(A/N: Plot, no. Waffy fluff, angst, emotional rollercoaster, physiological confusion, mature themes, romance, sex, yes. You've been warned.)
When the professors finally arrived at the clearing, it was nearly dark, and they found a sight that startled them. Ginny Weasley dead on the ground, and Harry Potter sobbing into Draco Malfoy's lap.
"I think he's gone into shock," were Draco's first words. He said nothing about the way Harry had his arms wrapped tightly around him, or the fact that Draco himself looked ill.
Hooking his arms under Harry's, Draco managed to get him to his feet. Sally was wrapped around Draco's neck. And they watched, in a state of shock themselves, as Draco started to lead Harry away.
The journey back to the castle was a long one. Draco refused to let anybody carry Harry, and they really didn't want to argue, so they had to keep to the pace of Draco's burdened walk.
When they arrived at the school, Draco didn't pause. He kept going, straight inside towards the hospital wing. The stairs, proved to be a challenge.
One of the professors moved toward them as if to help. Something in Draco, however, had awakened, and for a reason he didn't understand he was unwilling to let anybody else touch Harry. A whispered word under his breath and a shifted hand so he could grab his wand, and Harry's weight was suddenly not such a burden. He bent down and lifted Harry into his arms, knowing there was no way he would be able to this under normal circumstances. Harry was larger then he was.
Harry's head lifted, and he tried to look at Draco's face, but the blonde wouldn't look down at him.
They reached the hospital wing minutes later. He laid Harry on a bed face down, and everybody around him started moving. He reached over to grab a chair, and felt the pull grab at him the moment he let go. Sitting down he grabbed Harry's hand, and it stopped hurting.
They were treating his back, and now Draco wanted nothing more then for Harry to look over, because somehow that would make this all better. But what was all this? But Harry had his face buried in the pillow, which was muffling his sobs that restarted the moment Ron had burst in with Hermione, and Professor McGonagall led them away to give them news they never wanted to hear.
Everything started to blur. But then there was a hand on Draco's shoulder. "Mr. Malfoy, you can return to your dorm now. You could use some sleep."
Harry wasn't crying, but his face was still buried in the pillow. Draco would have thought he was asleep if his hand hadn't tightened around Draco's to the point of near pain at the mention of Draco leaving.
He shook his head. "Mr. Malfoy," McGonagall began, "there's no-" she cut off when Harry's head turned and looked straight at Draco.
The pull changed, became slightly different, slightly harder. Harry needed a little more from him. Then the pull became mental, emotional, and physical as Harry tugged his arm, pulling Draco to him.
Draco yielded, his body giving in because his mind had quit working when he collapsed on the floor. Now he was just feeling, something he had tried not to do most his life.
McGonagall watched in slightly underrated shock as Harry pulled Draco into the bed with him, then buried himself against the blonde and shook with silent tears. She'd seen too much in one day. Without another question she let the two be.
Harry's mind came awake, but he didn't open his eyes yet. He was in the hospital wing, he knew it right away by the stiff bleached feeling the sheets had. But he couldn't remember why and he really wasn't in a hurry to.
There was a sigh, a sigh that was in way too close proximity to him. His eyes flew open to see Draco, lying on his back and glaring at the ceiling. His entire posture shouted the fact that he didn't want to be where he was, and yet his left hand was curled tightly around Harry's.
And all hit him with the force of a train, and he gasped. Ginny was dead. He'd failed Ginny and now she was dead. He'd loved her and hadn't known it and now she was gone.
"Do not cry again."
The voice in its calm and firm manner demanded that Harry listen, and he did before he could help himself. He stared at Draco, not understanding. He couldn't get past that Ginny was gone. Rose was gone.
"Stop thinking about it, idiot. Think about it later. Do you think you could make it so I can let go of you without feeling like I can't breathe?"
It took Harry a moment to find his voice. "W-w-what d-d-do you m-m-mean?" Somewhere in the back of his mind he was appalled that he was stuttering in front of Malfoy.
Draco's fingers uncurled from around his and he pulled away, then with an anguished moan that was from both pain and frustration, reached out and grabbed Harry's arm. "That's what I mean."
"Here?" he asked, tapping the area between his collarbones where the skin dipped in. Draco nodded. "That's why I went after her, cause she was pulling at me like that. She needed me…"
Draco's eyes softened at the look that crossed Harry's face. "Just, never mind then."
