The Hogwarts Boys' Guide (to the Best Lays in School)

Chapter Ten: Color Blind

Warnings: Slash, Adult Language, and Some Violence

Author's Note: Alrighty, I know this has taken an awful long time, and I'm extremely grateful that you guys are still interested in reading after all this time. I still get one or two reviews for this story a week, even though I haven't updated in forever, and that means an awful lot to me. I hope you'll indulge me with you're reviews of this next chapter. Most of all I hope you enjoy it. Please note that this has only been edited by me, so I'm sure there are errors. I'm terribly sorry. I'm in a need of a beta.

Since it's been so long and no doubt some of you are a but rusty on the plot line (I know I was when I started this chapter), I'm going to give you a quick re-cap a'la "Last week on ER…". So with out further ado:

The Hogwarts Boys Guide, Chapter 1-9 in 100 words (By no means is this a substitute for reading the actual story, this is just to remind you.): Seventh year, Hogwarts. Harry is out of the closet; Draco is in the closet with the door locked and bolted. Draco hates Harry, Harry hates Draco. Harry and Draco bicker and play nasty tricks on one another. Homoeroticism abounds. There is a notebook listing the best lays in school! Snape disappears. Draco discovers a secret potion Snape's working on. Harry and Draco are kidnapped and taken to the Malfoy Manor. More bickering! An evil plot! Harry's in danger! Suspense! Sexual tension! Exposition! Food fights! Lucius Malfoy! And finally, the moment we've been waiting for since Chapter One, Draco kisses Harry!

And curtain.

"Does this feel all right to you, Harry?" Draco asked.

His palms found Harry's face, touched him gently, carefully, as if he were something valuable. Harry could not find the words to respond. He settled for a quick nod, and hoped his eyes would convey what his words could not.

Something like fear flashed through Draco's eyes for just a second, then he let go of Harry's face slowly and dropped his hands to his shirt. His fingers found the buttons, and suddenly he was shirtless. Although Harry had already seen him in this half-naked state, this was something new altogether. Before, Draco had been untouchable. But now his body was territory to be explored.

He reached out slowly, extending his fingers gingerly, as if moving closer to a flame. And indeed, Draco's skin was hot to the touch. Harry pressed his hand to Draco's chest and felt his heart beating rapidly. He fought the urge to make some smart-arse comment about Draco having a heart after all.

"What are you smiling about?" Draco asked.

"Nothing," Harry said. "Just…you."

Draco smirked in a different way than he normally did. It was warm, rather than icy. Then he took Harry's hand from his chest and brought it to his lips, kissing each finger. He moved down his palm until his lips were pressed to the flickering pulse on Harry's wrist, and closed his eyes, as if afraid to see what he was doing.

Harry leaned in, kissed his forehead, and whispered, "Open your eyes."

Draco obeyed.

Harry had to look closer to believe what he saw. He lifted his hand to Draco's cheek. "You're crying."

Draco dipped his head down and let his hair fall into his eyes. He opened his mouth and a jumble of words tumbled out:

"It's just-- I get a bit-- I'm a little--"

"It's ok, it's ok, " Harry said, secretly slightly shaken but determined not to let it show. He brushed Draco's hair aside and kissed his eyebrows. The two of them slid back into the pillows on the bed. Then suddenly they were kissing feverishly, touching each other everywhere. Harry fought to stay in control of his body, but sensation and emotion were taking him over. Hiss mind was filled with sensation and memory. Draco standing on the Quidditch field. Draco sitting behind him in potions. Draco on the train to Hogwarts. Draco at the age of eleven, his had extended to Harry. Harry saw himself turning him down, refusing him.

And from then on, Draco had been unreachable. But here it was again- Draco's hand was extended once more, if only metaphorically. Should he take it?

Then Harry's shirt was up over his head, then lying on the bed in a heap. Draco's hands were under the waist of hisjeans. It happened so fast that Harry didn't have time to object, not that he would have. Draco's lips touched his, touched his cheek, touched his throat. Fingers tangled and untangled. Blankets rustled and lifted, their bodies tumbled together. Even as they struggled to remove the rest of their clothing, their bodies never stopped making contact. Hands clasped or legs tangled.

The tears continued to fall from Draco's eyes as he lay down on top of Harry, his body shaking. He stroked his hands over Harry's shoulders and back, and Harry shivered. This was it. Though he had not said a word, Draco was asking Harry if he wanted in.

