.
Penance, he supposed. He had failed Harry and that’s why he was here, brought low enough to beg favours from the undead. He deserved to burn and he deserved to hurt, because it was his fault that he was here.
He was taken into a small room to the side, and the vampire poured him some wine, pressing it into his hand with a sharp, animalistic smile. “Drink,” it hissed.
Draco did, quickly, wondering if it was to calm his nerves or make his blood somehow taste better. And then the vampire had one hand on the back of Draco’s neck to support it, the other tangled in his hair to hold him still, and two fangs were driven into his skin.
It hurt, more than just the puncturing of skin. The lips of the creature were slammed against his torn skin, sucking blood from the wounds, the tongue flicking restlessly against his flesh, drawing blood from his body, and it burned. Gray spots danced before his eyes and Draco’s lips quivered though he did not make a sound. He forgot how to scream, forgot how to move, forgot everything except what it felt like to have his life pulled from his body by a monster.
And then, rather dreamily, he wondered if all dying felt that painful and unnatural.
The vampire pulled away and licked its lips, before saying nonchalantly, “Ask your question then, my lovely boy.”
Draco’s legs were shaking, about to give out underneath him, and he swallowed heavily in an attempt to make things come into focus again. “I know this boy,” he said hazily, trying to collect his thoughts.
“I could taste him on you.”
Draco blinked. “Oh. Well. He’s going to die, on his birthday.”
“The Boy Who Lived.”
He blinked again. “What?”
Smiling almost gently, the vampire shrugged. “The walking dead have a different taste than those who are merely mortal. He is not supposed to be here.”
“He was supposed to die when he was a baby,” Draco acknowledged.
“He will die soon.”
Draco shook his head. “My question. I wanted to know if there was anything you could do to save him.”
Laughing, the vampire said, “There are some things the undead cannot even touch and the magic that protects your boy is more ancient even than we are. There is nothing we can do for him.”
And Draco, strangely, though he had been thinking before that even an undead Harry was better than none at all, was relieved. If he had let this creature have Harry, Harry wouldn’t have even be human any longer, and he wouldn’t for anything make him a monster like that. Better the victim of death than the cause.
He left the building in a dreamy, weak haze, and only barely made it back to the hotel.
Harry was up and waiting for him, pacing the room in a panic, and when Draco stumbled blindly through the door, he was there to catch him before his legs gave out from weakness.
Draco fell against his chest, unconscious, and missed when Harry smoothed his hair back, inspected the dried blood on his neck and the marks of healing puncture wounds, and sighed.
“Stupid boy,” he whispered, carrying Draco to the bed. “What have you done?”
He crawled under the covers and held Draco against his chest, running fingers through his hair, and holding him until dawn, when he finally fell asleep.
Draco woke up as if cold water had been dropped on him. One moment fast asleep, the next wide-eyed and tense, for a second, he could not place what exactly had woken him. Then he realized; Harry was not lying beside him.
“Harry!” he cried, sitting up.
The other boy was sitting at the end of the bed, legs pulled up to his chest, arms folded on top of them, head resting there. “I wasn’t sure you were gonna wake up,” he said quietly, almost reproachfully.
Draco swallowed, the terror at not finding Harry there slowly fading to a vague sense of wariness. “What do you mean?”
“I mean that you left me last night and I was so scared and then you came back and you were bleeding and there were bite marks on your neck.”
Wincing, Draco sighed. “Oh. I didn’t mean to scare you.”
“Vampire, wasn’t it?”
“Harry. I just… I needed to…”
“I’ve never seen a real vampire before.” There was a hesitant sort of inquiry in his tone, and Draco slowly closed his eyes.
“You don’t want to,” he said quietly. “They’re monsters. Cold.”
“Like a snake?” Harry asked, voice soft with gentle amusement.
Draco opened his eyes and looked at him and smiled, though the effort was shaky. “Not quite,” he replied. “That distinction’s reserved for me.”
“I told you before,” Harry cried, but he was smiling. Draco wondered where he got the strength to smile. It was July 30th and the next day would be his birthday. His thoughts were disrupted, however, because Harry was there suddenly, eyes dark and eyelids lowered. His voice, when he spoke, was low and husky and teasing. “You’re not cold at all, Draco, you just pretend to be.”
“Not anymore,” Draco argued, a little breathless at how close Harry was suddenly, though they weren’t touching.
“Not anymore,” Harry agreed, grinning in a promising sort of way. Then he leaned forward and kissed him.
It was a playful kiss, more soft biting and teasing licks than anything, and the more Draco tried to capture Harry for any meaningful sort of kiss, the further back the other boy pulled, just out of reach. Finally, Draco pulled back, exasperated. Before he could say anything, however, Harry fell forward, knocking him backwards and kissing him hard, driving the breath from his lungs. Startled at the sudden switch from playfulness to a restrained sort of fury, Draco lay there, stunned, and let Harry kiss him. It was almost painful, and he reached up, hands running up and down Harry’s back, pulling him closer, letting him hurt him if that’s what he needed, because he didn’t have anything else to give except this. There was nothing else. Draco had promised to save him but there was nothing he could do.
