- Story Summary:
- Draco had no idea that the repercussions of stealing Potter's journal and shoving it down the back of his trousers would be so extreme. Featuring nefarious plots, the mating rituals of Slytherins, double-crossing spells, Ron/Pansy, and Draco/Harry.
- Chapter Summary:
- Draco had no idea that the repercussions of stealing Potter's journal and shoving it down the back of his trousers would be so extreme. Featuring nefarious plots, the mating rituals of Slytherins, double-crossing spells, Ron/Pansy, and Draco/Harry.
- Author's Note:
- First of all, sorry this one took a few days longer than the others, I didn't have internet access. Also, it has been brought to my attention that some of my plot resembles that of the roleplay Nocturne Alley, which I hadn't ever heard of until I was told that some things in my story resembled it. I certainly didn't intend it to.
Chapter SevenDestiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.
-William Jennings Bryan
The antidote worked and Harry’s fever broke the next day. He slept deeply, normally, until just after dusk, catching up on all the sleep he’d missed in the weeks of the progressive illness. When he finally woke, Draco was sitting at his bedside, elbows resting on the mattress, chin cupped in his hands, dark shadows under his eyes, and an oddly thoughtful look on his face.
He didn’t notice Harry had woken for a few minutes, and Harry studied Draco’s face silently through his lashes. His mind was muddled, his throat rough, and he was trying frantically to sort through his foggy memories and remember what had happened.
He swallowed heavily, trying to clear his throat, and Draco jumped. “Harry! I-I didn’t know…oh. How are you?”
“Thirsty,” Harry admitted.
“Oh. Oh, yeah, Pomfrey left some potion…” He hopped off his chair and went to a nearby table, pouring the Throat Soothing Potion into a goblet, and passing it to Harry, who sat up and sipped it. It tasted like warm honey and made it easier to talk.
Draco was watching his face carefully, as if waiting for him to say something, anything. Harry couldn’t think of what it could be that he was supposed to be talking about. “It was the ink. You… you poisoned me.”
Draco’s eyes slid away. “Harry, I didn’t mean to,” he said quietly. “Honestly. I didn’t know… it wasn’t supposed to…”
Harry frowned thoughtfully. He vaguely remembered having this argument before but it was hard to pick apart the memories from the dreams. “You expect me to believe you?” he asked, no accusation or anger in his tone, only confusion. “I could have died.”
Draco swallowed. “I know.”
Tilting his head thoughtfully, Harry studied him again, trying to think of something to say, anything to say. He just didn’t know how to make things better. This had only proven what he’d known all along. That he shouldn’t trust Draco. That he should know better. But he wanted to trust him. “Give me a reason to trust you,” he said finally. “What have you done that shows me I can trust you?”
He should have snapped something about how Malfoys didn’t have to prove themselves to anyone, but Draco didn’t. He stared down at Harry in surprise, and then said slowly, “I…if I was trying to kill you, I would have. Last night, when I… You were sick and weak, if I wanted you dead, it would have been so easy.” He said the last bit defiantly.
Harry smiled slowly and whispered, “Oh, I remember. You told me secrets.”
Draco winced but didn’t reply.
“Most of it’s all very blurry. What happened? I… I remember we fought, outside in the snow, but I can’t remember what we really said.”
Draco smiled strangely and shrugged. “Nothing. Nothing happened, nothing at all. We fought and shouted and then you passed out. That’s all.”
“What happened after that?” Harry asked, narrowing his eyes. Strange images that must have come from dreams were flickering in his memory, cloudy and disjointed.
“I carried you back inside and Snape made the antidote and it worked. Simple.”
With the strange feeling that Draco was neglecting to mention something, Harry licked his lips. “Is it better now? I’m alright?”
“I think so.” Draco picked up one of Harry’s hands and studied it. “The ink stains are gone. If only you weren’t so messy, Potter,” he said, shaking his head with a rueful smile.
“So… so, Draco, the ink didn’t work?”
Draco’s eyes slid away from his and he let go of Harry’s hand. “I messed up an important ingredient,” he said with a shrug. “You’re not under my spell or anything.”
Harry smiled but didn’t say anything. He was exhausted, and lay back on the pillows. “It’s alright,” he said sleepily. “It couldn’t have been all that bad, being under your spell. You’re not as bad as you like to pretend.”
Draco snorted. “How would you know?”
“You told me,” Harry whispered, closing his eyes and smiling. “I remember.” He fell asleep with a low purring sound in the back of his throat, nestling into the pillow.
Draco studied him for a long moment, before turning away. He paused at the door, glancing over his shoulder. “You’re wrong,” he said quietly, but Harry didn’t hear.
Snape, still sour and cold, came early the next morning to check on Harry, making sure all traces of the potion had been destroyed. Harry watched him through his lashes, awkward because he didn’t know how to deal with his professor any longer. He didn’t know how much Draco had told him.
Snape didn’t speak either, until after he’d checked Harry over. Then, his voice was curt. “Stupid thing to do, Potter, poisoning yourself.”
He opened his mouth to point out that he hadn’t poisoned himself, and then snapped it shut. After all, Snape surely knew at least that much. “It was an accident,” he said instead of setting things right. After all, it had been an accident. Just not his. He didn’t know why he was protecting Draco when Snape probably already knew that Draco was the only one with the potion skills besides Hermione to brew the Potion. It was for the same reason that he refused to question why he didn’t hate Draco for the entire affair. His mind refused to focus on just what that reason was, however. Instead, he concentrated only on Draco’s voice, talking for hours, whispering secrets about himself that didn’t matter, so much as they were secrets he’d shared only with Harry. That mattered far more than the potion that had accidentally poisoned him.