Harry took Draco's hand. He wanted in. He wanted Draco, wanted to be under his skin, inside him where the real person resided, and the cocky, arrogant exterior was cast away.

Draco rolled onto his stomach and Harry positioned himself over him. Whispering a few words of comfort, Harry entered him as gently as he could. Draco cried out, buried his face into the bed. And Harry froze in fear. Until Draco said, "It's ok, it's ok." And they began to move together.

In that moment, Harry suspected they both knew that nothing between them would ever be the same.

This was what they'd been building up to their whole lives. So much rested on that one simple act. It couldn't possibly have lived up to expectations, but somehow it did. It exceeded them. Harry and Draco, together, was explosive. The sex was wild, it was intimate. It was soft, and it was painful. It ripped Harry apart. It would take eternities to put the pieces back together, but he didn't care. It was worth it. Every second of it.

When it was all over, and Harry collapsed, panting on top of Draco, they held on to each other in the dark and started to talk.

"When we get back to school…" Harry started.

"It won't be the same, will it?" Draco finished.

"No. I could try to treat you like I always have but…"

"But I'll be looking at you in a different way."

"I'll be wishing I could…could…"

"We could meet. In private. Up in one of the towers, or out behind the Herbology building when it's nice out."

"That would be nice. But won't people suspect?"

"I imagine so. But we've already managed to ruin each other reputations. What will it matter?"

"I guess you're right. If we get out of this alive, I really don't think I'll give a damn what everyone thinks. If we make it out of this…"


"Do you think…?"

"I don't know."

"Me either."

"We just have to hope for the best."

"And prepare for the worst."

"Exactly what I was thinking."

Finally, well after the stars had begun to fade away, and brilliant violet had begun to wash over the horizon, they fell asleep, one tucked into the other, as if they'd been made for this.

When Harry woke up, Draco was bustling around the room naked. He sat up quickly and hit his head on the ordinate headboard of Draco's bed. He rubbed the spot and swore to himself, cursing Draco's nakedness for making him act like a fool.

"Well, that one way to get woken up," Harry murmured, grinning.

"Oh good, you're up," Draco said. He smiled.

Say something about last night, Harry prompted mentally. Say it was as wonderful for you as it was for me. Say it was amazing. Say it wasn't a huge mistake.

Draco said nothing. A pair of trousers hit Harry square in the face.

"As much as I would enjoy seeing you walk around all day in your birthday suit, I believe it'd be far too distracting from today's task," Draco announced.

Harry slipped out of the bed and tugged the pants on obligingly. "Why, what's going on?"

"I decided last night," Draco said.

When? Harry wondered. Before or after the extraordinary love-making?

"I decided that we can't just sit here and wait for whatever's going to happen to us to happen. We have to do something."

"Ok. And what are we going to do?" Harry asked, becoming annoyed. He'd expected a different sort of morning after. More kissing and exclamations of love and less being ordered around and hit with clothing items.

Draco slide a shirt over his head and shrugged, "Dunno yet."

Harry rolled his eyes, "Yeah, well, glad you've always got your head on."

"I'm going to think of something," Draco insisted, tapping his head. "I almost have an idea. Here-- shirt."

Harry put on the silky, white shirt, remembering he'd once admired it on Draco, then had to hit himself over the head with his Potions text as punishment for such traitorous thoughts. That seemed awfully long ago.

Draco produced two pairs of leather boots. "I hope these fit you. Your feet are rather large, aren't they,?" he said, but he wasn't looking at Harry's feet when he said it.

"Why do we need shoes?" Harry asked blandly, a bit confused as to what Draco was planning. He was also a bit weary of meeting the brainchild of his blonde lover. Draco was smart, but any plan concocted to get the out of this fortress was bound to be a bit harebrained.

"Shoes, Harry, are for covering one's feet to protect them from the harsh earthly elements."

"I know that. But why do we need them? We're stuck in your room, and there are no harsh elements here."

Draco smirked, "We won't be staying here much longer. I'm afraid our little invitation is about to expire."

"What does that mean?"

"I …I have a feeling. We've been here a few days already. The Dark Lord is sure to arrive soon. Any minute now, actually."

"Well, that's a mood killer," Harry muttered to himself as he laced up the boots.