"Ron?" Harry asked, somehow knowing that Draco would know.
Draco had to look away and stare at the wall. "He and Hermione went back to his house some point in the middle of the night. You're asked to come too as soon as they get your back straightened out."
"What, about…" You, he wanted to say, but he was afraid to ask Draco what was happening. "Sally," he finished.
"She was here, I don't know where she is now."
Harry was about to reach out to her through their bond, when he found something else that made him gasp. He had a new bond. It felt tender, raw, like touching it would irritate it more. "I'm bonded to you," he stated, surprised.
"Oh, very good, ten points to Gryffindor," Draco responded sarcastically.
Draco's face softened again, and Harry realized that there were two Draco's. The sarcastic one, and the one that had just called Hermione by her real name for probably the first time in his life. "Remember that night Sally transferred your Parselmouth gift to me?" Harry nodded. "Remember how she said we had a faint link? Ever since she did that transfer, I've been more aware of that link. Only if I really tried." His eyes seemed to ask if Harry had the same awareness.
He shook his head to the unasked question. "The only links I've ever noticed were to Sal, and then last night, one to Rose."
"Perceptive," Draco muttered. "Well, yesterday I was in class, and that link, sort of, blew up," he said with a shrug, unable to give words to accurately explain what happened. "And then you started with that pulling stuff and I knew where you were and that I had to get to you."
"After that?" Harry whispered when Draco didn't continue.
"It's all kind of blurry after that," he lied. He remembered very clearly what had happened in the clearing. It was only after they left it that things got blurry. He remembered Harry calling him Draco. He remembered Harry crawling into his lap. He remembered the whispered words of 'I need you'.
Harry blinked. "Sally, she said, she said that I was getting a second chance."
"I know what she said," Draco spat, and Harry shrank back, knowing that this was that other Draco. This was Malfoy.
"Because I can understand her now. Because the real reason that Ginny could was because you were bonded to her. And now you're bonded to me, so I understand her too. And she kept saying that all night long. So if you don't mind, I'd rather not think about the fact that now I'm going to have to be your soul mate."
Harry looked away, and called to Sally. There were a few minutes of tense silence before Sally arrived. She came up to Harry and curled around him. The two of them sat snuggled together, mourning the loss of the third party of their triangle.
Draco watched and felt left out, but justified it to himself as disgust. He let go of Harry, hoping now that Sally was here it wouldn't hurt, but the pull that hit him took his breath away. It was only stronger now. He'd reached out and pulled Harry against him before he'd even thought about it.
"Why can't he let me go?" Harry asked Sally softly in Parseltongue, but then remembered that Draco would understand that.
"Your bond iss healing."
"How long will it take?"
"I don't know, ssorry Harry." They looked at each other, and slowly tears began to creep down Harry's cheeks. "I know, Harry, I know."
"I just can't believe she's gone, Sal."
"I know, Harry. It'ss going to be fine. Jusst let it out."
Draco watched as Harry broke down, again. He needed to stop doing that. He reached out and pulled Harry against him, knowing it would help and managing not to cringe. Anything to make him stop blubbering.
When Harry woke again, it was to Madam Pomfrey doing something to his back. It wasn't until then that he became aware of how much it really did hurt. He was wrapped in Draco's arms, and he blushed hotly when he realized how that must look. But Draco was fast asleep, and Harry didn't want to move and disturb him if he could help it.
"Do you have anything for the pain?" he whispered.
"There's a potion on the bedside table when you want it," she answered just as softly. She seemed to be making an exception for Draco in Harry's case, allowing him to stay.
"When will I be able to go see Ron?"
"Tonight if you like."
Harry nodded, and then closed his eyes again, and noticed that Draco smelled like powder and cotton before he fell back asleep.
"There is no way I'm going to the Weasley's house!" Draco shouted.
Harry was standing, while Madam Pomfrey wrapped bandages around his back that would last until he got back. Dumbledore, McGonagall, and Snape were all watching, once again in shock, and Draco sat on the bed and fought with Harry all the while holding one of his hands.
"Fine," Harry said, and jerked his hand away, causing Draco to gasp and pale, his hand flying to his collar bones. "But I am and you're the one who can't handle the pull. So if you want to stay, it's your choice."