Harry’s fingers had trailed up his arm, over his shoulder, and were now stroking over and over again the side of his neck, where the vampire had bitten. There was no blood there any longer, Harry must have cleaned it off, and Draco knew the marks would have faded, but still, Harry’s fingers circled over his skin as if they were still there. Almost like he was trying to rub them away.
“Mmm,” Harry grunted finally, pulling away and glaring down at Draco. “If you ever do that to me again, Draco, I swear…”
“You don’t understand,” Draco whispered.
“Just… just don’t ever do that again.” He kissed the side of his neck, very gently, right where the vampire had bitten. “Don’t leave me like that again. When I woke up and you were gone, I thought I’d go absolutely crazy.”
“I’m sorry.” Harry, of course, didn’t understand the reasons behind it. He thought Draco had saved him. “I’m so sorry, Harry. You have no idea how sorry I am,” he whimpered.
Harry lifted his head and smiled down at him very gently. “Everything’s going to be fine, Draco. No matter what, I promise you, it’ll be alright.”
“It will,” Draco lied, and then he smiled and kissed Harry softly. Anger gone now, Harry kissed him back sweetly.
The strangest thing, Harry decided later that day, as he and Draco sat together outside eating candy floss, was that, without this whole issue of his imminent death, he and Draco would never have had this. This candy floss in public parks and days spent together at the seashore, swims together in the lake, and all the hundreds of kisses. He would never have let Draco close enough to touch him, let alone kiss him, and even if Draco had somehow gotten to kiss him, Harry would have panicked because it was Draco and he was a boy and neither things seemed all that natural. But after Dumbledore had told him everything, about the spell and his birthday and all of it, nothing in the world had seemed all that natural. Which was, he decided, with a quiet sort of satisfaction, worth dying for. A few months loving Draco Malfoy was a consequence of his mother’s spell wearing out, and that was how he’d think of it from now until it was over.
Most people never experience the levels of happiness he had experienced in his last few months in their entire lives. He was lucky for that.
But that didn’t mean he wasn’t scared. Harry was terrified. He had accepted the inevitable but he still could not sleep without nightmares for fear of it.
But Draco was the delicate one now, really. The nervous energy inside of him that made him jumpy and always moving… it was harder for him than it was for Harry. But that made sense, really. Because after this was over, Draco would be the one who had to keep going. Harry would end, his last days spent loving Draco, and Draco would go on, the rest of his days spent missing Harry. Or maybe he’d fall in love again. No one found their soul mate at fifteen, after all. Unless, of course, they were going to die at sixteen.
The pattern that had begun that first day, that day when all of this had started, were spiraling to a close now. Harry remembered thinking that not all patterns had a point, and he amended that now. They all had points; it was just sometimes difficult to see the conclusion of a pattern when you’re standing at the beginning.
His thoughts were interrupted when Draco leaned over and brushed his lips against Harry’s. People were staring, but Harry didn’t care. Draco tasted like candy floss and ice cream, and he grinned.
“I asked you a question,” Draco said, sounding sulky. “You were all distant and daydreaming.”
“I was thinking!” Harry cried, laughing. It was easy to forget to be scared when he was with Draco. There was too much to feel, no room for fear.
“Patterns. You.” He grinned impishly and kissed the tip of Draco’s nose. “What did you ask?”
“I asked you what you wanted to do next.”
They were sitting under a tree in the summer sunshine in a park, hands and lips sticky from candy floss, and Harry glanced around, his smile turning gentle. “Stay here forever,” he said.
Draco was on his feet, pacing nervously. “We can’t, Harry, we have to —”
“Shh. C’mere,” Harry called, reaching out and taking Draco’s hand. It was sticky and so was his, and Harry tugged it gently until Draco was sitting next to him, leaning against the trunk of the willow tree.
“Your hand’s sticky,” Draco said, eyes skittishly avoiding Harry’s. He’d been avoiding any sort of conversation all day.
That same impish smile on his lips, Harry reached over and pressed his hand to Draco’s cheek, leaving a sticky imprint. “Sorry,” he lied. Draco just rolled his eyes and smiled a little.
“Are you alright, Harry?” he asked, his eyes scanning Harry’s face worriedly.
“Everything’s gonna be fine.”
“How can you say that?”
“A thousand dark spells, remember?”
Draco winced and Harry stroked his wrist soothingly. “Harry, I told you, there weren’t any —”
Biting his lip, Harry nodded. “I know. But you don’t think Sirius and Dumbledore wouldn’t have cast some protective charms or something by now?”
Draco looked suddenly hopeful, and Harry felt a small hint of guilt. “Really?”