Then suddenly, Draco stomped up behind him, grabbed him around the waist and pressed his lips all over the back of his neck. Harry shivered and laughed, turning and yanking Draco into a full frontal snog.

"Even the Dark Lord can't put a damper on what I feel for you, Harry," Draco said. "Especially not after last night."

Harry beamed. "Interested in a rematch?"

Draco kissed him once more, quickly, and shook his head. "I wish we had time. But we need to prepare. Once we get back to the castle, we'll have all the time in the world for this.I promise."

"You seem quite confident this morning. What makes you so sure Voldemort isn't going to have us roasting on spits by the end of the night?"

"Isn't it obvious? You're here with me, Harry. If it were just me in this position, I reckon I'd be hiding in my wardrobe, crying like a girl. But I've the only wizard who's ever defeated the Dark Lord on my side. You almost destroyed him as a baby, Harry! With you here, we have definitely got a fighting chance!"

Harry would have laughed if Draco hadn't looked so serious. So Draco Malfoy was finally admitting that Harry Potter was something special. How bloody brilliant it would have been if not for the dreadfulness of the situation.

Harry was torn between acting like a big man, or admitting the truth. He opted for the later.

"Draco, that….that was along time ago. And I have no idea what I did…"

"That's the beauty of it, Harry. You didn't really do anything. You just were and that was enough. You probably have powers you don't even know about; powers none of us normal wizards could ever dream of!"

Harry sighed, "I wish I shared your enthusiasm. Unfortunately, up until this point in my life I've showed absolutely no signs of being anything but a run of the mill wizard with no extraordinary powers what-so-ever."

"You just haven't been provoked," Draco said, stabbing Harry in the chest with his finger, "Maybe you have to be in a life or death situation for them to show themselves."

Harry threw his hands up into the air, "Draco, you git, my entire career at Hogwarts has been one big life or death situation after another! I practically have one each year!"

Draco chewed his lip. "Hadn't thought of that."

"And don't forget they plan on giving me a potion to extinguish all my magic!"

"Right, so what you're saying is-- we're fucked." Draco flopped down in his chair.

"No, no, we're not. Not yet. I was just trying to show you the reality of the situation. Because we don't want to underestimate our opposition. If we're smart about this, if we take just take the time to think of-- ARG!"

"Think of a what?" Draco said, raising his head. He leapt to his feet when he saw Harry crouched on the ground, hand pressed to his forehead.

Unbearable, pulsing pain beat a loud rhythm in Harry's head. He closed his eyes and touched his fingers to his forehead. His scar was on fire. He managed to choke back his howls of pain and whisper, "He's here, Draco. He's here now!"

"What? Harry, who?"

Harry moaned, unable for a moment to form words. The pain was strong. It'd never hurt quite this much to be near him. Was he getting stronger? Was he getting more hateful? He wasn't sure. He felt Draco lift him up and lay him across his lap.

"Who's here?" Draco asked once more, face beginning to pale.


Draco felt a cold rush of fear through his veins. The room seemed to be closing in on him. The carpet was trying to swallow him up. His clothes were too tight, the air too thick to breathe. Harry moaned in his arms, helpless with pain.

"Harry! Get up! You're scaring me."

Harry's face was white and contorted but he still managed to look sarcastic when he said, "Sorry to alarm you. Thought you'd like to know--" he paused and groaned. "Thought-- You've got to-- Think-- Voldemort said--You--Know."

"Harry, you aren't making any sense!" Draco said. His voice was getting shrill, but he didn't care. He didn't know what to do. He needed Harry to help him. He needed his strength, his courage. He had none of his own.

"Do not do this to me, Harry! Don't! I need you to help me. I need you to tell me what to do."

"You know what to do," Harry growled.

"That's crazy talk, Potter. Merlin, could you try to make a least a little sense? We're going to die here if you don't!"

"Draco, you can--"

But Harry didn't get a chance to finish. The door to Draco's bedroom burst open and Lucius swept in. He glanced down at Draco cradling Harry in his arms.

"Draco, what are you doing? Get away from the Potter boy," he snapped.

"Dad. What the blazes is going on?"

"Hello, Draco, my dear," interrupted a irritatingly shrill voice from behind his father. The sound penetrated the very depths of Draco's soul. He knew that voice all too well.

Draco felt sure his heart would collapse from the overload. His grip on Harry tightened, became protective. His body shuddered in his arms. Draco had never been brave, but earlier that morning, knowing Harry Potter would be with him when they faced this, he'd felt something much like courage. But now, with Harry lying helpless across his lap, that courage flagged and faded.