His upper curled, and Snape sneered, “If only you weren’t so messy, Potter. But no matter, I’ve managed to stop the poison. You’ll make a complete recovery and be back to disrupting my classroom in no time, I’m sure.”
“Professor Snape, there’s something I don’t understand,” Harry said finally. “I stopped using the ink a few days ago, and the illness still got worse.”
“It’s a progressive poison. You touch it once, and it’s in your blood. If untreated, it gains in potency inside the body, and kills.”
“Ah. But… but it’s gone, right? I’m alright?”
Snape nodded curtly. “Those effects have been neutralized, yes.”
When Harry asked nervously what other effects there were, Snape smiled in a disagreeable fashion and didn’t reply.
Harry was released from the hospital wing later that day, with orders to rest and go to class the next day if he was feeling sufficiently stronger. Any relapse of the symptoms and he was required to return to Madam Pomfrey at once.
He let himself into the common room and for a moment, thought it was empty. It wasn’t.
“Harry!” Ginny cried, leaping up from the chair by the fire she’d been curled up in. “Are you alright? Ron said you were sick!”
“I’m fine,” Harry said awkwardly.
She licked her lips nervously. “Uh, Harry, were you sick on Halloween, too? Is that why you… you kissed me like that?”
Harry had the sinking suspicion that Ginny would freak out even worse than she already had if she knew that it hadn’t been him at all on Halloween. He ran a hand through his hair. “Sort of…”
“So you didn’t really want to kiss me?”
“I, uh. That’s not the point.” Curiosity overrode good common sense. “Ginny, to be honest, I don’t even remember what happened that night. Can you— Can you tell me?”
Ginny’s eyes widened a little bit, and she sat heavily back in her chair, tucking her feet underneath her. “I-I guess. Alright.”
Harry sat down beside her. “I don’t remember,” he said again.
She nodded. “Well, I… don’t really… it’s sort of foggy. Apparently the punch was spiked.” She grimaced.
“What do you remember?”
She swallowed hard. “First you kissed me, here,” she pointed to the hollow of her throat.
Harry’s eyes followed her fingers, studying her neck, shifting as a strange sort of intimacy he’d never known before washed over him. It didn’t really have anything to do with Ginny, though it was her face and her neck and, most of all, her lips he was focused on. “Then what?” he asked, his voice thick.
“You… you kissed me. I didn’t know how. But you… taught me how.”
“Do you remember how?”
Her face blushed fiery red. “Yes.”
“Show me… Will you…” he cleared his throat. He didn’t know what he was asking for or why he wanted it, but he wanted to know how Draco had kissed her.
“You want me to kiss you?” she asked breathlessly.
Harry nodded wordlessly and Ginny slid closer, playing with her hair and looking pale. “Just like you kissed me?” Harry nodded again.
Ginny studied his face and Harry studied hers. She didn’t say anything else, just leaned up, her mouth opened the tiniest bit, and pressed her lips to his. Her entire body was trembling, and Harry growled softly in annoyance. He was quite sure Draco hadn’t been shaking when he’d kissed her.
It didn’t taste right either, and at first, Harry was completely put off. He hadn’t closed his eyes, and he watched her pale, freckled face while she kissed him, firelight flickering in the red highlights in her hair. She gained a bit of confidence and started kissing him the way Harry was sure Draco had kissed her.
It wasn’t right, it wasn’t worth it. She tasted like peaches, and Harry hated peaches. He pulled away and ran a hand through his hair.
Ginny was frowning. “That wasn’t… That was…strange.” She was still shaking, and Harry scowled. Draco would never tremble over a kiss.
“I-I’ve got to go,” he said suddenly, standing up. Ginny watched him, still looking confused.
“Sorry, I’m just… so tired. I’ll see you tomorrow, alright? I’ve got to rest Pomfrey said I should—”
She leapt up. “Of course, I didn’t mean to… to keep you down here. Go on. I’ll see you at breakfast, if you’re feeling better.”
He nodded distractedly and hurried from the room.
“Feeling better, Harry?” Hermione asked first thing the next morning when Harry stumbled into the common room, still half asleep.
“Yes,” he replied. “A little tired, but fine.”
She smiled, relieved. “Oh, good, we were so worried. No one would tell us what was wrong, and after the spell I did, we thought Voldemort--”
“It was… It was something from Potions class,” Harry said quickly, shifting nervously. She’d kill Draco if she knew what had really happened. “I was clumsy and got it all over my hands.”
She frowned. “But Harry, what—”
“I don’t really want to talk about it,” Harry interrupted, smiling to take the sting out of his words. “I don’t want to remember. It was… it was horrible.”
Patting his shoulder, she said soothingly, “Of course, Harry. I’m just glad you’re alright.” She let the topic drop, though she still looked suspicious.
They went to the Great Hall together, eating breakfast, though Ginny was jumpy and unusually silent.
They were making their way to class after breakfast when Pansy pushed her way through the crowds. “Ron!” she called, and Ron stopped, grinning widely at her. She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him as people all around pressed by, hurrying to class. When Pansy tackled Ron, it unbalanced Harry, who’d been standing too close, and knocked him into Ginny.