Draco jumped off the bed and grabbed Harry's whole arm, hugging it hard with a whine until his color returned and his breathing was even. Then he released all but Harry's hand. "This is so bloody unfair! Why doesn't it hurt you too?"
Harry met Draco's glare with one of his own. "It does," he answered, in a deathly tone. Draco blushed. "Are you coming?"
"Fine," he growled, sitting back down on the bed without letting go of Harry's hand.
"Harry?" Dumbledore asked, clearly wanting an explanation.
"You know the prophesy right Professor?" Dumbledore nodded. "Ginny was my soul mate," Harry said softly. Dumbledore nodded again. "But I didn't realize it until she was gone. And because I didn't get to love her, I get another chance," he pointed at Draco with a hot blush. "Draco was supposed to be my soul mate if I was a girl. So now we have a bond that's very sore, and the only way it can heal is if he touches me."
Dumbledore nodded. "I see. And how are you handling this?"
Harry's eyes became sad. "I don't think I've reached that point yet." Dumbledore nodded again. McGonagall looked slightly surprised, sorry, and understanding. Snape looked blown away.
"Nobody wants to know how I'm handling this," Draco growled.
Harry looked at him, his eyes deep pools of green. "Later, please, Draco?"
Draco's eyes fell to Harry's feet, feeling ashamed and guilty. "Yeah."
They were on a train. Alone, on a train. The silence was awful, because it left Harry alone with his thoughts. Draco had a hand casually against his. "Talk to me."
"Why should I?" Draco snapped, almost automatically.
"I'll let go if you don't." The threat was empty, and Draco had to know that. There was a pause.
"What do you want to talk about?"
"I don't care. I don't want to think anymore."
"Well I don't have anything to talk about," Draco said defiantly. Silence followed.
A few minutes later, Harry couldn't take it anymore. "Draco?"
"What?" he answered, agitatedly.
A cloud passed over his mind as the bond's pull intensified. Draco watched as Harry's eyes grew dull, and somehow knew what was coming. Harry crawled out of his seat, over to Draco. He grunted softly as Harry crawled on top of him, wrapping his arms around Draco's neck. "I need you," he whispered.
Draco let out a sigh, holding the other boy close to relieve the weight from around his neck. "You're such a pain," he complained, but Harry was already asleep. However, this did make the bond stop aching, for the first time since they'd gotten out of bed, and with the irritating pain finally gone, Draco found it hard to stay awake.
Somebody was shaking him. He turned away from it. Reality was so tiresome. He liked it here, warm, safe.
That was his name. He knew it was, but he wanted to pretend it wasn't. He was warm, he was safe, he was content. Life didn't have to move forward, it could just linger here in this sleepy haze where nothing is wrong.
"Potter, for Merlin's sake, wake up."
The order commanded that he listen, and his eyes flew open, and jumped into two silver pools. He was caught. Magnetized to the silver liquid. Caught in it. Drowning in liquid silver. Draco blinked. The spell broke.
"Get out of my lap, please." Harry could tell, in the rational part of him that was taking notes, that Draco was going to say that with an attitude, that old Malfoy was going to order Harry from his lap, but it had died when Harry had drown in silver because at the same time Draco had been enchanted by emerald.
He removed himself from Draco slowly. But as he pulled their bodies apart, their hands sought each other out and curled together without thought. "What happened?" Harry asked. He couldn't remember.
"Nothing." Harry didn't push it. "We're almost there, though. Train's slowing."
Draco wasn't sure what he was expecting. Huge sob piles in the middle of the floor, probably. Flocks of family members bringing flowers and casseroles and broken 'sorry for your loss' wishes that never helped.
The house was quiet. He would have loved a chance to look around and see how the Weasley's really lived, Merlin knows his father talked about it enough, but his attention was too focused on Harry.
Harry somehow knew where to go. He walked into what had to be the family room, Draco trailing behind him. Nine faces looked up when they walked in. Nine very quiet faces. Draco froze behind Harry, who stood still. Sally was on his leg. It was a bizarre sensation.
Her parents, all six of her brothers, and Hermione, were all staring. Not at him, at Harry. He was almost expecting a riot at his appearance, but nobody seemed to notice him, let alone care.