“Of course,” he said. He didn’t tell Draco how Dumbledore had made him promise to stay at Privet Drive. That even if there was a cure, Harry wouldn’t have it because he’d decided that he’d rather spend three days with Draco with the certainty that he was going to die than three days with his relatives for what the barest hope of a cure.
He didn’t tell him that he’d made a promise to whatever god had been listening that day that he wouldn’t fight against his fate if only Draco would come for him. He didn’t say any of those things. Instead, he said gravely, “I feel different. I’m sure there’s a spell, I can feel it. It’s all around me and nothing can touch me. I’ll be fine, Draco, I swear it.”
“Swear it on your father’s grave.”
“My father’s not dead.”
Harry grinned. “Well, if he were dead.”
“You sod,” Draco growled, but he was smiling now, and Harry was relieved. He tugged him closer and kissed him before shoving a chunk of candy floss into Draco’s mouth. Kissing him again as the sugared sweet melted on their tongues, Harry closed his eyes and sighed and tried to tell himself that he was not terrified.
It started to rain that afternoon, just gentle misty drops, and it sent people scurrying to their homes. Diagon Alley emptied until only those hurrying home from work remained. Draco knew that Harry liked the rain, so he didn’t complain too much as they sat on the side of a fountain, a soft hush all around, broken only by the whispering drops of mist.
“Everything looks different,” Harry said quietly, glancing around.
Draco tried to see what he was seeing, but it was just an empty street. “How?”
“Like we’re the only ones left in the whole world.”
For a moment, Draco let his eyes close and thought about what that would be like. To be alone in the world with Harry forever. He smiled a little, though his throat felt tight. It had felt tight all day, actually. Time was going too fast, and it seemed the harder he tried to slow it down, the faster it went.
“Calm down,” Harry whispered beside him, and Draco realized that his breathing had sped up as panic threatened.
“I’m alright,” he said. Harry studied his eyes doubtfully, and Draco knew he didn’t believe him. It was wrong, it wasn’t fair. That Draco should be so weak when Harry needed him. Draco reached out and touched his cheek, trailing his finger through the rain there. There was so much he needed to say and he didn’t know where to begin. “Aren’t you scared?” he asked.
“No,” Harry replied simply, but his eyes flickered away and his lips tightened at the lie.
“You’re a terrible liar, Harry.” Draco tilted his head and pushed his wet hair out of his eyes.
“I can’t be scared,” Harry argued.
Draco knew what it was like to feel as if he did not have the right to be scared. After all, Malfoys never showed fear. “You’ve got every right to be afraid,” he said quietly.
Glancing up, Harry slowly shook his head. “How would it look if I was afraid? If the Boy Who Lived could face Voldemort without fear but quaked at the mere idea of his own death?”
“You’re not the fucking Boy Who Lived,” Draco snarled, taking Harry’s hand. “You’re just Harry. My Harry. None of the rest of it matters now, alright? Screw the heroic shit, and screw the Boy Who Lived nonsense. None of it means anything to me and I know it’s nothing to you.”
“I don’t know what to be if I’m not the Boy Who Lived,” Harry whispered.
“Just be Harry. You were, before. Before you knew about all of this, this whole wizard business. Just be that Harry.”
“That Harry was a little boy locked under the stairs,” Harry said fiercely. “I’ve forgotten him. I never wanted to be him.”
Draco bit his lip carefully and studied Harry for a long moment. “It’s not so hard.”
“Learning who you are without thinking about who you’re supposed to be.”
“And you’re the resident expert on that, I suppose?”
Draco wasn’t put off by Harry’s hostile tone. He smiled and leaned forward, reciting, “A Malfoy Does Not Kiss Other Boys In Public.” His voice was very soft and he kissed Harry squarely on the lips before pulling back a tiny bit. “A Malfoy does not shower with others,” he continued, smile growing impish. “I already broke that one last night.”
“It’s different for you,” Harry whispered.
“Without all your titles, you’ve still got something. You’ve still got an identity. I had my identity taken away when I was eleven and I was supplied with a new one. If I grow scared now, I’d be shattering that identity and then I’d have nothing.”
“So shatter it then. It isn’t you and I have no use for it. I’d rather have a shattered Harry than a Boy Who Lived.”
Harry swallowed and stared at the cobble stoned street, his fingers absently tracing a crack in the stone fountain. His hair was plastered to his forehead, water running down his face, and he looked pale and very young. When he spoke, his voice was husky, shaky. “What do you want from me? Do you want me to be scared?”
“I don’t want any of this.”
His entire body tensed and Harry jerked his head up, eyes widening. “Well I’m fucking sorry,” he snarled. “You don’t have to deal with this, Malfoy, if you’ve got somewhere else you’d rather be.”
Startled at this sudden flash of anger, Draco blinked and opened his mouth to speak. He didn’t get the chance to calm Harry down, however, because the other boy was on his feet and walking angrily away. This was a Harry he understood, however. This wasn’t Harry being a hero. This was Harry being terrified and covering it up with anger. Draco had been doing that his whole life.