“Are you alright?” he asked breathlessly, grabbing her wrist to steady her. She grabbed his hand for balance, and before Harry could pull away, someone spoke from behind him.
“Potter.” The voice was quiet, he was surprised he even heard it over the noise, but he heard it just the same, and spun around, Ginny spinning with him. It was Draco, and his eyes lingered on Harry’s face before slipping down to his hand, held tightly by Ginny, and then up to Ginny’s face. His smile was sharp, sarcastic. “Cute.”
“Draco,” Harry said quietly, nervously. He tried to drop Ginny’s hand but she was clinging in terror.
“Leave us alone, Malfoy,” she cried shrilly.
Pansy and Ron were still kissing, and Harry couldn’t escape without leaving Ginny there to face Draco alone, however much he wanted to escape Draco’s cold gray eyes. “What, are you two ‘going steady’ now?” Draco drawled disdainfully.
Harry opened his mouth to deny it, but Ginny spoke before he could. “It’s none of your business!”
Draco laughed. “Oh, don’t kid yourself into thinking I care, Weasley. I don’t know what shocks me more, that Potter’s lowered his standards enough to be with someone like you, or that someone as frigid as you even lets him hold your hand.”
Harry nearly laughed, which would have been disastrous. Instead, he swallowed the urge, because Ginny looked like she was going to cry. He said quietly, “That’s not necessary, Malfoy.”
This time, when Draco’s eyes met his, they weren’t cold. They were burning with fury. “Oh, I find it very necessary,” he snapped, pushing past.
Harry vaguely heard Pansy say breathlessly, “Meet me for lunch,” before she hurried to follow Draco to Potions.
“I don’t like him,” Ginny snarled. She was still holding Harry’s hand, and Harry didn’t reply. He let go of her hand and she shot him a hurt glare.
He didn’t know why he was so furious.
Who was he kidding? Of course he knew why he was furious. But Draco didn’t want to dwell on it. It was stupid. It was a waste of time. It was wrong.
He threw another stone onto the freshly frozen surface of the lake, and it tore a chunk of ice off that glittered like glass in the sunlight. He smiled grimly in a satisfied sort of way and then dug in the snow for another rock.
He’d skipped his first class. He just didn’t want to go. He was so angry. Snape would just have to deal with it. It wasn’t like Draco needed to go to class. He knew everything he needed to know… well, except that Gobbler’s Ink was poisonous. But he knew that now.
Another stone ricocheted off the lake, the cracking sound splitting the air.
He was still throwing stones a while later when there were footsteps behind him. He knew who it was; he didn’t have to turn.
“You shouldn’t be out here,” he said quietly. “You’re still weak.”
Harry snorted but didn’t reply at first. When he did speak, it had nothing to do with his illness. “You weren’t in Potions.”
“No, I wasn’t.”
“I thought maybe you’d be by our tree.”
Draco finally glanced over his shoulder, flicking his blond hair out of his eyes and smiling a little. “Why’d you think that?”
Harry shrugged. “Dunno. But I heard the rocks hitting the ice.” Draco didn’t reply. “It’s strange,” Harry said to break the silence. “I can’t remember the lake ever having frozen before.”
“It freezes every winter,” Draco said. “The squid breaks up the ice every night, just before dawn. We can hear it from the Slytherin dungeon. Cracks like bones.”
Silence. Harry sighed. “Draco.”
“What?” Draco snapped.
“What’s wrong? I don’t understand.”
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Are you… are you jealous?”
Draco’s eyes widened and he laughed scornfully. It came out sounding brittle. “Of what?”
“I…don’t know. But in the hall today, she just grabbed my hand. I’d bumped into her, that’s all. We aren’t…together or anything.” Harry replied with a shrug. He had brushed the snow off a log and sat down heavily on it. “And you did snog her. Maybe you fancy her, how am I supposed to know?”
For one, wild second, Draco feared he was going to cry. Not because he was sad or anything of the sort. Because Harry had it so backwards, so morbidly wrong, that it was hilarious. The very idea that he could ever fancy Ginny Weasley…
He laughed instead, hysterically.
After he’d calmed down a little, Draco was able to say, “Let’s just… forget it, alright?” Then he glanced at Harry again, who was looking exasperated, confused, and a little amused, and he started laughing all over again.
“Alright,” Harry agreed, though Draco was laughing too hard to hear. Harry didn’t even know what it was supposed to be that they were forgetting. He half feared that he’d already forgotten it. Or that maybe… maybe it was something from one of his feverish dreams. “Will you still help me with Potions?” Harry asked after a pause.
Draco glanced at him out of the corner of his eyes. “Nothing better to do,” he said with a lopsided, very amused smile.
They continued working together, and Harry began to rely more and more on those hours as a means of escape. After all, since that morning after breakfast, Ginny seemed to have taken his rejection of her to heart, and she insisted on watching him with wide, teary eyes. It was maddening. Ron, too, seemed to only ever look at him with reproach in his eyes.
It was mid November and winter had taken a firm grasp on Hogwarts, capturing the grounds in a frigid cap of ice and snow that would last until spring. That meant that there were less places for Harry to hide. He couldn’t spend hours alone outside in the freezing cold, and someone always managed to find him inside the castle. More and more, he found himself alone in the tower, working on the Potions essay until all hours of the night. Draco learned that whenever he wanted to find Harry, he needed only to search in the South Tower and he was virtually assured of finding him.
