Harry Potter and the Shard of Magic.

By Wihstrum

Chapter Twenty: What the Bloody Hell!

The bed jogged heavily as Finbar sat down on it. Resting his elbows on his knees and propping his chin up on his entwined fingers he watched silently Alex's care over a barely conscious Blaise. She was cradling his head in her lap, her face bent close to that of her friend's, her long white hair trailing down about him like a veil. Somewhere during the past ten minutes it had slipped loose from its band.

He tried to keep his face as passive and blank as possible, but even though the seriousness of the situation he couldn't help but feel a slight hint of jealousy. Though he really shouldn't; and this caused him to constantly hit himself mentally over the head for it.

But it came again in all its disgusting vigor as Alex started to unbutton Blaise's blood-stained blouse, pushing it aside and splaying both her hands over the expanse of his skin. Finbar forced himself to bite his lip, and focus at the problems at matter.

"C'mon honey, stay with me…" Alex murmured softly, pressing her hand close to his heart.

Finbar witnessed in wonder as a soft white glow spread from her fingers over Blaise's chest and upper torso. It cast a white sheen over Alex's tanned face, her hair shimmering with silver glints.

"I couldn't help him," Blaise's shaky voice came, his eyes glazed over feverishly, "He was right there, but I couldn't help him. The more I tried, the more he bled."

Alex moved one of her hands to his face, rubbing his cheek with the pad of her thumb, "But you did. I couldn't have saved him without you, Blaise. We couldn't have done so without your help." She brushed gently some of the tousled brown locks from his pale and wan looking face, "It was a nightmare." She soothed him with a whisper. Looking up she added more quietly, her dusky face troubled "I think."

Suddenly Blaise arched his back and moaned softly, causing Alex to withdraw her hands at once. She cast a pleading look to the werewolf, whose head had snapped up at the sound. Even without having to switch to his Auratic Sight he could see what was happing; it clouded about the Slytherin like a tangible haze, oozing its corrupt and polluting presence into the atmosphere.

Finbar shook his head, mouth parting in disbelief, "He's in a Dark High."

Green eyes reflected his disbelief sharply. Both of them knew what that meant; Finbar due to his educational history at Durmstrang and Alex because of her original purpose with which she had been called into life.

A Dark High was a mixture of intense ecstasy and agonizing pain. After harnessing truly Dark Magic, incredible pleasure would flow through the caster, making that person aware of the power they were holding. Afterwards there would be a long throbbing pain and a deep feeling of misery, because using such Magic would affect someone to the core and backfire. Dark Magic always lent endowment of its mastery in exchange for the life force of its caster. That was what drove most Dark wizards beyond coherent reasoning; it was like a drug. Slowly it would create a permanent craving for the pleasure of the boundless supremacy it would grant, but ultimately caster ended up giving his or her soul in the need for greater and more; and was enslaved to the Dark, unwillingly or unknowingly.

"Fuck." Was all Alex could bring herself to utter.

Blaise's hazel eyes stared up at her, pupils dilating and obscuring his eyes nearly to onyx. A clam hand found hers and he clung to it as if his life depended on it. Frightened because he did not understand what was happening to him.

"Shhh… Relax, it'll be over soon." Alex tried to calm him, a shaking hand caressing his hair continually.

She held him like that until he fell in a restless slumber.

Alex's heart thudded in her throat as his breathing pattern evened, yet the grip on her hand did not lessen, almost as if he were afraid that he would fall if he let her go. "Oooh… Finbar," she whispered, voice thick and trembling, "It's all my fault."

The Gryffindor hadn't moved an inch from his position on the other bed, his head light with the heady pressure of raw Dark power. Yet his crystal blue eyes sought burning green ones within a second, "Don't say that. You called us, we came."

"I used a variation of Imperio." She said bitterly, the caressing of Blaise's locks becoming almost frantic, as if she hoped to wipe him clean of the changes she had triggered within him.

"Oh c'mon," Finbar said firmly, his eyes holding hers unfalteringly, "Any of us could have easily thrown it off."

Apparently this didn't soothe Alex one bit, "What have I done?" she pulled the blanket over Blaise's exposed chest, straightening it repeatedly in a rueful silence, "What the bloody hell have I done?"