"Draco, don't be impolite," his father scolded. "Say hello to Lord Voldemort."

With that, the Dark Lord strode past Lucius and into the room. He looked a little better than he had the last time Draco had seen him. His face now contained a glimpse of the handsomeness it once held. It made him eerie and spectral. But Draco had to admit it, he looked healthier than he had ever looked. He looked a great deal happier as well.

"Well, it looks as if Harry Potter is going to present less problem than we anticipated," spoke the Dark Lord, a thin, sinister smile crossing his white lips.

Draco was about to say something in Harry's defense, when suddenly Harry sat up, still looking very pale, and said, "Don't count on it, you rotten piece of filthy--"

"Silence," the Dark Lord drawled. Then he grinned down at Harry. "Always were fond of dramatics, weren't you? Perhaps Severus was right, Harry Potter. Perhaps you do think of yourself as something of a celebrity."

Draco's body stiffened. Sev. He'd practically forgotten about his friend. He'd been working on an antidote. He was on Draco's side. Maybe-- just maybe-- he could help.

But where was he now? Last he knew, he'd all but disappeared from Hogwarts.

Before Draco could continue on this vein of thought, The Dark Lord's skeletal hand gripped his shoulder with astonishing strength and drug him to his feet. The Dark Lord put his arm around Draco's chest and pulled him close. Harry was lifted from the ground by Lucius, who pulled his arms behind his back to restrain him, though in all honesty, Harry wasn't put up much of a fight. His face was still drained of color and he looked to be in a good amount of pain. Something about the presence of the Dark Lord seemed to affect him strongly.

Draco tried to wiggle free, but the Dark Lord held tight. Harry kicked out feebly, but the movement did more to set him off balance than anything else.

"Administer the potion now and make this easier on all of us," snapped the Dark Lord, looking towards the darkened doorway once more.

Draco head snapped towards the door just as Severus Snape strode into the room.

Astonishment found Draco momentarily mute. Snape looked straight ahead, refusing to make eye contact with Draco. He stepped up to Harry, who scowled but not much else, and lifted his robes, revealing an ordinate goblet filled to the brim with a violet liquid, covered in slick, oozing red bubbles.

"Oh, lovely, lovely, Severus. I really must thank you for all the painstaking research and experimentation it took to create such a powerful and destructive potion.," the Dark Lord praised gleefully.

This time Snape did look at Draco for just one, brief moment. His dark eyes were pained, but Draco felt no sympathy. Snape had invented the potion that would be the end of Harry Potter. He had aided the Dark Lord, and in doing so, sealed his alliance in Draco's mind. He was the enemy. A betrayer.

Draco felt murderous. He wished desperately that he had his wand. Just one quick swish, one incantation…

"I'm not drinking that," Harry announced, and pressed his lips together like an ornery two year old.

The Dark Lord laughed. His body vibrated with it, and he clutched Draco tighter. The Dark Lord waved his hand and said, "Severus, if you would."

Snape pulled a syringe from his robes and stuck it into the potion, drawing it into the instrument. Draco boiled with anger and resentment. How could he? How could he do this? Not only to Harry, but to Draco. Draco, who'd always trusted him, always confided in him. Draco, who'd confessed his darkest secret to him-- that he did not wish to become a Death Eater.

And Snape had been oh-so-supportive. Draco had honestly believed that Snape could help him get away from this world. He'd believed that Snape was like him, an innocent caught up in a dark world.

But he'd been wrong, hadn't he? He'd been stupid, hadn't he? He'd been played for a fool.

If only he had his wand. Merlin, he could end this now. If only…

His eyes fell on his father, who was looking not at the boy in his arms or the potion clasped in Snape's hand, but back at the wall next to Draco's bed. Draco followed his gaze, and that's when he remembered. His father was looking at the gaping hole in the wall. The one that lead to the passage way he and Harry had tried to escape out of, only to find it blocked at the other end. The passage way they'd torn open with the aid of their make-shift wand. There it lay- abandoned. The answer to his prayers: a broken chair leg, a phoenix feather and spell-o-tape.

Draco didn't take the time to think of the possible repercussions of what he was about to do. He simply jerked back his elbow, hitting the Dark Lord in his most sensitive of areas and dove forward. He grabbed the wand just before crashing into the wall, then shot up, wavering dizzily, and pointed.