He caught up to Harry a short distance away, reaching out and grabbing his shoulder. Though he flinched and made as if to pull away, Harry slowly turned. His eyes weren’t angry any longer, they were very wide and shining with tears.
“Don’t be stupid,” Draco scolded gently, wiping the rain and tears off Harry’s face. “There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”
“I think I asked for this,” Harry whimpered, he shivered a little, and Draco wrapped his arms around Harry’s shoulders to keep him warm.
“Asked for what?” Draco whispered, guiding Harry back into the shelter of a doorway.
“All of this. I wanted it. I wanted to die. I was so sick and tired of everything and I didn’t want to wake up in the morning and all I did was whine about how sick I was of being me. And so my dream’s coming true. I won’t have to be me anymore tomorrow. I won’t have to be anything.” His words were stumbling from trembling lips.
Draco sat on the concrete step and pulled Harry down beside him, leaning back against the brick wall. Resting his head on Draco’s shoulder, Harry started shivering form cold, and Draco tightened his arms around him. “Stop that,” he chided, closing his eyes. “You didn’t wish this on yourself. Everyone feels like that sometimes. This isn’t your fault, it isn’t anyone’s fault.” He wanted to add that Harry wasn’t going to die so it didn’t matter. He wanted to promise that everything would be alright. But honestly, he didn’t know anymore. “But it’s alright to be scared.”
“You’re not scared,” Harry mumbled.
“How can I not be scared?” Draco scoffed. “I’m bloody terrified.”
“You’re not scared of anything, except your father, Voldemort, and the giant squid.”
“I’m not afraid of them anymore,” Draco admitted quietly. “My father’ll never get close enough to touch me again, and without him, Voldemort’ll never get close enough to me to scare me. And the squid… I rather like the squid.”
“What happened with your father?” Harry whispered, snuggling closer. The rain was slowing and Draco thought he could see the clouds starting to be burnt away by the sun.
“He was angry, about the detentions and that I kissed you, and he kept me locked in my room,” Draco replied distantly. “Until I tried breaking out through the window because I had to get to you. Then he had me locked in a room without windows, and then he had a house elf beat me with a belt.”
“Because of me?” Harry asked, lifting his head and looking horrified.
“It doesn’t matter,” Draco told him, kissing him gently. “I’m never going back.”
“Where will you go?”
I’ll stay here with you forever. He swallowed hard because he couldn’t say those words and he longed to. They were being completely honest with each other, however, and the words just wouldn’t come. “I don’t know,” he whispered instead.
“Stay here with me forever,” Harry said fiercely, and Draco’s arms tightened around him reflexively.
“Forever,” he promised.
By sunset, the clouds were gone and it was like the rain had never happened. People came out of their homes to go about their business, and Harry and Draco fled from them, seeking solitude.
They climbed a fire escape up onto the roof of Gringotts, the tallest building in Diagon Alley, from which they could see all of London spread out before them. Sunset was a shimmering mess of oranges and crimsons dripping down beneath the horizon, and Harry watched it with a bittersweet lump in his throat. It was the first sunset he could remember ever having watched.
“I used to think,” he said, as the last of the vibrant colour dripped beneath the London skyline, “that there was nothing in the world I would miss if I died.”
“And now?” Draco asked quietly. They were sitting on the side of Gringotts, their legs dangling over the edge.
“And now there’s so much I never even saw that I’m going to miss that it hurts to breathe,” Harry admitted, staring down at the ground far below.
The nervous energy that had kept Draco twitching all day had faded, as had Harry’s forced belief that he owed it to the world to be calm. Now, a weary sort of acceptance had fallen over them both. What would be would be and nothing they could do at this point would change it. Choices had been made, circumstances had led them to this, and they could only wait to see what the outcome was.
“I suppose I should be thankful,” he mused out loud.
“For you.” He shot him a small smile. “I would have died two months ago if not for you.”
Draco laughed softly. “From being locked in a broom closet? Or getting hit in the head with a bucket?”
Shrugging, Harry said, “And more than that. Thankful because…because…” he trailed off, frowning. “Do you think people can fall in love at fifteen?”
“Maybe not normal people,” Draco said after a short pause.
“What about us?”
Draco took his hand solemnly and said, “Has anyone ever considered us normal?”
He smiled a little. “No.”
“C’mere,” Draco said suddenly, slipping off the wall and moving back to lean against one of the building’s chimneys.
“Why?” Harry asked, even as he did as Draco had said.
“Because sitting on the edge that way was getting unnerving and it’s getting dark.”
“You’re afraid of heights and the dark?” Harry teased.
“A boy’s got to be afraid of something,” Draco replied, sitting against the chimney. “Why not heights and the dark?”
“You can’t just choose new fears because you’ve gotten over the old ones.” He sat beside Draco, leaning back and closing his eyes.
“I’ve never…” Draco trailed off, and Harry turned his head, looking at him solemnly.