The question was literal, what had happened?

"You know," Finbar began ponderously, "It is as if he and I are opposites, yet completely alike. My magic nullifies his, his nullifies mine and even so they draw each other." He licked his lips thoughtfully. He remained silent for the better of ten minutes, lost in deep thought before he suddenly asked, "Name me some opposites," at Alex's questioning arched eyebrow he specified, "You know, like up and down, left and right, man and woman…"

As response he got a small noise of confusion but she complied nevertheless with a half-shrug, "Uuuh… Black and white, right and wrong, fire and ice…" as she continued tagging of opposites Finbar stood up and began to pace, index finger curled against his lips as he listened, "…Gryffindor and Slytherin (they both smiled at that), light and dark, good and evil, rich and poor, love and hate…"

Finbar abruptly stopped in mid-stride, blue eyes widening breathlessly, "What did you say?"

"Love and hate?"

"No, no, no, before… light a-"

"-nd dark" they finished in unison.

"That's it!" he whispered excitedly, and particularly lunged himself at his brown book bag, large hands slipping inside and rummaging through its contents. He drew out an ancient leather bound book, the golden letters of the title long since faded and unreadable. With a few steps he strode over to Alex and sat carefully down on the bed as to not awaken the sleeping Slytherin. He leafed through the book frantically and upon finding what he needed he stilled in complete rapture as he re-read the passage.

"Talk to me big guy," Alex mumbled as she poked her head over one of his shoulders, "what's going on in that handsome head of yours?"

He flushed at that and glanced nervously at the face so close to his, her chin resting on his right shoulder. Alex had always been a very tactile person, easily touching people in small gestures of affection and companionship.

She smelled so good.

Stuttering hopelessly he choked out, "W-w-well," he cleared his throat and jabbed his finger at the yellow-faded page, "A-according to this book our universe consists of seven basic elements, which are also expressed through our magic. I-if we trail every form of the numerous uses nowadays we should eventually fall back on these exact seven elements. Everything, including humans, in the universe must have a relationship with these elements. The seven basics namely are Fire, Water, Earth, Wind, Caliga, Spirit and Energy."

"Never heard of Caliga, Spirit and Energy before…" Alex said next to his ear, tickling his cheek with her breath and stirring the dark hairs falling over his face. She offered him a sly grin at the catch in his breath.

'Damn those Slytherins', Finbar thought vehemently and shot her reproaching look. "A-anyways, Caliga is the old term for what we now call Dark Magic, Spirit stands for light and Energy is all what binds… it's hard to explain.

"But, what's so interesting about this elemental theory is that there are seven elements and… seven of us."

Alex pursed her lips and sucked in one side of her cheek, "The theory rings a bell, but for as far as I am concerned there is a hole in it;" her hand snaked around him and indicated another passage on the following page, "All is always is perfect harmony. There always is balance, and as the book says here and I quote: "There are four material elements, those whose ways are visible to eyes of the living. Yet there only three astral, those who can only be sensed and felt. The balance is disturbed."

Nodding impatiently, causing Alex's teeth to rattle on his shoulder, he interjected, "But it makes sense, doesn't it? Ron with the Fire, Blaise with… what just happened. It could be."

"But how? I haven't… I didn't…" came the Slytherin's bemused reply.

"Think we should consult the Firenze about it?" Finbar asked rhetorically.

Alex drew back and gazed down again on the figure of the young man sleeping in her loose embrace, "I don't know… I think we should wait, 'til Harry comes back."

The conversation died, and the white-haired woman did not look up again. Guilt was written all over her tired face and within her eyes laid a terrible uncertainty. When Finbar moved to stand up, mumbling something about Gryffindors and dinner, Alex gently pried herself loose from Blaise's desperate grasp and moved with him to the door to let him out.

Uncertainly they both hovered at the door, Alex studying the tips of her toes peeking from under the large, black legwarmers slipping down to her ankles. She drew the cloak around her tightly, trying to shield herself away from the world.

"C'mere…" Finbar offered before he could stop himself and opened his arms.