The wand sprang from his fingers into the hands of the Dark Lord.

"What in the name of arse is this?" he bellowed, looking rather comically annoyed.

"It's a wand, Sir. Crude, but rather ingenious," said Lucius.

"It's nothing but tape and wood. This is not a wand."

"I'm afraid it is," interrupted Snape. "I suspect it probably does not work flawlessly, but in desperate times…"

The Dark Lord raised his hand to silence him. "I've heard enough. Young Malfoy meant to kill me, and that is all I need to know. My suspicions are correct then. He is not on our side."

"My Lord, allow me to-" Lucius attempted, but the Dark Lord would hear no more.

"He will be killed," he announced.

"No!" Harry shouted, and began to twist and kick violently.

"ADMINISTER THE POTION NOW!" the Dark Lord snapped.

Draco suddenly found himself helpless, watching as the needle was jabbed into Harry's flesh. Harry cried out and Draco's heart burned. A foggy aura appeared around Harry's body and began to dissolve into the air. His green eyes were huge, his lips twisted into an expression of horror. The Dark Lord began to laugh. Snape slunk back, as if trying to disappear into the shadows in the room. Draco began to move towards Harry, when he was suddenly struck by a glowing ball of green light. He had a fleeting glimpse of Voldemort smirking at the make shift wand in his hand, murmuring, "Not bad, boys. Pity to be losing such gifted wizards."

Then everything went black.

Draco awakened sometime later, when the morning sun had long since risen into the sky and dropped below the earth once more. He was laying on a thick, familiar carpet made of woven unicorn hair. He was in his family library. And he wasn't dead!

That thought immediately cheered him. He sat up quickly and attempted to stand but just as soon toppled back to the ground, smacking his chin hard on the floor. Curses, he was tied up. He looked down at his legs, strung together with silver cord. Magical, no doubt. No hope of wiggling his way out of that. His hands were tied behind his back as well. Lovely. Just bloody-fantastic, that was.

Pouting fiercely, Draco struggled into a sitting position and looked around the room. It was rather small in comparison to most of the rooms in the house, and the bookshelves that lined the walls were only half filled with a meager collection of wizarding texts and a small amount of romantic fiction owned by his mother. This was, of course, because this library was only a front. The real library resided deep in the earth, down in the dungeons with the rest of his parents extensive collection of illegal items. That library was large enough to rival Hogwarts', and filled floor to ceiling with books on Dark Magic.

Probably where Snape had done most of his research on that potion, Draco thought furiously.

As he reviewed the events that had taken place earlier that day, he began to feel more and more helpless. The potion had been given to Harry. Snape was a trader. And he was useless, tied up in the library and branded for death. It was only a matter of time before Voldemort turned up to do him in. Why he was still alive even now was a mystery to him.

He tried to be positive. He tried to tell himself that there was a way out of this. He told himself that Harry wouldn't give up, and neither should he. But the truth was he was not like Harry Potter. Nothing like him. Harry was a hero. Draco was whiney, cowardly nothing.

But he remembered Harry trying to tell him something before Voldemort had come into the bedroom. Something about…what he knew? What did that mean? If he knew something that would help get him out of this situation, surely he'd have thought of it by now.

But then, the Dark Lord himself had said that he and Harry were clever. They'd invented a wand! Together they-

Together. That's right. The wand had really been mostly Harry's idea. At best, it was a collaboration. But Harry wasn't here to help him now! Draco couldn't do this alone…he couldn't…

Draco dropped his head onto his knees miserably. When the door opened a few moments latter, he didn't bother to look up.

"Go ahead, kill me now," he said moodily.

"That would be counter-productive, I believe. I need you to help me, Draco," said Severus's voice.

Draco's head shot up. "You. I don't want to speak to you ever again."

"I'm afraid you are misinterpreting the situation."

"Oh, am I? Let's examine the situation then, shall we? You lied to me. You betrayed me. And you've single-handedly dropped a helpless Harry Potter into the hands of the Dark Lord. You probably even organized the Death Eater Scouts' capture of Harry and I at school. What exactly am I misinterpreting?"

Severus sighed wearily, and pulled a chair across the room and took a seat.

"You are correct on some points. I did lie to you, but it was only to protect you. Frankly, you already knew too much, Draco, and the Dark Lord was very concerned."