There was a pause, and then, “Never been so dependent on anything as I am on you.” He cleared his throat. “I didn’t think I needed… needed anything.”
Harry nodded and smiled a bit. “It’s funny, you spend your whole life searching for something to complete you and sometimes it’s standing right in front of you smirking like it owns the world and trying to drive you mad, and you don’t even realize it.”
“It?” Draco asked, sounding mildly offended.
“Oh, that was just a random example,” Harry said smoothly.
“Was it?” Draco’s hair had been soaked in the rain and now it had dried in soft wispy pieces, and Harry brushed them off his forehead and kissed him there.
It was strange, he decided, how he’d never had any sort of physical contact before and yet he could get used to this so fast. This being able to reach over and touch Draco whenever he wanted.
“It was,” he replied.
“I think you’re lying.”
Rather than reply, and purely in the interest of distracting him, Harry shoved his hands down the front of Draco’s trousers.
“Hey!” Draco yelped, body tensing up and eyes widening. “What are you doing?”
Harry was grinning, even as his other hand started fumbling with the zipper. “Shut up,” he said, kissing Draco lightly. “You talk too much and I’m sick of talking.”
Eyes dark, face pale, and lips twisted in a smirk, Harry straddled Draco, kissed him hard, all teeth and tongue and heat, jerking his trousers open and pushing both hands inside.
Draco’s mouth opened in surprise and Harry took advantage of the opportunity, shoving his tongue inside.
The one thing that had always bothered Harry about kissing Draco was the way the other boy never seemed to run out of breath. Draco seemed to hold this over Harry’s head as some badge of honor, that he knew the secret to breathing through kisses, and Harry was quite determined to make him forget that secret, to make him gasp and pant and pull away because he couldn’t breathe. Just because he cheated a bit with his hands inside Draco’s trousers, wrapping around him and stroking him teasingly… that hardly mattered. The ends justify the means, after all. Always.
It didn’t take that long, really, for Draco to fall back and break the kiss, panting raggedly, eyes squeezed shut.
“Harry,” he moaned, as Harry, smirking, slid lower to bit his neck. “That was sort of… sudden…”
“Mmm, no,” Harry sighed, pulling at the buttons of Draco’s shirt with his teeth. “I’ve been waiting for this my whole life.”
Draco smiled a bit, a desperate sort of smile, as his hips arched and he pressed himself into Harry’s hand. “You didn’t even know this existed,” he gasped, moaning a little.
Pausing, Harry glanced up at him and smiled slowly. “And you’re an expert at things like this?”
“I know more than you.” He didn’t sound all that knowledgeable. He sounded desperate and bothered and weak, and it was, Harry decided, the way he liked Draco best. Not arrogant or snotty or smirky, but wild and panting and honest.
“Liar,” Harry purred, grazing Draco’s throat with his teeth as he pushed his shirt off with one hand. “Lisa Turpin hardly counts as experience.”
“How… how do you know?” Draco tried to sneer, though it came out more like a squeak as Harry angled him so that he was lying on his back, Harry on top, one knee wedged between his legs, hand still warm around him, touching him and stroking him slowly, carefully, as if determined to memorize every inch of him.
“I bet she never even got your shirt off,” Harry whispered huskily, slipping lower so his teeth grazed Draco’s collar bone.
“Erm,” said Draco.
“Or got her hands—” he squeezed a little at that — “down your trousers.”
A tiny whimper. “Harry…”
Harry wasn’t listening. There was a sort of power here, one that he’d never experienced before, that was at once earthy and simple and somehow more complicated than he could quite understand. That didn’t mean he didn’t like it. There’s something to be said for the colour a Malfoy’s eyes change when they’re so desperate that they can’t think straight any longer.
His mouth was hovering over Draco’s stomach, which tensed and shuddered with Draco’s breathing. “I bet she never did this either,” he said silkily.
“Did what?” Draco whispered, hands clenching into fists. Harry’s eyes flew to his, dark with promise, and there was a wicked grin on his lips.
“This,” he said, angelically, before taking Draco into his mouth.
He’d never done anything like that before. In the shower the night before, he and Draco had done things, but nothing like this. The only bit of experience Harry had at all with anything like this was when Draco had done it to him the day before, and quite honestly, all Harry remembered of that was the rush of white heat and the blinding feeling of falling apart.
That didn’t matter much, however, because Draco had propped himself up on his elbows and he was watching Harry with a dark sort of hunger in his eyes, scarcely breathing or making a sound, and Harry really hated to disappoint.
It was different than he thought it would be. It was hotter and more awkward and not at all like licking a lolli as he might once thought (though of course he’d never given all that much thought to exactly how he might suck Draco Malfoy off on a rooftop. But had he given it a moment’s thought, he might have decided it would be like eating sweets. It wasn’t.) Which wasn’t to say it was bad.
And it was certainly made all the more interesting when Harry’s eyes flickered up to Draco’s and held and he was able to watch the way the slightest move of his tongue or sliding of his mouth affected his face.