Surprisingly she did come to him, burying her face against his broad chest and wrapping her arms around him in acceptation. He chucked her head under his chin and returned the favor of enfolding her within his embrace. For a moment he was almost afraid that he would break her, so small she felt in his arms. Alex wasn't very tall to begin with and her slim figure seemed even more delicate in his arms. But it was a lie he knew; if the long sleek muscles stretching under her skin were anything to go by. If she wished she could kill him before he even realized he was gone. Without using magic.

"It'll be okay," he murmured into her hair, "I promise."

Alex didn't say anything, but offered him a vague hint of her old grin as she stepped back.

He reluctantly let go, but had to if he did not want his hormones to get the better of him. "I'll see you in the morning." He turned and he pulled down the handle of the door, slipping through. Before he had completely closed it behind him he said softly, "Call if you need my help." Then he left, the door shutting behind him quietly.

She had barely the time to analyze what had just occurred, when: Don't tell me you're falling for werewolf-boy?

Stop snooping around in my head! Alex replied her friend indignantly.

I could sense your libido doing a happy dance all the way over here, don't fool me. Came his ever so dry comment to that and Alex just knew he was smirking.

Shifting away from the door, the Slytherin made her way back up to the dormitory. On her way she picked up the iguana as it crawled into view from under a closet. Putting the lizard on her shoulder, she formed the next thought in mind: Even if I were –and I am not saying I am- falling for him, what objection could you possible find to disapprove?

Well, for starters, I'd appreciate it if you'd pick someone else, or rather someone that will not change every full moon into something that can eat you. Catch my drift? Even in his mental tone, Alex rolled her eyes at the snobbish sniff following his statement.

Well, maybe I just like it rough. She sent him a saucy image to go with it.

Yes, thank you, now I'm scarred for life. Draco answered to that in a scandalized fashion, You're impossible, you know that?

Alex fancied him with an equivalent to a mental grin, Well, technically, I am related to you, drakie-poo.

Charmed.He muttered.

Both of them smiled softly.

At the Burrow…

"That's just bloody insane!" Ron exclaimed with an unusual rise in his voice, "If you ask me Wolfman simply has to stop hanging around in the Slytherin dungeons. Bad vibes."

Harry snickered quietly at Draco's hard look at that statement.

Meanwhile Ron went on, clearly on a roll, unaware of the rueful glare, "Honestly, an over a two-thousand year old theory about elementals now coming back to haunt us? Really now, I think he's getting a little high on Alex's Slytherin advances… can never be good, that…" he added with a deliberate glance at Harry's head resting on the pillow in Malfoy's lap.

Grinding his teeth, the blonde interfered waspishly, "Shut it Weasel, don't make me hex you into next week."

"Oooh… I'm terrified," Ron taunted with a girlish falsetto, "Big bad Ferret is going to hurt me… oooh…"

"Oh stop it you two," Hermione chided, pursing her lips, "I for one, do believe there might be something to it."

Draco arched both his eyebrows with a softer version of his smirk twitching his lips upward, "Because it was in a book?"

"No!" the female Gryffindor shot back indignantly; "I think Firenze did not just give Finbar that book for nothing." She explained with a wise tone in her voice, "Don't you think so too, Harry?"

The raven head pried open an eye, not seeing that much due to the absence of his glasses, "I think it's a little far-fetched…" he answered truthfully, "I just don't see how such a great thing could just happen."

Hermione nodded thoughtfully, big brown eyes fastened at the snow fluttering downward to the earth through the window. "Have any of you felt any different?" she asked softly after a moment of silence.

"Can't say I've been feeling exactly normal," Draco drawled in his usual aloof tone, looking purposefully down at the young man dozing off against him, "If you know what I mean…"

The raven haired Gryffindor stuck out his tongue, one hand reaching up to pinch Draco's nose.

"Ugh," Ron winched as if he'd just eaten something akin to dragon dung, "honestly Harry, why Malfoy of all people? You've got terrible taste."

Harry's eyes remained fastened onto Draco's face looking down upon him in his vulnerable position, "No," he said with a soft grin, "No, I don't think so."

"Ugh," Ron repeated himself, causing Hermione to giggle behind her hand.

Back at Hogwarts. Sunday Morning.