"There it is again," Draco sighed, "Everyone seems to think I know too much. Well here's a news flash- I don't. I haven't the faintest idea what's going on here. So if you happen to want to explain this to me--"

"Maybe you haven't heard what is going on because you are too busy rambling to yourself," Severus said.

"Why should I listen to you? You're a lying back-stabber."

"Liar, yes. Back-stabber, no. I did make that potion, Draco. That much is true. The why of it is complicated, but rest assured it was more to do with a general weakness of character than malicious intent. Nothing makes what I did right, Draco, and I'll have that contend with for the rest of my life. But I also made the antidote," Severus said quietly.

"Why should I believe you?" Draco asked.

"Because you have no other choice."

Draco was silent a moment. Then he said, "Does this mean you're still on my side?"


"And you're going to get Harry and I the hell out of here?"

"All I have to offer is the antidote. It doesn't ensure our success. It doesn't mean that any of us will get out of this alive. What it does mean is that if we can get Harry out of this place-"

"We can restore him," Draco finsihed.


"So what's the plan, then? Where have they got Harry?"

Snape looked grim. "You will see for yourself sortly."

"What do you mean?"

"I'm afraid I didn't come here to chat. I'm here to escort you to your trial."


But he already knew. He'd seen one of Voldemort so called trials as a child, and knew exactly what would happen. So that was why they hadn't killed him yet. They wished to humiliate him first. Well, so be it.

Snape continued, "There are a few things we need to go over first. After your trial, I most likely will not be able to see you again. So we need to discuss the plan."

Draco heart raced faster. "Plan? You've got a plan?"

"A sort of base one. Feel free to embellish it in anyway you can."

Draco nodded.

"All right then, this is what I know: Harry is being held in the throne room--"

"What throne room? We haven't got one of those!" Draco interjected.

"You do now, I'm afraid," Snape said. "Anyway, as I was saying, Harry is being held in the throne room, where at this very moment most of the surviving Death Eaters are assembling for your trial. In a few moments, I will escort you to your trial, during which you will be tried and convicted of being a traitor and sentenced to death. Your father will then ask for you to be spared at least until after the death of Harry Potter, which is due to take place sometime after midnight, when the potion has had time to take it's full effect and the Dark Lord can be sure that the incident that happened last time he attempted to kill Potter will not happen again. You will be returned to this room by me. I will tie you up again (somewhat loosely, I'm afraid, the joints of my hands aren't what they used to be) and go to guard Potter. Then the ball will start."

"There's going to be a ball?" Draco shouted, outraged.

"A celebration, as it were. The ball will last until midnight. That will give you two hours."

"That's it? Two hours?"

Severus nodded, "I'm afraid so. Now listen closely- you cannot Apparate out. You cannot escape through any doors, because they are all being guarded. And neither of us has got a wand."

"Took yours too, aye?"

"I am still considered suspicious, and with good reason. Anyway, that makes your best option a potion. Several potions, possibly. A diversion would be helpful."

"A good diversion would be to hurt some people," Draco growled.

"I agree, but Draco, take it from me. Do not get involved with Dark Magic unless it's absolutely necessary."


Severus waved his hand, "We must go."

"But I haven't had time to--"

"I'm sorry, Draco. This is all we have."

Harry lay flat on his back in his cage, staring at the dark metal ceiling, watching the strange, ghostly fog all around him slowly fade into nothingness. It was his magic, he'd realized. And it was almost gone. Another hour, maybe two, that was all he had.

And then they would kill him.

Dying didn't frighten him. Death had been a part of his life for so long that he was used to it lurking behind him, nipping at his heels almost constantly. He'd come close to dying so many times that it felt familiar to him.

What frightened him was what came after dying. What would happen to him?. Would he become a ghost like the ones at school? Would he go to some kind of heaven? Or would he just evaporate into thin air, just….cease to be? Most importantly, would he get to see Draco ever again?

When he thought about Draco, he felt restless and angry. They'd only just begun, and he desperately wanted to stay on earth long enough to see out their possibilities. But him fate was no longer in his hands. He was helpless here, caged up like an animal, being gawked at by all manor of evil people.