Harry dropped his hand. It was so sudden and so unexpected Draco gasped out loud. The pull hit him hard, but Harry didn't notice. Harry was bolting across the room. Harry was landing in the lap of the woman, pulling her against him. Harry was dissolving into tears, clutching the woman, apologizing for not saving her daughter.
It wasn't his fault! Draco wanted to scream. But the woman didn't need him to tell her that. She repeated it, over and over, like a mantra, into Harry's hair. The pain was making Draco sweat.
Ron and Hermione were clutching each other. Neither was crying anymore. Fred and George were on either side of Percy, arms wrapped around him. Bill and Charlie were on either side of their father, his arms around both of them. Draco wanted to disappear. He was interrupting something that wasn't his business.
He clamped his teeth together. It hurt. He knew he was shaking. He couldn't stop. This was unfair. He needed Harry because Harry needed him. The irony. Harry was the screwed one and Draco was the one shaking in pain from it. But he wouldn't give in. He wasn't going to interrupt.
Harry started to pull away from Mrs. Weasley. His face red and smudged and his nose running. She cupped his cheeks in her hands and kissed him hard, tears still streaming down her face. Harry started to shake. Draco hoped it was the bond, not from tears.
He climbed out of her lap. He sat down on the floor near where Hermione and Ron were sitting. Unable to stop himself from moving, Draco crossed the room and sat beside him. Without hesitation Harry practically crawled into his lap. Draco expected an uproar. He received silence. Nobody asked, nobody cared. Sobs resided to silent tears, and the minutes began to tick.
At first he didn't care. He was just glad the pain was residing and holding on to Harry for all he was worth. But when the need for it was gone, he felt uncomfortable. He wished somebody would talk, anybody. He was required by blood to hate every person in this room. He didn't belong here. And they weren't making any progress just sitting here.
There was a knock at the door. Draco jumped up. "I'll get it," he said, then regretted the words that broke the sacred silence. The need began to pull, and he mentally screamed at it. I'm answering the door, I'll be RIGHT BACK, I promise, SHUT UP. It didn't help much, but it was tolerable. He practically ran to the door.
It was Dumbledore. He brought news to them about the body. He started talk about the funeral. At least it wasn't silence. Draco held Harry and kept to himself, hoping not to be noticed.
"Why are you here?" Ron asked suddenly, when Dumbledore paused. Ron's voice was horse, from crying, Draco supposed.
"He has to be," Harry answered before Draco could talk. "I can't let him go for very long. I'll explain it later."
"Why not now?"
Harry opened his mouth, but every face, even Dumbledore's, was looking at him. A story, an explanation, at the very least a distraction. He couldn't deny them.
"There's a prophesy," he started. The need pulled harder. Agitatedly, Draco moved closer to Harry, leaned against his back. "All the stuff with Voldemort, all the things that have happened, all the bull shit that has been the past four years is because of this damn prophesy."
Draco didn't think he'd ever heard Harry swear before. He shifted closer, one arm wrapping around the boys middle. "This prophesy promises me a soul mate. And a chance to love my soul mate." His voice broke and he choked on the words. "And she knew it but I didn't. And because I didn't realize it, she died before I got a chance to love her back."
The reactions were mixed. Hermione didn't look surprised, and Ron looked ready to cry. The brothers all stared at Harry with something akin to a respect and pity mixture. The parents both stared at walls.
"But a prophesy always comes true." He laughed bitterly at the irony. "So I get a 'second chance'. The back up plan. My bond to Ginny moved to Draco. But it's sore. Physical contact is the only thing that keeps it from hurting."
Ron was glaring at him. Draco was glad that Harry's body hid him from the rest of them. "He'll never replace her," Ron spat.
Harry looked at his best friend. Harry's eyes took the spit out of Ron. Eyes that cried louder then any sobs ever could. "I know, Ron."
Sickeningly, Draco felt like something in him died.
The day was a blur. Mostly. Some things were painfully clear. Somehow everybody ended up in a room, and Draco and Harry were left with the middle room. Ron had protested loudly. He didn't want them alone together. Nobody had listened and eventually Hermione had led him away.
Draco was laying on the couch. Harry was still pacing by the fire and Draco thought it best to leave him be. Granted it hurt and Harry had to walk over and touch Draco ever moment or two to keep the pain from becoming too much, but they were otherwise ignoring each other.