"Ooooh yeah," Alex chortled happily, "Now that was what I call food."

Blaise gazed at her impassively from over the other side of the table, arching a graceful eyebrow at the now three empty bowls of pudding Alex had devoured within the blink of an eye. Wherever she had put the food in her 5'3" high frame was a mystery to him.

Grabbing a strawberry flavored Popsicle and popping it between her lips; she slumped down on her chair, giving the perfect imitation of some humanized Garfield. Especially seeing as she was literally purring, the sounds making several surrounding students cower away wearily. Her animagus-from was starting to rub of on her.

"I'm tired," Blaise said evenly, which did not change even as Alex gave him a worried look. Slytherin pride and control had kept him from remaining safely inside his dormitory, but yesterday's memorable, not to mention disturbing episode had wore him out, and he was drained from the little energy he had scraped together by just attending breakfast in the Great hall.

His companion nodded, smiling gently at him, "Let's go, we'll play a game of chess."

The made their way together towards the immense doors, walking next to each other in silent companionship. Alex tilted her head towards the enchanted ceiling, which was dusting them with white flocks of snow, as always warm and dry, mysteriously evaporating right above the dinner tables. She was feeling strangely as ease, her heart thudding rapidly in her chest, as if something very good was going to happen.

As if entirely on cue, Finbar appeared next to her, "Hi guys," he greeted in is usual baritone rumble, and turning to Blaise he added, "How are you feeling?"

The young man gave a half-shrug, but did not answer and started to trail behind them, instead of simply walking next to them. Finbar sighed at the obvious proud the Slytherin was trying to protect, and let him have his way.

"Fancy a one-on-one match later this afternoon?" Alex offered, having to look up at his taller height.

He nodded, a challenging grin being his only response. They sauntered lazily through the enormous arc that made the door, side by side. Alex suddenly halted, giving him a querying glance. Coming to stop himself, Finbar waited for the question he sensed to come by the wave of confusion she radiated.

"You know, I really don't understand why there's twig hanging on every doorway," she said with a frown, pointing upwards.

Finbar followed the direction of her finger with a sense of dawning understanding creeping up his throat.

A mistletoe.

"Uuuuuhh…" he began sheepishly, coloring such a shade of red that it would have given Ron a run for his trouble.

"You're supposed to kiss," Blaise provided cunningly, his intentions of slacking behind oh-so clear now, "its tradition."

Looking not even the slightest impressed, Alex said with a huff, her left cheek bobbing out due to the Popsicle; "Because of a stick?"

"Exactly." Blaise said simply, directing a gleeful smirk at Finbar's bewildered and so very typical Gryffindor-ish state, "Now if you'll excuse me, I don't need to see this." And brushed past them with a whirl of expensive robes.

Alex was giving him an incredulous look, withdrawing the Popsicle with a loud 'pop'. "He's shittin' me, ain't he?"

Wishing for all the mercy of the Gods that the ground would just open up under his feet and swallow him, Finbar replied crookedly, "N-no. He's not."

"Really now?" Alex mused as she shook her head at the mistletoe, calling upon all her Slytherin coolness to keep herself from looking even the slightest unsettled, "Well, who are we to break with the tradition?" she gave him a wolfish grin, but inwardly she was droning, 'Oh God, please save me. I've never done this before. I don't want –I do- No I don't –I do I do- Nonono –yesyesyes-.

Finbar forced himself to de-anchor his eyes from the floor and at least look at her. His eyes were as clear as crystals as he met Alex's unearthly brimming green eyes.

Time froze, and both of them held their breath.

They stood facing each other poised on the edge of something and then as one they moved towards each other. With that very move their roles reversed; all of Finbar's doubts and fears flowed from him and he determinately snaked a hand to the back of Alex's neck, tilting her head up. His thumb softly stroked between the tangle of stark-white hair, and he was so close now he could see Alex's lips tremble, rigid and tense before him.

This was no lithe poking fun at each other any more. They both knew now; this was serious.

He smiled encouragingly at her, and finally Alex moved to stand on the tips of her toes, her lips meeting his with a soft brush; piercing Finbar to the very core of his being with a tender blaze that centered itself in his sacral chakra and singed a path up his spine, sending flames of energy throughout his whole body, bringing a shift deep within that made his instinct cry out in understanding and recognition.