He turned his head to the side and watched between the bars as the room filled up with people. He recognized some. Voldemort was there, of course. He was sitting on some ridiculous throne built up on a platform covered in black velvet, sipping blood out of a goblet like a deranged vampire. Lucius and Narcissa were there as well, looking nervous, probably thinking about the impending fate of their son. A few other Death Eaters were familiar to Harry as well. All of them seemed to know him, and were taking great pleasure in laughing at him and taunting him.

He was paying them no mind at all, which annoyed them greatly. When a few began to jab their wands at him, he simply turned his head back to the ceiling and closed his eyes. He pictured Draco and smiled in a bittersweet sort of way. If only they'd had more time.

"Well, well, well. Long time no see, Potter. I must say, you've grown into a handsome young man."

Harry recognized the voice and opened his eyes. Bellatrix LeStrange had her hands curled around the bars of his cell, and she was staring at him with an expression of great amusement. She was wearing dark red robes cut low enough to reveal her ample, lily white bosom. Her lips, painted as red as her dress, twitched into a smile.

"Remember me, Harry?" she taunted. "I believe we met sometime during your 5th year- do I recall correctly? Yes, I do believe I am correct. I met you at the Ministry. You were with your godfather. Shame about him, Potter. Good man. Too bad he was always poking his nose where it didn't belong. Do you miss him terribly?"

Harry sighed and rolled over.

"Don't worry. I'm sure you'll be seeing him again real soon," she purred, and walked away.

Harry lay like that until the room began to quiet. Curiosity got the best of him, and he sat up to see what was going on. A fissure had formed down the center of the room, with everyone gathered on either side. At one end of the aisle was Voldemort on his throne. At the other, was the open door where Draco stood looking remarkably calm.

He swaggered into the room, head tilted up, looking every bit the prince he was at Hogwarts. His hands were tied behind his back and Snape walked in step behind him. He walked up and stood before Voldemort. He managed not only to look completely confident, but bored out of his mind as well.

Voldemort rose and announced that Draco Malfoy was to be tried as a traitor, and if found guilty, would be sentenced to death. Harry watched in utter fascination as Draco began to yawn halfway through the speech and then apologized blithely. He had to have been faking his utter lack of concern, but his act was terribly convincing.

So that's how he does it, Harry thought. That's how he always manages to appear so composed at school, no matter what. It was all just a good show. Harry couldn't help but be a bit impressed.

The trial continued, an Voldemort stated his case against Draco. But Harry wasn't listening. He was staring at Draco, whose eyes had taken on a far away look. He was thinking hard about something. Could it be…

Could he have a plan?

The Dark Lord was speaking but Draco was scarcely hearing a word of it. He was going to be condemned to death, he already knew that. The rest of this was just ceremony- or rather, entertainment. He only had to cast his eyes briefly toward the crowd to see that they were eating it up. Oh my! The son of Lucius and Narcissa, a traitor! Who'd have ever imaged. Whatever.

Time was of the essence. He couldn't spare the energy it would have took to listen to his trail. Instead, he focused on what Snape had told him: there was possibility of escape.

Was it already too late? Draco wondered, glancing over at Harry, who was still enveloped in that thick vapor.

No, he decided. As long as they were alive, it wasn't too late.

At least, he was trying to believe that. On the outside, he knew he looked calm, undaunted. But inside, his heart was pounding and his mouth was dry. His thoughts were a storm of dark images, hopeless thoughts. He was just barely holding on to the ledge of sanity.

One thought repeated in his head over and over. It was something Snape had said.

"When the potion has had time to take it's full effect, the Dark Lord can be sure that the incident that happened last time he attempted to kill Potter will not happen again."

Harry Potter had survived the un-survivable curse once. Could he do it again?

Draco desperately tried to work through just what had happened on the night so long ago. He'd been supplied the details by his father, but of course, he hadn't been there, so he didn't exactly know how it'd happened. What he did know was that Harry was the one and only person to ever live to remember hearing the words Avanda Kedavara. There had to be a logical explanation for it. Sure, Harry was an exceptional wizard, but even exceptional wizard were mortal. There had to be something more…

"Please, my Lord. Allow me to make a plea for Draco's life. If not for only a few more hours."

It was his father speaking. Asking for more time, just as Severus had said he would.

"Nonsense. We will kill him now, then get on with the festivities," the Dark Lord answered shortly.

Draco momentarily lost his breath.

"My Lord, I think it wise you hear me out on this matter," his father insisted. A great number of people gasped. It was not greatly advised to talk back to the Dark Lord. One was likely to find his head at his feet for doing so.