He’d spend hours up there with Harry as well, explaining things Harry didn’t understand, teaching him whatever he felt necessary to mention in the essay.
On the night before the essay was due, Draco went up to the tower, expecting to find Harry writing frantically. At first, when he stepped into the tower room, he thought it was empty. His Potions notebook, which Harry had borrowed, lay open on the floor however, pages ruffling in the freezing breeze that blew through the open window.
“Harry?” Draco called, approaching the window. He stuck his head out cautiously, looking first down at the ground, half afraid Harry had jumped. He hadn’t, and Draco was about to turn back when Harry called his name from up above. Draco looked up. “You’re on the roof!” he cried.
Harry grinned. “I know. It’s lovely up here.”
“Shouldn’t you be working?”
“I’ve gone over everything twice, there’s nothing more to write. I can’t possibly cram any more into my essay than I have already.”
“So you climbed onto the tower roof.”
“Yes. It’s lovely up here,” Harry repeated. “Come up.”
“Oh no. I don’t do roofs. Heights. No.”
Harry’s eyes widened. “Draco Malfoy, afraid of heights? You’re joking. You’re a Seeker, Draco. You fly on a broomstick.”
“Exactly, I can control that. I can’t control roofs!” Draco felt slightly nauseous just standing at the window. “I think it’s a Slytherin thing, really. That’s why our dorms are in the dungeons.”
Harry laughed and extended his hand towards Draco. “It’ll be fine, I won’t let you fall. C’mon. Climb onto the sill, grab my hand, and I’ll pull you up. If Ron and Pansy can do it, you can. She’s a Slytherin too, after all.”
“I didn’t say I couldn’t do it,” Draco snapped. “I said I wouldn’t.” Despite his words, however, and ignoring his shaking hands and better judgment, he slid onto the windowsill until his feet were dangling far above the ground.Not looking down, he reached up and grabbed Harry’s hands. “Don’t worry,” Harry said lazily, snickering. “If you slip, I’ll catch you with a levitation spell before you hit the ground.”
“If I slip?” Draco cried, but half a second later, Harry yanked on his hands and jerked him up onto the roof until he was sitting on the cold, rough surface right beside Harry.
Draco was breathing heavily and Harry smiled at him. “Not so hard, see? And it’s lovely, I told you.”
They could see far in all directions, the silver moonlight reflecting off the icy snow until it was lost in the darkness of the forest, and everything was very still, hushed. “It is,” Draco agreed grudgingly.
“This is how Pansy and Ron escaped the tower,” Harry told him. “They lowered themselves down to that wall there and walked across it to the window we saw them come through.”
There was silence for a while, as Draco looked around, feeling strangely calmer now, even if he was so high up. He was beside Harry, however, and somehow, that made him feel…safe. As if Harry really would have time to catch him before he fell.
Harry was inspecting Draco’s face in the moonlight, the silver lights making his hair even paler, his face smoother, younger. “Have you ever thought about how strange this all is?” he asked finally.
Draco smirked. “All the time. It’s wrong.”
“It is, isn’t it?” Harry asked quietly, fiddling with the sleeve of his robes. He was shivering.
Draco looked at him and shrugged. It was silent for a while, and Harry smiled self-consciously and shrugged, resting his head on his knees, which were pulled up to his chest. His breath was fogging up his glasses and he was shivering with cold, but for the life of him, he couldn’t think of a single place he’d rather be.
“You’re staying over the Christmas holidays, aren’t you?” Harry asked suddenly.
Draco glanced at him. “Yeah. Why?”
“I was suddenly worried I’d have to sit up here by myself over the holidays.” Harry smiled.
“You won’t. I’m the only Slytherin staying.”
He sounded quiet, and Harry turned to look at him thoughtfully, remembering that first night, seeing Draco drunk in the forest. “Draco… why aren’t you going home?”
Draco tilted his head and remained silent, staring at the snowy ground, and Harry thought he wasn’t going to answer. He was surprised when Draco said abruptly, “My mother died, Harry, did you know? Last summer.”
“I…I’m sorry.” Harry didn’t know what to say.
Draco smiled, though it was a grim, nasty looking smile. “Father doesn’t want me home because I nearly cried when she died. It’s weakness. He said… that if I hadn’t been so weak, my mother never would have died at all.”
“He blamed you?” Harry whispered. “It couldn’t have been you’re fault.”
“It was, indirectly, I guess.” Draco glanced at Harry sideways, and then focused his eyes on the ground. He was wondering whether or not he had the courage to tell Harry the truth, and was faintly surprised when he found that he did. “The most important thing to a Malfoy, besides money, is an heir, and I was supposed to be my father’s. I was never good enough. Oh, I wasn’t abused or anything, and I was his son, he was just never proud of me. I was a weak boy, born too early. My mother wasn’t made for having children, I was born too early, weak lungs, all of that. Father wasn’t impressed and he’d been trying to get a real heir ever since. He almost succeeded, the baby should have been born over the summer. She died in childbirth.” His voice remained toneless while he spoke, though his hand shook the tiniest bit.
Harry was quiet for a long moment, and then he took a deep breath. “And your father blames you.”
“If I was stronger, they’d never have tried having another.”
“That’s not your fault.”