His second hand moved to the small of her back and with the slightest pressure Alex molded into him willingly, her small body aligned against his strong chest.

Watching the scene with the softest of smiles, Blaise gave himself a pat on the head. It was one of the most beautiful things he had ever seen and he prayed to Salazar Slytherin for the very un-Slytherin-ish feeling of cheesy warmth at the whole situation. With a last eye on the couple, he made to walk towards the dungeons.

But then it went wrong.

It happened so fast his brain didn't even have the time to put it together. Finbar, suddenly froze and color drained from his face.

Alex immediately sensed this and drew back, as if she were afraid she'd done something wrong.

The Gryffindor staggered back, shaking his head in disbelief bordering on panic. What he said next, blew all logic through the proverbial window, and cut both Alex and Blaise in ways unimaginable, though in different ways for either of them:

"This is wrong."

And then he turned, and fled from underneath their eyes.

Alex stood there, unmoving, her green eyes so bright that they glowed even in the well-illuminated Hall.

"-I…" was the first sound she could bring out.

Blaise stood beside her, not knowing what to say, unable to comprehend what had just happened. Clasping her smaller hand in his, he held on tight, as now suddenly came the devastating feeling over Blaise that their descent to Hell had just begun.

At the Burrow…

"I'M GOING TO FUCKING KILL HIM!" Draco roared, slamming his fist into the table so hard that everything rattled.

Harry had tried to calm him, from the moment he had paled to a ghostly white, to now, when his fury was on its height. If you'd have asked Harry a year ago what kind of person Draco Malfoy was, he'd said that the Slytherin was cold, cruel and devoid of any emotion other than contempt. But as he'd started to learn over these last crazy months, Draco was far from cold and devoid of emotion. Actually, 'Ice Prince' really wasn't a title that completely suited him; because Draco shared an explosive temperament that rivaled Harry's easily. When he was hurt, or worried, afraid, angry, he'd lash out; start screaming, yelling and insulting. And by the equal fieriness that these outbursts displayed, Harry had no doubt that Draco was as capable of feeling as he was.

Draco just chose not to show it. And that he had been successful in this deceit was obvious; just judging by the look on the Weasley's faces. The fact that Draco Malfoy had not only somehow ended up in their lives, but that he was now also reacting as how any of the older Weasley brother would have done when their little sister was hurt, was a clashing confrontation with any of the prejudges they might have had against this young aristocrat.

"WHO THE HELL DOES HE THINK HE IS?" he screamed again, the waves of pure acerbity rolling of him, wave, by wave, by wave, …

Harry was still holding on to him, cause he knew if he dared to let go now, Draco would do something that was entirely dangerous, such as trying to apparate without even having learned how to, and very possibly getting not only himself, but Harry as well, splinched.

"Please Draco, just calm down. Maybe it wasn't what it looked like…" he tried carefully.

Malfoy whirled at him, glaring so icily that Harry felt his insides start to freeze from the core out.

"Not what it looked like?" he snarled, blonde locks flying about his head at the harsh movements, "The fucking bastard kissed her, kissed her like he meant it, and then just said that it was wrong."

His normally controlled eyes were burning, almost as if the color in his eyes changed in rapid succession, like watching a storm unfold at the bare sky, and nobody that could do anything to stop it.

"How would you feel, if someone kissed you, making you feel real, and then leave you, standing there, with nothing more than the revelation that you were 'wrong'" Draco's voice was so soft that it made involuntary make the hairs in Harry's neck stand, realizing that the Slytherin was indirectly referring to them, how it would feel for Harry if Draco were to let him fall like that.

"How would you feel, Harry? HOW THE HELL WOULD YOU FEEL?" Draco all but screamed into Harry's face, "IT HURTS!" he hissed through clenched teeth, whilst his nostril flared, "She's in pain." He said again in that dangerously soft tone, "And he did it to her."

He raised his chin defiantly, jutting it out, "And I am going to make him PAY!"

And then it happened, as it had done so twice before, the shock; the white-hot sizzle throughout their bodies, choking their minds and their reason. And again all other saw and felt it happen; all but Draco himself.