The way his lower lip was clamped between Draco’s teeth when Harry slid down so far that he nearly gagged and tears prickled his eyes. The way if he moved his tongue just right, Draco’s eyelids fluttered as if he longed to close them but couldn’t stand to look away. The way he would lick his lips and shove his hips upwards a bit if Harry made a purring sound in the back of his throat.
All very interesting, and Harry soon forgot the awkwardness of it, the strangeness of it, and went about trying to make Draco lose that fragile control he seemed to have over himself.
It didn’t take much, really, until Draco fell backwards with a choked moan, and, again, arched his back, lifting his hips and shoving himself into Harry’s mouth, nearly choking him.
Jerking away and sucking in a startled breath, Harry nearly lost his nerve. Draco’s low cry sounded so wistful that he gathered his courage and looked up at him again. “Tell me you love me,” he whispered, feeling brave enough to say that now only when Draco had been stripped off all his icy layers and was trembling beneath him.
“What?” Draco asked.
“Do you love me?” He licked him thoughtfully, almost coaxingly, and Draco whimpered.
Harry bit his lip, suddenly nervous. “Tell me that you love me.”
“I love you I love you I fucking love you, but honestly, Harry, now is not the time for this!” Draco cried, panting wildly.
Grinning, Harry giggled a bit, his hands moving to Draco’s hips in a vain attempt to hold him still as he took him into his mouth again.
Harry closed his eyes, conscious only of his hands on Draco’s hips, the taste of Draco in his mouth, the sounds Draco was making. Forever could have passed and he wouldn’t have noticed. And then, suddenly, Draco’s body tensed and he whimpered, a hand tangling in Harry’s hair.
Despite everything, Harry was incredibly surprised when Draco came in his mouth. He jerked away, coughing, scrubbing his mouth on the back of his hand and shooting the boy a faintly accusing glare.
His indignation faded, however, when Draco opened his eyes and smiled a little weakly. “Uhm,” he moaned, eyelids fluttering. Indignation was quickly replaced with satisfaction and a vague sense of having created something, if only the dark shadows in Draco’s eyes.
“I bet the Malfoys have a rule about that too, don’t they?” Harry asked.
Squinting and trying to follow the conversation, Draco mumbled intelligently, “Hmm?”
“About, you know… doing that… on a roof.”
Draco blinked and then sputtered, “We’re not complete sods, you know! We don’t have rules about everything.”
“So you aren’t allowed to kiss other boys in public but it’s perfectly acceptable to let them … let them… you know… on a rooftop?”
“You can’t even say it!” Draco cried, rolling his eyes. “How can you do it if you can’t even say it?”
“It doesn’t matter, you seemed to like it!”
“Well, it wasn’t bad. For a beginner. You were wrong though, ‘bout me and Lisa.”
“What are you talking about?”
“She not only did what you did, she was better at it. Oh, yes, I shagged her good and proper.” Draco was grinning up at him like a cat.
“Liar!” Harry cried. “That’s bullshit, Draco Malfoy, you never shagged her!”
“Jealous?” he asked silkily. “Maybe if you ask nicely, I’ll shag you good and proper too.”
“Boys can’t— I mean, didn’t we… what else…” Suddenly realizing how innocent and naïve he was appearing, Harry snapped his mouth shut, blushing furiously.
Draco looked quite incredulous. “You sheltered little boy,” he whispered, voice heavy with restrained laughter. “Of course boys can shag!”
“And again here you are pretending to be the expert,” Harry said sulkily, unwilling to admit that he had no idea how two boys might go about shagging.
“Hardly an expert, but I know it’s possible,” Draco said brightly. “I’ll have to show you, one of these days.”
One of these days. Harry stiffened and Draco paled a little, and then Harry said, his voice only slightly forced, “How do they —” Realization hit him then and his eyes widened. “Oh. Oh.”
Draco was laughing so hard now that he was practically choking, and Harry shouted, “Shut up, you!” It wasn’t his fault, after all, that Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia did not discuss sex at all, let alone sex between two boys. Hermione and Ron hardly found the topic interesting, and Harry had just never thought about it before.
Still laughing, Draco was gasping for breath, his face flushed. Determined to shut him up, Harry tackled him, growling, and they wrestled for a bit, tickling each other, laughing and teasing, rolling about.
When they finally stopped, Draco, trousers undone and shirt long lost, was pinning Harry to the roof.
“Do you really love me?” Harry asked after a long pause, while they tried to catch their breath.
“Yes,” Draco said simply.
“And you love me?”
They grinned at each other, acknowledging the ridiculousness of Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy wrestling and tickling each other on a rooftop and then confessing their love for each other.
Draco leaned down and pressed his lips to Harry’s, a kiss that tasted like melting sugar or honey, long and bittersweet.
His eyes fluttered weakly, a sudden wave of exhaustion washing over Harry, who’d been up most of the night before watching over Draco. “Sleepy,” he mumbled.