“I know. He doesn’t feel the same. I tried, I mean, when I was a child, I was always smaller, but I was strong. Tried to do everything the way he wanted. Mother was proud of me. I wouldn’t have —” His voice nearly cracked and Draco grew furious. “I wouldn’t ever have hurt her.”
“It wasn’t your fault.”
Draco shrugged. “She’s dead, the baby died, and Father doesn’t want me home. It doesn’t matter, Potter.”
Harry studied his face for a moment in silence and then nodded, turning back to stare up at the moon. “What was it like?” he asked quietly a short while later. “Having a mother, I mean.”
Draco smiled a little crookedly, sadly. “She never minded when I was sick as a child. She always brought me food and petted my hair and read me stories until I was better.”
“I bet my mum would have been like that.”
They were quiet for a long time, shivering together in the cold and staring thoughtfully out at the snow-covered grounds. The silence between them wasn’t awkward; not a word had been spoken, but a thousand things had been said. Nothing had to be put into words because they both understood what the other kept silent.
Two days later, as they waited for Potions class to begin, Hermione was nervously biting her nails and Ron was paler than usual, casting Harry pitying glances.
“He probably marked it massively hard.”
“I’m not worried, Ron,” Harry said easily.
“He shouldn’t have made you do it,” Hermione growled. “You’d just been sick.”
“Hermione, honestly, it’ll be fine.”
Snape swept into the room with a fierce scowl. He stalked to the front of the room, spun on his heel, slammed Harry’s essay down on his own desk, and snarled, “Which of you Gryffindors helped him?” His eyes were trained on Hermione, who had gone horribly pale.
“None of them, sir. Why, did I do well?”
Draco, sitting in the front row, smirked over his shoulder and Harry smiled. “He’s telling the truth, sir,” Draco said suddenly, and Snape, for the first time ever, looked like he wanted to murder his favourite student.
“And how, Malfoy, would you know?” he asked silkily instead.
Malfoy shrugged. “I saw him at it, sir. Researching and such, by himself. Trust me, if he’d have let those filthy Gryffindors help him even once, I’d tell you. I’d like nothing better than to have the prat kicked out of school, as you well know. However,” he scowled in disgust, “he didn’t do anything wrong. Did he do well?” There was a hint of anxiety in the last question that anyone listening would have taken for hope that Harry had failed. Harry, however, knew better.
“What’s he doing, sticking up for you?” Hermione hissed. Harry didn’t reply.
Snape slammed the exam on Harry’s table and walked away without another word. “A ‘B’?” Harry said out loud, surprise in his tone.
“Oh, don’t worry, Harry!” Hermione said soothingly. “A B’s not so bad.”
“It’s bloody brilliant!” Harry, who had only been aiming to pass, cried, stealing Ron’s favourite phrase. Ron was grinning broadly.
“It is,” he agreed, and Snape tossed a malevolent look over his shoulder. Draco was staring down at his desk in an attempt to hide his smile, lest anyone think he was glad Harry had passed. He was glad, but that was hardly the point.
That night, Harry fed Hedwig an owl treat and tied the letter to Sirius he’d written earlier to her leg, watching her fly away into the night. Then, aching with exhaustion, he curled up under the covers, asleep nearly instantly.
He dreamed of gauzy shadow fingers with claws brushing over his entire body, the sharp scratching of the nails contrasting with the wispy breath of shadow against his skin and eyes. He began to scratch his arms in his sleep, trying to keep the cold, sharp shadows away from his skin.
He awoke so suddenly that at first, Harry thought it must have been his scar hurting that had woken him. He clapped one hand to his forehead, but there was no pain, and he squinted into the darkness.
Someone was standing over him.
Harry sat up so quickly that they nearly bumped heads, simultaneously reaching for his glasses and his wand. Before he could reach his glasses, they were swept from the table and he nearly panicked. He couldn’t curse an enemy he couldn’t see, after all.
Before he could scream, his glasses were suddenly jammed rather roughly, crookedly, onto his face and then, a good deal more gently, pushed up the bridge of his nose.
He blinked up into the darkness, struggling to see who it was.
It was Draco, and he was grinning like a madman.
“What are you doing in here?” Harry yelped. Dean rolled over and started mumbling in his sleep.
“Shh,” Draco hissed. “Come here, I want to show you something.”
He grabbed Harry’s hand and tugged forcefully, the natural motion questioned by neither as Harry let himself be pulled out of bed. “Show me what?” he mumbled sleepily, even as he stumbled, barefoot, out of the room and down the stone stairs.
Draco didn’t reply. The window he’d climbed in was still open, and huge, wet snowflakes were blowing in, swirling in the cold wind.
“You climbed the wall,” Harry said dumbly, staring at the snow quickly piling up on the floor.
He grinned. “You told me how. You didn’t think I wouldn’t remember how Pansy and Weasley escaped the tower, did you? C’mon.”
Through the window, across the wall, and up the other tower they went, Harry’s bare feet slipping on the snowy stone, though he didn’t notice. He was still half asleep, wearing his pajamas, and Draco was holding his hand. For some reason, the rest didn’t seem to matter.
Draco pulled him up onto the tower and them spun him around so that he was standing on the edge, facing outwards. “Look,” he breathed, the word misting from his lips.
Huge, lacy flakes of snow were swirling madly from the clouds, enclosing them in another world of white lace and cold wind. The flakes melted the instant they hit Harry’s face.