At the last word he had slammed both his hands on the table standing in the kitchen, the scream so loud that it felt as if his throat might tear. His slender but nonetheless powerful from was shaking from head to toe, his back turned to them all, and head slumped down. Those fair and usually nimble hands were splayed on top of the table, and the knuckles were jutted out clearly from under the delicate skin, almost as if he sought the wrench the life out of anything he could get close to.

All the objects on the table started to rattle and only Draco's harsh breathing came through. Ron, who was standing on the other side of the table and was therefore able to see part of Malfoy's down-turned face, noticed how his eyelids were pressed shut, venting his anger in magical outbursts into the atmosphere. And when Ron saw Draco baring his teeth, he noticed he was shaking, freezing to the point it hurt, the cold biting.

Draco's breath came out in small puffs, forming little clouds in the air in front of him, and the previously warmly crackling hearth snuffed out as if it had been destroyed with the Killing Curse.

In a halo around his hands, ice crystals began to coat the table's surface, the effect resembling eerily as the impending sign that a Dementor was near.

By now the pitcher with freshly made steaming tea, was frozen as well, the glass now crackling due to nature's merciless laws.

"He's going to PAY!" Draco roared, slamming his fist on the table again, and at that promptly several pitchers and glasses exploded, as did the plumbing at the sink burst, spraying water all over the room.

The contact with the liquid startled Draco out of his devouring rage, and he slipped as he tried to step back. But Harry half caught him, and went down to the floor with him as well.

For a few second everybody just stared in disbelief at the still fountaining sink.

Harry was still sitting on the floor, his lips slightly parted, Draco sitting in between his legs. Strong arms were wrapped around the slender waist, and Harry felt the Slytherin's lungs expand and draw in at a rapid rate.

Then Hermione said softly, "Fire… Darkness and… Water."

Normally their depart for Hogwarts had been scheduled for that evening, after another promising meal of Molly Weasley's excellent cooking, but, as obviously, Draco would not have been stopped even if he had been facing a whole army of manticorns, the students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry were packing the few belongings they had brought with them.

All the while Draco Malfoy was as silent as he could be without appearing ungrateful and impolite to the family that had taken him into their midst, though reluctantly, but had done so nonetheless. There was only one thing on his mind, and the scenarios that were playing before his mind's eye were no pretty ones. After making sure that Finbar Ganad would not ever come near his best friend again, he'd seek her out, Alex herself, and demand why she had so forcefully shut him out. And perhaps scream at her for a while, too.

During the silent-treatment, Harry Potter just observed the Slytherin, while hosting an emotional war inside of him. What had happened? Okay, so knew what had happened, but not why it had happened. And even as he felt Alex's constant emotion signature inside of him too, caught her pain, the feeling of insignificancy, the confusion, and yet her longing, Harry also wondered what in Godric's name had possessed Finbar to do what he had done. Because appearances be damned, he just knew it was not what it had seemed. He knew the werewolf enough to realize that something must have been indeed wrong for him to react that way. And Harry also knew that Finbar had not meant to hurt Alex.

Hermione Granger's frown didn't cease one bit as they said their farewells to the Weasley household, her thoughts troubled. By all the commotion the incident with the third magical outburst already had been pushed to the background for later insight. But not for Hermione.

It had begun, and it would continue to do so until it was fulfilled, and God knew what would happen then. What if it would be their down fall to the consummation by powers they could not possibly understand?

Hermione had always been smart; and she had heard about the Elemental Theory of Seven, but had forgotten about it as the Department of Magic Research (answering to the Department of Magical Catastrophes) had declared it nonsense as the few sources they had already stated that the Theory was incomplete, unbalanced. Though, as obvious now, pure elemental magic had not ceased to exist, but now they were in the center of it all. Seven young adults caught up in the untamable Power of the Planet, or simply the Force of Existence. Everything always seemed to happen to them.

So far she had understood that these powers awoke from their passive state by strong, raw, uncontrolled and pure emotions. Both Ron and Draco had been furious while it had happened, while Blaise had had a nightmare where he had been confronted with his failure of being unable to defend his friend.