However, the Dark Lord simply nodded.

But instead of speaking out loud, his father approached the Dark Lord, bowed, and then whispered something rather lengthy into his ear. After a long moment in which Draco began to feel a bit faint, the Dark Lord nodded solemnly. Draco didn't miss the look of disappointment that crossed his face.

"Draco Malfoy will be returned to the library and imprisoned there until further notice. Everyone else, please make your way into the ballroom, where a lovely feast has been arranged by Narcissa."

Draco looked over and saw his mum dabbing her eyes with her handkerchief and looking somewhat relieved. She cast a worried look at Draco and made a vague gesture towards Harry. What it meant was anybodies guess. Perhaps she meant that the two of them should try and escape together. Or perhaps she meant 'Draco, you vile piece of pound scum, you'll get yours, just like Potter'. Hard to tell with his mother- she was a fickle woman.

When she finally turned away, Severus came up behind Draco and began to usher him from the room. The Dark Lord had already exited, along with everyone else of importance, so he paused and asked Severus if he might have a quick word with Harry. To his surprise, Sev agreed.

Harry was flabbergasted by the apparent turn of events. He hadn't really expected Lucius to ask for more time for Draco. And he certainly hadn't expected Voldemort to allow it.

He watched Snape lead Draco through the quickly dispersing crowd. He was trying to memorize Draco-- the way he looked, the way he moved, the way the room changed when he was in it. Then Draco turned towards him and, taking a nervous glance around, walked up to his cage. Harry's heart beat faster.

"Hey," Draco said quietly, wrapping his fingers around the bars.


"How are you?"

"Ok, I guess. It doesn't hurt, I mean. If that's what you were asking. And my head doesn't hurt anymore when I'm near Volde- the Dark Lord. Guess it had something to do with magic. Listen, what happened just now? Why did your father help you?"

Draco shrugged, "Good old Dad, always good in a pinch."

There was a moment of silence, then Harry nodded towards Snape, raising his eyebrows.

"He's all right," Draco said. "Listen, Harry, I don't have time to explain it all, but you should know: there's an antidote. If we can get you out of here, we can restore everything."

"Really? Who-" but then he realized. Snape. He smiled briefly, "That's bloody fantastic. You've no idea."

Draco didn't return his smile. Harry put his hands over Draco's and asked, "What's wrong?"

"Harry," Draco whispered. "I…I don't know if I can do this. I have a plan but I…I can't-- I'm not a hero, Harry. I'm not like you."

"Nobody is born a hero. Not even me. Look, I've done this save-the-day stuff my whole life. And it kills me to sit here and be able to do nothing. But there is nothing I can do about it. This is how it's turned out and we have to do what we can. It's not my time to shine, Draco. It's yours. It's time for you to become a hero."

Draco shook his head more adamantly. Silver streams of hair whipped at his face. "I can't."

"You can! You have to! You're our only chance!"

Harry gripped Draco's hands, peeled them from the bars and held them. He knew Snape was watching but he didn't care. He pressed his face close to the bars of his cage and reached out to touch Draco's face.

"It's not me," Draco whimpered. "That's not who I am, Harry. I'm weak. I'm a coward. I'm--"

"Not that person any more," Harry insisted. "You aren't. You have to believe that!"

Draco's breathing was rapid and shallow. His face was damp with sweat and drained of color. Harry could feel him shaking. He was scared. But he nodded once, and the look in his eyes told Harry that he understood.

"Do this for us."

Draco nodded once more. Then he kissed Harry.

Harry's eyes lowered, his grip on Draco tightened. Draco forcibly drug Harry closer. His kiss was desperate, the kiss of someone who'd never been loved properly. Harry wanted badly to be the one who gave Draco the love he needed. He prayed to live long enough to do at least that much.

When they broke apart, Severus was standing behind them, adverting his eyes and looking awkward. "Draco, we must go."

Draco nodded. Harry squeezed his hand once more, them let go. Neither said a word. Draco turned and walked slowly to the door. Harry thought he would pause there, and look back and say something. But he didn't. He just walked through and disappeared, Snape following closely behind. The door slammed shut behind them.

Draco didn't say goodbye to Harry. He didn't even look back. One day he might regret that. He was all too aware of that fact.

But he did look or say another word. Because he needed to believe it wasn't necessary. He needed to believe that he's see Harry alive again.