“What?” he asked, distractedly. He was staring down at where Draco’s hand was still clasping his.
“It’s snowing,” Draco said. He had the look of an excited little boy, his face was glowing, and Harry realized he’d never seen such a look of pure excitement, not hidden by a casual sneer or a sarcastic smirk on Draco’s face. He turned back to look at the snow, determined, this time, to see it as Draco did.
“Alright,” he said finally, as Draco’s fingers shifted around his hand. He was hoping that Draco wouldn’t realize he was holding it and that he wouldn’t let go, and spoke only to distract him.
“Alright, what?” Draco asked.
Draco looked at him out of the corner of his eyes and burst out laughing. It rang sharply in the air and he dimly thought that he’d laughed more in the last few days with Harry than in all the rest of his life.
Harry rolled his eyes, watching Draco’s face. He was still feeling rather groggy and snow had melted on his glasses, giving everything a hazy, dreamlike look. Rather like those dreams of he and Draco from when he’d been ill. Of him kissing Draco. Which certainly couldn’t have been real.
Draco tilted his head back, staring up at the snow for a moment, and then back at Harry. “My mother had this snow globe,” he said finally. “Father gave it to her when they were dating, when they both went to this school. He’d bought it in Hogsmeade, it was just a cheap little thing, which is why I was so surprised, to find it in a box one summer when I was eight or so. It was Hogwarts, and the snow inside was enchanted to swirl like this forever and never stop. I don’t know what happened to it, but it was just like this.”
“Somehow, I can’t see Lucius buying his date anything cheap,” Harry commented.
Draco smiled. “I know. And I can’t see my mother keeping anything cheap. It was strange.”
“You woke me up to bring me out here to watch it snow because your father bought your mother a cheap gift.”
“Mmm. Yes. And… I was lonely.” He shrugged, looking away. “I was just up here thinking.” He suddenly noticed Harry’s feet, slowly turning blue in the snow. “Shit, Harry! You didn’t grab any shoes!”
“You didn’t give me time!” Harry cried. He watched a little nervously as Draco lifted his feet, one by one, and conjured up shoes for them, shoes that seemed enchanted to keep his feet warm. He then conjured up a huge fleece blanket and wrapped it around Harry’s shoulders. Shivering as he snuggled into it, Harry smiled gratefully.
“It is pretty,” he said, glancing around again. “The snow, I mean.”
Draco smiled. “Mmm hmm.”
“I’m glad you woke me up.”
It was quite for a while, the soft sort of quiet that isn’t awkward and doesn’t need to be filled. Harry, warm under the blanket Draco had made him, was lost in thought for a few moments. Finally, he asked, “When you’re choosing someone to spend the rest of your life with, do you think you ought to pick someone just like you? Or…”
“Someone who completes you.”
Draco was quiet for a short while, and then he said, “It depends on what you want. If you want things to be calm and orderly and for everything to be perfect and neat, pick someone just like you, because their weaknesses will be yours, your strengths will be theirs, and there will be no struggle for dominance or superiority because everything will be equal.”
Harry scowled. “What if I don’t want that? It sounds rather stagnant.”
“What do you want to do then?”
Maybe it was the snow, giving things a fantasy-like glow. Maybe it was the droplets on his glasses making things seem like a dream. Whatever it was, it caused Harry’s eyes to narrow the tiniest bit as he studied Draco in the darkness. Snowflakes were clinging to Draco’s eyelashes, and Harry watched with fascination when Draco blinked and they spilled off, disappearing in an instant when they touched his face.
Unnerved by his stare, Draco turned away, looking straight ahead, and he opened his mouth to say something, anything.
Harry didn’t give him the chance. He reached up, his fingers touching Draco’s jaw, applying the slightest pressure, and that’s all it took. Draco turned his face back, eyes widening a fraction with something that looked a little like fear (Draco Malfoy, afraid of Harry Potter? Absurd.). Harry studied his face for an endless second before closing his eyes and kissing him very gently. It seemed the thing to do, because he was cold and Draco looked so warm… and because Draco surely, surely couldn’t kiss as perfectly in real life as he had in those feverish dreams in the forest.
Draco was holding very still, almost as if he were afraid that if he moved, he’d scare Harry away. His chest shuddered as he let out a breath he’d been holding so long that it had made him dizzy, and the breath misted between them. Harry smiled, a quick, lopsided smile that Draco felt against his lips, and then pressed closer.
It was very gentle, more of an exploration, an experiment, than a kiss, just lips against lips and the touch of fingertips along cheekbones and necks and throats. Very fragile, it was given an otherworldly cast in the swirling, softly falling snow.
Draco’s eyes widened and then closed at the first brush of Harry’s tongue against his lower lip, and he finally moved, responding to something he had at first not known how to respond to. He opened his mouth and Harry pressed even closer, eyes closed now, breathing faster, almost nervous.
It wasn’t a long kiss, just a bare taste, and then Harry was pulling away, the tip of his tongue brushing his own lips in a subconscious effort to prolong it.
Draco swallowed. “I thought you didn’t remember,” he said huskily.
Harry’s eyes narrowed. “I thought it was a dream.”
A quick smile twisted Draco’s lips and disappeared just as fast, and then there was silence as they both struggled to think things through as quickly as they could. Harry’s heart was pounding and he could taste Draco in his mouth and the taste was making it hard to think, hard to breathe. All he knew was that he wanted to taste it again, and taste more, and yet he knew if he did, he’d shatter because he’d never tasted anything that made him want to fall apart as that did. Indescribable.