The Element of Fire was active in Ron, as while Draco carried the Element of Water; though the initiate effect had come out in an eye-widening drop in the temperature, with the result of Ice next. Perhaps suiting that Draco and Ron would be opposing elements.

Blaise Zabini, a young man she hardly knew, had been forcefully imbued with the power of Darkness, or as the old term named it –Caliga. Only, what had exactly happened with 'vision' she did not understand.

And though Hermione knew she should not, she could not help but wonder what her element would be…

As they passed through the doorway, the twins stopped Draco. Both Harry and Hemione held their breaths.

Suddenly George said; "Take care Malfoy."

"Yeah, good luck." Fred nodded; his expression serious.

Draco stared at them, baffled at being unofficially forgiven for all he had done against this family, people he had scorned his whole life. And he registered that they must have seen his reaction to the mistreat of his best friend, thus showing that he could care and that he had changed. Plus adding how he and Harry had interacted. He nodded, with a tight smile, "Thanks."

In the Main Hall of Hogwarts…

The company of five –Ron, Ginny, Hermione, Draco and Harry- walked into the Entrance Hall, the immense wooden doors closing shut behind them. A welcoming, soothing scent tickled Harry's nostrils, the kind that told him it was Christmas. The smell of dried orange studded with cloves and sprinkled with cinnamon, the smell of gingerbread and honey. The floor made a loud tap, tap, tap sound with each step they took. The noise echoed off the walls and ceiling, making it seem like some sort of cave, though on the background they could hear pupils laughing, unmindful of all the terror that was virtually looming on the doorsteps, just waiting for that perfect moment to strike and claim.

Harry and Draco walked shoulder to shoulder behind the others, knowing fully that what they were attempting was hazardous and just down-right unreasonable. And yet they were cautiously making their way over to Dumbledore's office on the latter's request, sent to them earlier this morning by owl.

Unfortunately, it seemed that absolutely nothing was meant to go smoothly and without problems and complications of late. Because, right now, with the worst timing ever, appeared Finbar Ganad into the Hall, obviously heading for the direction they had come from, wrapped into warm all-type-weather-proof-robes and his Nimbus 2000 in hand. If he hadn't had his head lowered, long black hair shielding his face, they would have noticed him sooner, but now they almost particularly knocked into them.

Even worse timing.

Only Harry's Seeker dexterity and reflexes, and being the stronger of them two, resulted in him being able to catch Draco as he lunged for the werewolf with a shout.

"YOU BLOODY BASTARD!" the Slytherin howled, using all his weight in attempt to free himself from Harry's grasp.

By now Ron had leapt to his aid, grabbing the back of the Slytherin's robes while trying to still the balled fist swinging hence and forth in attempt to hurt his target. With combined forces Harry and Ron managed to drag him back to his feet and not still in half-dive for the object of his animosity.

Finbar just stood there, his expression blank, eyes unfocussed. He didn't say anything, just watched dispassionately how Malfoy was trying to tear him to pieces.

"I'm going to rip you apart with my bare hands, you piece of shit!" Draco heaved between his efforts of liberating himself.

"C'mon Malfoy," Ron tried, perhaps yanking a little harder on his the collar of Draco's robes than necessary, "'The kill first, ask questions later' is hardly the right approach now…"

"Not until I've transfigured his dick into a toothpick, dammit!" he retorted in a low, sneering voice.

He doubled his efforts with a snarl when he saw that Ganad was still simply standing there, and the lack of response drew Draco Malfoy mad with anger.

"Leave him be Draco…"

That voice alone caused the whole assemble of Slytherin and Gryffindors to turn their heads in unison, dumbstruck. Even Harry and Ron let go of a now limp and shocked Draco, who fell promptly in a heap to the floor with a curse of surprise.

The small form of Alex Ladon descended in a calm pace down the large staircase, hair pulled back in a loose braid and the cloak Blaise had given billowing behind her in a rather Snape-like fashion. She came to a stop next to Finbar, whose face showed a myriad of emotions in rapid succession.

"I'm glad you're back guys…" she said with a smile that didn't quite reach her eyes, "I'm sure we've got a lot to talk about…" Alex gazed pointedly at Draco and Ron.

