Chapter Three:
Beneath the Blossoming Tree

Knowing he should follow through, but denying the temptation, Draco's plan never fell into action. A sad plan it 'twas, perhaps, but it would accomplish what he needed. The days fell into a pattern that Draco deeply disliked. He would wake in the morning, feeling optimistic and sure, ready to get his love back, but as the day wore on and he never approached Harry in any way, optimism drained until it was completely extinguished.
More or less, Harry and Draco ignored each other, perhaps a stolen glance the other knew nothing about, but nothing more.
As the days passed, the months walked by, and their last year crawled away.
Spring had come.

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Share with me the pain of a lifetime. Sought from the foe of something much more than friends, much more than love. He knows the horror, he knows the fear. He feels the hatred upon his back and carries the weight upon his shoulders. The whip of love cracks across his back, the bell of compassion gongs through the night air to arouse the sleeping lover. A tear of time, a year of longing. Only say that you care, that you remember, and all will be repaired.

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A year has passed
The seasons go

The feeling of waiting was wearing thin upon Draco's mind. He knew that something would have to happen soon, and he would need to be the trigger. Fear of rejection was overrun by fear of loss, and he didn't want to experience the loss that already so many grieved horribly. He would not succumb to a horrible statistic; he refused.
If need be, Draco had decided that he would be willing to sacrifice his dignity, fa├žade of cruelty, and he would shed his skin of refusal to love. If it would get Harry Potter back by Draco's side, he would go to the very distance required.
And so it be how Draco came to a halt outside the Gryffindor tower room, staring up at the Fat Lady, unsure and hesitant.
"I do not recall seeing you in these parts before, young boy!" she cried stately. "Are you sure you belong here?"
"Uhm..." a shocked and embarrassed Draco hemmed and hawed to the Fat Lady.
But nothing would budge her. She would not let him in without the password and if she couldn't recall seeing him before, her suspicion was just greatly increased. At one point, Draco had become so impatient that he stamped his foot like a four year old at the Fat Lady, which only caused her to roar with unrequited laughter.
After all too much time had passed, Draco backed away from the portrait and looked at it from across the hallway. He slid down the opposite wall to the ground, his knees pulled near to his chest, deciding to wait until the Gryffindors would leave the tower for dinner.
If only they would hurry up.
So near his goal, blocked only by a portrait.
As Draco sat waiting, he realized that he didn't know what he was going to do. Now that he thought over it, he had no idea what he had planned to do once he reached inside the Gryffindor common room. Storm up to Harry in the middle of the common room and ask to talk to him alone? Hmm, how inconspicuous.
The portrait swung open as Draco contemplated and he almost wished that it would close again so that he would have more time to think up a plan. But, even if he had wished something, it wouldn't have worked. Pulling himself up quickly, he brushed his backside off, ridding himself from nonexistent dirt and filth.
He drew in a breath, wondering if it would be Harry. But it wasn't. Some dirt brown haired boy who seemed to be searching himself as if he had lost something. The Gryffindors coming out of the room all gave Draco odd looks, some even challenged him, but he waved them away with his hand; as if they were flies.
About halfway through the stream of courageous folk, Draco spotted Harry's head, made obvious by the Weasley's bright red crop of hair. He fixed his gaze upon Harry and stood as if he were a statue. Feeling the gaze's power, Harry looked until he saw Draco. And then he stopped right away. People complained lightly, but consented themselves to walking carefully around the near insane, supposed Hero Harry.
When alone in the hallway (exempt for the Fat Lady) Draco moved slightly closer to Harry, moving slowly as if approaching a rabid cat.
". . . Hi," Draco started, sweat formulating on his upper brow, "Harry."
Fixing a stony glare on Draco, Harry turned as if to start down the hallway.
"Why? And what?"
Knowing what he meant, Draco drew in a breath for the second time. 'Why did you do it?' And 'what are you doing here?'
"Because," he began nervously, Draco tried to act completely natural and still cocky, but failing so miserably, "I was scared. Scared of your love. Or maybe just love as a whole. I wasn't brought up to love, only to fight and serve those like the Dark Lord. To love, was to earn my father's disrespect.
"All these years at Hogwarts you've made friends who actually care about you, and I have idiots who only follow me because that is what they've told to do. And then . . . we happen. I felt your want, your need, your love so early on. And it only became unbearable for me in the last few weeks. Because," he gulped, then took the plunge, "because I realized I love you too."
Harry only slightly moved his head. Not a jerk of surprise, but more like he knew a fact that had just been confirmed.
"And I'm here right now, to tell you that I need you back, Harry, I really do. This last summer was the worst summer ever, and I have had some really bad summers in the past. Every waking moment, I remembered you. Every night, I thought of you. The thought that I lost you on my behalf was the worst thing ever."
"Draco . . . " his voice full of sorrow, Harry could just barely whisper his name, almost choking on the condensation of emotion. "I . . ."
Watching Harry struggle with himself, his mind versus his heart, was an excruciating pain that Draco could barely hold inside. Had he just expected Harry to leap back to him again? Just because he asked?