Draco noticed Harry stopped, and looked up to see why. Harry was staring at a clock. At first this didn't seem to be a big deal, until Draco realized there were no times on the clock. It held all the Weasleys. Ginny's hand was spinning around and around. It couldn't find her, it didn't know what she was doing, it didn't know where she was.
He wasn't surprised when Harry walked over and climbed on top of him. He shifted the larger boy so his weight was even across his body, wrapped his arms around him, and allowed the green eyes to drop tears on to his shoulder. Even with Harry crying, he let out a relieved sigh. Touching every thirty seconds or so would keep the pain from becoming too much, but it was nothing like what this kind of contact did. Not only did it relieve the pain, it almost made it feel good; feel, comforting.
"I'm sorry," Harry said, pulling away to look up at Draco. His eyes were red and his face was wet and tear streaked.
"It's fine," Draco said, wondering where his patience had suddenly come from.
"No, I'm sorry it had to be you. I'm sorry you had to become this for me. I'm sorry I had to make your life change like this. I wish I didn't have this effect on people."
Draco took a deep breath. "I'm not."
Harry stared. "You're not what?"
"Sorry. That I had to become this for you." He heard the words coming from his mouth, but it was almost as if they were from another person. His mind had just shut off. No logic or restrictions applied now, anything was possible.
Draco shook his head. "Part of me always wanted it. Now all of me wants it, and feels like it always has."
"Wants what?" His tears had died with his confusion.
"I don't know," Draco admitted. "Maybe to be this for you."
Harry wasn't sure why. He wasn't even sure how. He was just pulled in by those magnets of eyes. Pulled in until his lips pressed against Draco's. His mind shut off instantly. The bond pulled them, pulled their lips together harder, pulled him to press against Draco, pulled Draco to hold him tight. He'd never known passion before, his mind wasn't in order enough to recognize it now. But this was perhaps beyond passion. This was survival.
They both felt the bond change. Heal slightly. The conscious parts of them knew it wasn't enough to keep it from hurting, but it was progress. Draco's tongue swept across Harry's bottom lip. The raven haired boy jerked back. Not in surprise from Draco's tongue but from a shock that had shot across the bond. His hand flew up to rest between his collar bones, staring at Draco.
Draco stared back for a minute, feeling the same thing. He blinked. Then his mind suddenly turned back on. Completely disgusted with himself, he pushed Harry off of him and stood. He walked over to the other couch and laid down, closing his eyes to make it clear he intended to sleep.
Somehow he wasn't surprised when Harry crawled on top of him. Draco wrapped his arms carefully around Harry, mindful that Harry's back was badly mangled. Harry's entire body started to shake, almost as if he was shivering. Draco tried to hold him tighter but Harry's shaking didn't stop, a slight vibration of his entire body.
Draco turned to his side, pushing himself against the back of the couch; Harry beside him. The couch was just wide enough, though Draco figured if he let go Harry would fall off. He tilted Harry's face up. Harry's eyes were closed.
"You're shaking, Potter."
"I, I can't help it, Draco." He kept his eyes screwed shut. He knew what would happen if he opened them. He knew that those magnets would pull him right back in.
It was odd, how Draco just knew exactly what would make the shaking stop. And yet, he hesitated. A great deal of him completely objected. He had to shut that part of his mind off.
The first time it had been unavoidable; and force beyond either of them. But this kiss, was very deliberate, on Draco's part. He cupped Harry's cheek with the hand that wasn't holding him up. Angling Harry's face correctly, he pressed his lips softly yet firmly against Harry's.
Harry gasped, which opened both his mouth and his eyes. Draco kept his eyes shut, not wanting to be caught in that trap again. The arm holding Harry pulled him closer, but his shaking continued. Draco pushed his tongue past Harry's lips, deepening their kiss. Harry's hands fisted into Draco's shirt, holding tightly as if he were afraid to be dropped. With a soft noise in the back of Harry's throat, his shaking intensified to a hard shudder, then stopped completely.
Draco removed his tongue, and slowly pulled his lips from Harry's, their breath mingling together between them. Cautiously, he opened his eyes, prepared to shut them should he get caught in that pull.
But Harry's eyes were shut again. His eyes shut, his hands still clutching at Draco's shirt, he hid his face in the other boy's neck.
"Go to sleep, Harry," Draco whispered. He knew he wouldn't be awake much longer.