A guarded sort of tenderness lit in Draco’s eyes. “Sleep then,” he said softly, stroking Harry’s face. “I’ll watch over you.”
“I can’t sleep yet,” Harry argued, checking his watch. It was twenty to midnight.
“I have to wait until midnight at least. I always count down the last seconds until my birthday.”
“Right then. I’ll countdown with you.”
They smiled at each other, sleepy, tender smiles, and crawled back to the chimney. Leaning back against it, Draco opened his arms and Harry slid onto his lap, burying his face against his neck and sighing. Draco rested his chin on Harry’s head and closed his eyes.
They waited together, while the seconds slipped by, but it was too much for Harry, and he murmured in the back of his throat and snuggled closer, sighing and letting his eyes close.
A few minutes passed by, and Draco shivered a little, pulling Harry closer. “Are you sleeping?” he whispered.
For a long moment, Harry didn’t think he had the strength to reply. “Will you wake me when the sun’s up?” he asked finally, sleepily.
And then, with a soft sigh, Harry drifted off to sleep.
He wasn’t letting go, Draco decided. His arm was going numb, his back was cramping up, but he wouldn’t ever let go. Harry was sleeping, leaning against Draco, and Draco, for all the world, could not dream of letting go.
He checked his watch and whispered, “Nearly time, Harry,” though Harry didn’t stir. Draco counted down to his birthday alone, quietly, and when his watch showed midnight, he tightened his arms around Harry’s shoulders and buried his face in his hair.
“Happy birthday, Harry.”
Harry slept on, and after a cautious moment, Draco lifted his head, closing his eyes and listening carefully. He was still breathing, and the relief was sharp. But then, Harry had said that the spell would wear off at sunrise, and it was still dark. Still, it seemed a sort of victory, that it was officially July 31st and Harry was still breathing.
Hours passed, and Draco didn’t move. He didn’t know what he was supposed to be thinking about, feeling, doing with his hands. So he stayed perfectly still and didn’t think about anything, except the stars and the moon and the dark London skyline.
When it got to be too painful, he gently shifted Harry off of his lap and onto the roof. With that movement came a shuddering sort of energy, and Draco began prowling around the roof, thinking now more than ever before, out loud.
“He’s not going to die. What if he dies? He can’t die, I refuse to think all this has been for nothing…”
But then, it hadn’t been for nothing. If Harry left him and Draco had to spend the rest of his life alone, he couldn’t honestly say that this last little while hadn’t affected him. Hadn’t given him the courage to walk away from everything he’d been afraid of. He’d changed. No one could possibly go through something like this without being changed. Whether or not it lasted forever was negligible when he considered that. He was stronger than ever and brighter too, like wells of energy had been burst open inside of him. He’d been sheltered and scared before and now he was strong and felt like he could maybe even be brave, if the situation demanded it. After all, courage held by those with no other choice than to be brave is not a characteristic they can claim as their own but one they borrow when the situation demands it. And there was no one in the world Draco would rather borrow his courage from.
It was strange, very strange, that he should discover infinite sources of strength inside himself now, when he was feeling so weak, so helpless. When faced with insurmountable pain and terror, real terror at something that he couldn’t believe would come to pass…
He remembered before this all had begun. Thinking about the difference between fear and worry. That you feared what you thought would come true and that worry was softer because you worried about things that couldn’t possibly happen. But Harry couldn’t possibly die. It just wasn’t bearable. And yet, Draco had never been so afraid.
There was a tinge of blue in the sky, and Draco cocked his head and watched it for a moment. The eastern horizon was slowly filling with colour. He glanced at Harry, pale, sleeping, and very still in the shadow of the chimney.
He took a hesitant step towards him, wanting to wake him, to touch him, to feel him breathe.
Two futures stretched ahead of him in the rising of the sun. One, full of burning funeral pyres and watching winter gardens bloom alone. The other, laughing and smiling and never ever letting go of Harry’s hand for fear that he’d slip away but knowing that, when the time came, he’d take Draco with him. Not yet, not yet. Not now.
“Harry?” he called softly, but Harry didn’t move. Biting his lip consideringly, Draco glanced once more at the rising sun. Birds were beginning to sing softly, and a misty sort of light was beginning to fall over the skyline.
Harry was dreaming, and in his dream, he was walking along a dirt road on a dark night. For the first little bit, he walked alone, though this did not surprise him. Soon enough, however, someone joined him, and together, they walked a short while in silence.
Curiosity overcame him and he turned to look at his companion. Hagrid stared back at him with dark, dark eyes that shone with tears. Feeling immeasurably better, Harry continued along the path with Hagrid silently beside him.
His eyes were fixed on a distant place where, just barely, he could make out the image of shadows, waiting for him.
“Are you scared?” asked his companion, and he turned again. Hagrid was gone, and now Albus Dumbledore walked beside him.
“No,” Dumbledore said. “What have I to fear?”
“Should I be scared?” he asked, frowning.