He found himself staring hungrily at Draco’s lips and forced himself to look away. There were…repercussions to think of… and he wasn’t sure what he was doing.
But he knew he wanted to do it.
“You asked me what I wanted to do,” he said at length.
Draco watched him in silence, warily.
“I don’t know,” Harry said finally, “but I know I want to do it with you.”
Draco tilted his head thoughtfully, studying Harry in the darkness. “I don’t think you understand what this means.”
“Then who cares?”
“Fuck, Draco, shut up, who cares, have you ever done anything that made no sense only because you wanted to and it felt good?”
Draco blinked, surprised. “Harry, I think that’s my line. I’m the wild and unpredictable Slytherin, remember?”
“Well then bloody well start acting the part.” He sounded like a petulant little boy but Harry didn’t care. He was feeling rather rejected and hated the feeling. “Not everything ends the way you think it should.”
Before Draco could reply, Harry pushed himself a little, sliding on the icy roof and slipping over the edge. He whispered a charm to thicken the air just as he slipped off the tower, and by the time he neared the ground, it had come into effect and it was just like landing on a pile of pillows. He lowered himself carefully to the ground, falling backwards into the snow. It had been an easy way to removing himself from the situation, and that had been the point, after all. It had been fun as well, falling through the snow like a falling star.
“Harry!” Draco shrieked, suddenly peering over the edge of the tower. “What the fuck is wrong with you? Are you alright? Shit!”
Harry sat up, laughing. “Did you think that was a suicide attempted? Honestly, Draco, being rejected by you would hardly drive me to that!”
Draco sounded exasperated. “I didn’t reject you, Harry, I just…” He dragged one hand through his hair. “How come you’re not splattered all over the ground?”
“I caught myself with a spell. I hardened the air until it was thick enough to slow my fall before I hit the ground.”
Draco looked intrigued. “And it was fun? Falling that way?”
“Oh, yes. Almost the way a falling star would feel, I’d imagine.”
“Falling stars don’t feel, Potter,” Draco said distractedly. Harry suddenly remembered he had a fear of heights.
“I’ll catch you,” he called softly. “I promise.”
Draco slipped, or maybe he jumped. He could never quite remember. All he knew was that one moment he was sitting high above, barely able to see Harry far below, and the next moment he was falling, spinning, like a top or even a falling star.
Harry did catch him before he hit the ground, the air hardening and causing him to bounce a little, coming to rest four feet or so above the ground, right above Harry, who stared up at him, startled, for a few seconds. Their breath mixed in the air between them. “Should have warned me you were going to jump,” Harry whispered. “I nearly didn’t have time to catch you.”
Draco smiled. “You wouldn’t have let me fall.”
Harry lowered him to the snow and Draco lay beside him, and for a long while, neither spoke. The snow fell all around and their breath misted in the air.
A snowball came out of nowhere and smacked Harry in the side of the face. By the time his outraged squeal had died, Draco was already up and running away, laughing.
Mumbling wrathfully to himself, Harry scooped up some snow in his frozen fingers and took off after Draco using a quick spell to give the snowball both speed and accuracy. It hit Draco in the back of the head, abruptly cutting off his laughter, and the war had begun in earnest.
It was impossible to tell who was winning, only moments later as they chased each other across the grounds throwing slushy snowballs. Both of them were soaking wet, their hair streaming, their faces flushed as they laughed breathlessly. Harry hardly noticed the cold, though he wore only his pajamas, Draco’s blanket left far above, on the roof.
Draco had just hit Harry in the back with a huge snowball, causing him to fall on his face in the snow, and Harry scooped up as much snow as he could carry, packing it into a huge ball. He got up and growled softly under his breath, searching for Draco. He found him and took off after him, gaining only because his legs were longer and Draco didn’t seem to be trying all that hard to get away. Harry didn’t want to use magic this time. Revenge was sweeter if it was unaided by magic.
He was about to slam the snow down on Draco’s head when Draco spun suddenly, grabbing his wrists and trying to force him to drop the snow. Harry fought, kicking Draco’s shins, laughing as he tried to twist away, and moments later, he finally stopped struggling, panting wildly and caught securely in a headlock, his back pressed against Draco’s chest and one of Draco’s arms around his neck.
“Fine,” he gasped. “You win.”
“Drop it,” Draco ordered, flipping wet hair out of his face.
Harry’s fingers twitched as he nearly did as commanded and then, at the last second, he swung the snowball upwards and over his head, smashing it down on Draco’s. Cursing in outrage as snow slid down his shirt, Draco squeezed his eyes shut and flinched, burying his head in Harry’s shoulder as he waited for the burning cold to subside. When it had, he growled, “Oh, you’ll pay for that one, Potter.”
Harry turned his head, and Draco’s was still resting on his shoulder, so his lips nearly brushed Draco’s cheek. “I will, will I?” he said teasingly. Draco’s arm was still wrapped around his neck, one hand tightly wrapped around Harry’s left arm. Snow was running down Draco’s face, dripping onto Harry’s shoulder.