Please just don't play with me
My paper heart will bleed
This wait for destiny won't do
Be with me please I beseech you
Simple things that make you run away
Catch you if I can

"Draco . . ." Harry repeated the name once again, feeling it upon his lips, sounding out each syllable. "All this summer, I pined for you. I thrived on my memories of you, and every moment was spent remembering you. I thought that maybe I had been wrong; maybe I was just a play thing to you, Draco, like I was at the beginning. It almost killed my heart."
Looking towards Harry, Draco took a step closer.
"And, just a moment ago, there is no way anyway could be as happy as I was; but, now, Draco, it's replaced by something else. And, it makes my heart ache even more. But the pain that you caused me . . . I . . . I just can't, no matter how much I . . . want . . . to . . ."
Suddenly, it hit Draco and he looked to the ground quickly, keeping his eyes upon the carved floors. Slowly, he fell back a step, then another.

"Goodbye, Harry."

...................................... ......

Summer time, the nights are so long
The leaves fall down,
And so do I into the arms of a friend

Wandering slowly around the corridors in Malfoy Mansion, Draco ran his pale hand along the wall, bumping it into the occasional tapestry and the curtains at the windows. He reached the end of one corridor and turned down another. After several turns, he drew close to a full floor length window with dark green curtains pulled together, blocking the sunlight.
He reached the curtain and pulled them back. The voluminous grounds seemed to look haughtily up at Draco, casting a shade of darkness upon anything near. Diverting his eyes from the 'garden' below, Draco looked out to the surrounding hills and mountains, contemplating nothing in particular.
Draco's last year of Hogwarts was finished in heartbreak and he had come straight home to the Manor; no desire for anything exciting. He spent most of his time awake, wandering the halls and stopping every so often at a window.
Lucius and Narcissa hadn't noticed anything different in their son's normally exceedingly surly manner, only the servants had. And not many of them said much at all, and if they did, it definitely wouldn't be to the Master and Mistress of Malfoy Manor. So Draco was left alone with his thoughts and memories, the windows and doors.
The rest of that afternoon Draco spent standing in the window, and when the sun fell below the mountains, he showed signs of leaving the window. Stepping out from behind the curtain, Draco saw a ghostly servant float by, and he followed it towards the other section of the Manor.
Eventually, the servant turned down a stairwell whilst Draco continued forward and by the time Draco reached his rooms, it was stretching late into the night. As he slipped into his pajamas, he allowed the first thought of Harry that day to enter his head. Not wanting to remember, he shook his head as if he were a dog and laid down in his bed.

...................................... ......

When Draco left the Manor of his parents a few months later, he spared hardly one glance backwards; days full of nothing, nothing but thoughts. He tried to sweep clean from his mind. As always, not wanting to remember. Stepping into the small cabin-like building that Lucius had begrudgingly bought for him, he looked around at the simple layout. Perfect for a family of one; that was it.


Draco rolled over in his bed and pulled the blankets closer to his body; it was freezing here on Winter mornings, and was just as bad in Spring. Twice as cold as the cold stone floors of Hogwarts that Draco had laid upon so many times, albeit he had Harry at his side in those times.
As the morning shone in Draco's uncovered window upon his face, his eyes fluttered open slowly. Another day in Hidden Paradise was awaiting him.
He pulled on a pair of clothes haphazardly; it didn't matter what he wore, no one was here to see him anyway. Exiting his bedroom, he walked through the kitchen to the front door. He pulled on a pair of boots that were laying just inside the minuscule home. Pulling open the door and stepping outside, Draco felt the cold sun beat down upon his face. Looking out upon the neglected grounds that were just outside his fence, he saw a speck moving across the ground.
He stepped off of his tiny porch and walked to the fence. After a moment of staring out, he opened the fence gate and began to walk quickly to the moving dot. It felt as though he weren't getting anywhere and Draco's heart sped up, urging his legs to move faster and faster. Get to the person soon, soon, soon! The sooner the better! Breaking into a jog, sweat began to formulate upon his forehead, not from exertion and exhaustion, but nervousness. Months of waiting settled into his pace.
Beneath the blossoming tree, the impossibly purple blossoms slowly floated to the earth around them, they reached each other; regretful and forgiving, forgiven and regretted, they stood a foot apart.
Choking on his words, Draco spoke, "Hello, Harry."

Winter nights
My bedside is cold, for I am gone
And spring blossoms you to me

-Finished, Thank God-