“It would not be shameful if you were,” was the reply. Feeling slightly comforted by this, Harry’s step was a little lighter as they kept walking.
He was considering Dumbledore’s words, but by the time he thought up a reply, Dumbledore was gone, and Hermione and Ron had taken his place. Harry was glad of that. This journey wasn’t nearly as long and tiresome as he’d been worried it was going to be.
He gave his reply to them. “I wouldn’t be scared, normally. It’s just… I don’t know the way.”
Hermione smiled her motherly smile and, though she did not touch him, Harry felt as though he’d just been hugged. “Don’t worry, it’s not so far now, we’ll walk with you.”
“All the way?” he asked.
Ron looked vaguely troubled. “As far as we can,” he allowed.
Harry nodded and they walked on and then they were gone and Sirius was there. “Forgive me,” Harry whispered.
“You’ve done nothing for which you should be ashamed, Harry.” Sirius’ voice was very gentle.
“I have. I took it all for granted. I wanted this.” He gestured to the world around him.
“The point of life, Harry, like with any story, is not that you learn the moral before the lesson has been taught. You saw the right of things before the end, and that is all that matters. You saw the error of your ways. The world is beautiful, Harry, there is no denying that. But what awaits you is more beautiful still.”
Harry looked towards the waiting shadows, which had come now even closer. He believed he could make out the faces of his parents, and his mother’s was streaked with ashes and tears.
But still, he looked back the way he had come. “I’m not sure I have the strength to let go. I don’t want to be forgotten.”
Sirius was gone, and Harry did not turn to look at the speaker who took his place. He knew without looking who it was. “You never really will. You don’t think I’m going to let you go?”
“Sometimes you don’t get a choice,” Harry said faintly.
“And if you did have a choice?”
His mother and father waited ahead, waiting for him, and the road back was long. His muscles ached and his eyes burned, and Harry was so very, very tired. Still, without hesitation, he turned to Draco with a trembling smile and said, “I’d do anything to do it all over again, even if it ended this way still. Had I a choice, you know I would not go.”
Draco smiled a bit and nodded, but he’d stopped walking. “I cannot follow you further,” he said. “The rest of it is yours to walk alone.”
That next step was the hardest Harry ever took, and then he turned and glanced over his shoulder at Draco, who watched solemnly. “I don’t want to be forgotten,” he called softly.
“The stars will sing of it,” was the reply, in a whisper. “We’re immortal, you and I.”
And then, walking backwards because everything he was leaving behind was so beautiful that Harry could not bear to look away, he lifted one hand and waved once, solemnly. Then he turned and walked forward, sleepy, weak, and aching for everything he’d left behind.
Ahead of him, Lily’s tears washed away the ashes that painted her face.
The sun had risen, casting a fine golden spider’s web over the entire world, and it shimmered in beautiful splendor. Draco sat on the edge of the roof, his feet swinging, his fists rhythmically clenching and unclenching. Dawn had come. He’d tried to slow things down, but dawn had come.
He was broken. Parts of him had crumbled to dust and others washed away like sand in a tide, and he didn’t know who he was anymore or who he’d be after this day was over. Choices had to be made, choices had been made, and everything that happened for the rest of his life would be a direct result of this day, this moment. He didn’t know who he was or what he had become, but the foundations were there now. Strong foundations.
Either way, he wondered if he’d be alright.
Funeral barges and winter wildflowers dancing in his eyes, he gathered his courage and crawled over to Harry’s side, smoothing his hair out of his eyes and shaking his shoulder gently.
“The sun’s up,” he called softly. “Harry?” his voice slipped an octave and trembled a little. “Harry.”
But Harry didn’t stir.
All of the things he was so scared of...
He said when it's getting kinda rough over here
I think about that day sitting down at the pier
And I close my eyes and see your pretty smile...
Don't worry but I won't be able to write for a while...
A/N: Thank you to every single person who reviewed this, because it's probably the hardest thing I've ever written, in terms of the emotion I had to pour into it, and every review made it worth it. Especially thanks to Sister Magpie, for a few things, her gorgeous review a few chapters back not the least of which. Also thanks to Aja, *smiles*, for her thoughts on cutting, which were quite memorable. Thanks to Umbralin, a brilliant beta, and Ani, another brilliant beta. Oh, and Donna, who read all of this months ago and told me she'd kill me if I changed the ending. Ani and Umbralin said more of the same, so thanks to them as well, for not letting me back out and rewrite this, no matter how scared I was that people would hate me for it. And thanks to Aarynn, for reading it and loving it and listening to me babble on about it.
The lyrics at the beginning of this chapter are from No Doubt's song Running, which I heard on the radio a thousand times while writing this, and the mood of the song fits the story, so I had to include them. The lyrics at the end are from The Dixie Chick song Travelling Soldier, which is just gorgeous, and also seemed to fit.
Thank you to everyone who supported me and this story, everyone who reviewed, and everyone who read it.