“Yes,” Draco replied in a thick voice, shifting suddenly though he made no move to pull away. His eyes flickered up to Harry’s eyes and then down to his lips, so close to his own. There was a heartbeat’s hesitation and then it was gone and Draco slammed his lips against Harry’s. The angle was awkward, Harry’s neck straining as he turned, his back still pressed against Draco’s chest, but still that made it somehow more rough, wild, and erotic. It wasn’t an exploration, it was an act of possession, as Draco forced Harry’s mouth open and ran his tongue inside, lapping up the melted snow that had gathered on his lower lip. His hands ran through Harry’s hair, down his back, onto his shoulders, and when the awkward angle grew too much and he wanted to be closer, he dug his fingers into Harry’s shoulders and jerked him roughly around.
Harry really didn’t mind. It was a sort of battle for dominance after that, just like every thing between them had ever been. This was a war like everything else was for them, a war fought with teeth and tongue and hands pawing and ripping at clothing.
Harry panted as Draco broke the kiss and bent lower to bite Harry’s neck, hard enough to bruise.
“Mmm,” Harry mumbled distractedly, shivering with cold even as a feeling not unlike the delirious fever of before ran hotly through his veins. “Cold.”
Draco glanced up from the mark he’d been leaving on the side of Harry’s neck. His eyes were cloudy. “What?”
Draco glanced around, his eyes narrowing. “Oh. It’s snowing.” He sounded vaguely surprised, as if he’d forgotten.
Harry smiled, rolling his eyes and shivering. “Yeah.”
Stepping away shakily, Draco said in a lost sort of voice, “Harry. I…oh for fuck’s sake, do up your pajamas, you’ll get sick again.” He sounded angry now, and Harry laughed, even as his fingers hurriedly did the buttons back up. One of them was missing.
Draco looked mussed, his face flushed with what could have been cold, had Harry not known better.
“What were you…” Harry licked his lips. “What were you going to do?”
Draco looked surprised. “Just now?”
He shifted a little. “Knowing me, I was going to fuck you till you forgot your own name and had to scream mine instead.” He smirked. “At least, that’s the way it always seems with anyone else I do it with.”
Harry’s eyes widened. “Oh.” He cleared his throat. “You’ve done…things like this before.”
“Not exactly like…this…”
“What’s different, then?”
“The fact that it’s snowing. The fact that I didn’t go through with it.” He smirked now, rolling his eyes. “And the fact that you’re not female.”
“You still could.”
“Go through with it. If you…wanted.” Harry looked away.
“Smashing idea, Harry, let’s have wild passionate sex in the snow, catch our deaths of a cold, and die of hypothermia. I think this whole proving fate wrong thing of yours is going a little far.”
“What if I’m trying to prove fate’s right this time?”
There was silence for a long time, and Draco was frantically trying to think of an excuse, any excuse, because he was terrified of the solemn trust in Harry’s eyes. You shouldn’t trust me, he wanted to scream. How could Harry trust him when he couldn’t even trust himself? “It’s cold,” he whispered weakly.
Harry pulled out his wand and whispered a short spell. The air around them sparkled with heat that only they could feel and did not affect the snow at all. “It’s not,” Harry countered softly.
“Fuck,” Draco breathed, because he generally took what he wanted without any rationalization at all, and it was too much to attempt to go against his nature now.
Harry realized he’d won and smiled slowly. “Brilliant,” he said with quiet triumph, stepping closer. “Kiss me again then.”
Draco couldn’t help but comply, kiss him again, bruising his lips with the force of it. He wasted no time this time, and soon, Harry’s pajama top was lying forgotten in the snow, and Draco was dragging his nails up Harry’s back.
Harry moaned a little, shivering, and he let his legs give out beneath him, tangling his hands in Draco’s hair and pulling him down as well. Kneeling together, wrapped in each other, Harry asked breathlessly, as Draco bit his shoulder, “Do you know what you’re doing?”
“I’m going to make you scream,” was Draco’s distracted response, as he pushed Harry backwards.
“No, I mean…” Harry’s words were cut off with a breathless moan as he laid back in the snow, which stung, icy and chilling all at once against his naked back but the cold was forgotten mere seconds later when Draco straddled his waist, white hot heat searing through him.
“Shut up,” Draco mumbled, dragging his nails down Harry’s chest. Harry shivered.
“You’ve never done this before,” Harry gasped, shifting restlessly as Draco bent low, kissing him again.
Harry had nearly forgotten his own words when Draco pulled away and said, “I don’t care. I just want to be all over you. Inside of you. I don’t care. I want to make you scream.”
“It’s always been like that,” Harry said, voice distant as he trailed his fingertips over Draco’s chest, tracing the ridges and planes there. “Since the beginning, you’ve been trying to be all over me and inside me and make me scream…” He trailed off, sucking in a startled breath as Draco moved lower, his mouth following the path his nails had marked on Harry’s chest. “Only it was different before,” he mumbled, closing his eyes and letting his head fall back.
Draco glanced up at him, silver-blonde hair falling in his eyes. He smiled deviously and said, “Thought I told you to shut up, Potter.”
Harry opened his eyes and studied Draco, sprawled all over him. He smirked and, not thinking very clearly, brushed the hair out of Draco’s face. “We were lovers before we ever knew it.”
Draco didn’t reply and it was the last time for a long while that Harry made a sound. When he finally did, it was an incoherent moan that Draco caught in his mouth, and still later, a husky cry that was enough of a scream to satisfy Draco, who didn’t bother to silence that. The sound echoed and died and the only sound for a long, long while was breathless panting and the whisper of falling snow.