Draco, though, was not buying any of it; and with one stride he zoned in on Finbar. But was stopped by Alex's tight grip on his wrist.

"What the HELL do you think you are doing?" he hissed indignantly, uncomprehending why she was standing up for this bastard who had used her and thrown her away.

Alex just watched him, and Draco caught his breath as he looked into a pair of slate-gray eyes. A sight he used to see in the mirror, gazing back at him with numbing cold. It was as if he were looking at a younger version of himself, judging by the eyes alone.

"I'm sure it was just all a…" Alex's head tilted upwards, and she looked blankly at Finbar, "mistake." She finished, though she could not completely ban the bitterness out of her voice.

The Werewolf promptly opened his mouth, as if the words were on the tip of his tongue, choked, swallowed, and closed his mouth again, simply looking back at her.

"See?" Alex said with a half-hearted shrug.

Draco could not believe what he was hearing, was positively fuming, and would have done something, anything at all to end this madness. What yet he wasn't sure off, but the firm hold on his upper-arm by Harry was enough to clench his jaw shut. He glared at Finbar, telling him wordlessly that this wasn't over yet, and that he was already brooding on the werewolf's messy demise.


Pinching the bridge of his nose, Harry Potter tried to ignore the currently whirlwind of all-out fury throwing things throughout the whole room. After the unfortunate run-in in the Entrance Hall, they had managed to drag Draco away, only after Alex had bargained in her going with them to Dumbledore. The whole bloody time Draco had interrogated her shamelessly, but had only gotten a few shrugs and the occasional 'yes' or 'no's'.

Obviously she thought that it was none of Draco's business, and though he tried not to show it, he was hurt by the lack of trust she seemed to have towards him; thus resulting in the momentary eruption of cropped up emotions and frustrations.

Not only because of Alex, but because of everything that had happened the past week…

The piercing betrayal of his father, and even attempt at being murdered by him had gone deep. A scar marred his chest to remember him of it. The inevitable loss of his mother, too, and the fear of what would now happen to her… Narcissa had never been the perfect mother; she had been too young to truly understand the needs of a child, especially seeing as she had been wed to man she respected only, but not loved. Yet still, she was close to Draco's heart, the closest he ever had to a loving parent.

That was followed by the phenomenal combining of pure magic to save not only his body, but also his soul. And obviously the mingle of events that had flooded them through doing so. No-one really knew what was going on, and right now there had been no time as of yet to talk about it; because of one simple reason: they were still bound, and there was no resolve to the fact that they still had to spend the nights together. Otherwise they could not even begin to hope to face tomorrow, and all its classes, other students, and all those straining hours spend apart.

And then, linked to that, was the fact that –as opposite of Ron- he harnessed the power of Water. Or maybe not controlled it, but carried its active presence within his soul, printed on his aura like a blinding signature. Or at least that's what they had figured out by now, and though they were missing Blaise and Finbar to confirm it at the time, they had agreed that it must have had to do something with elements. But what exactly nobody knew. And obviously urgency was pressing heavily on their shoulders, because the time would come when they needed to go to Dumbledore.

And that proverbial mountain of stress and repressed pain came out in all its bitterness when Draco and Harry had been left on their own in the room they had been given to share until the bond allowed permanent separating. The Slytherin had barely taken the time to observe his new surroundings and has simply started a tirade of wrath and had been doing so for over twenty minutes, with Harry sitting desolately on the bed.

After what seemed to Harry as more than an hour, Draco slumped to the floor with a hiss of pain, clutching his chest as he bundled up protectively and in an instant Harry was by his side, gathering Draco in his arms.

The blonde withered in the embrace, panting in agony, inhaling air with shrieking gasps.

Drawing him close, panic rising in the pit of Harry's stomach, his hands sought frantically to find a way to touch Draco's bare skin before the latter would pass out under the strain. Finally he made contact with the smooth and soft skin of his partner, feeling the abs sliding under his fingers as he moved his hands upward until he found the roughened, torn skin that made up the huge scar.

Instantly Draco drew in a breath sharply, eyelids pulling open half-way in relief. He allowed Harry to pull him into sitting position in-between the Gryffindor's legs; resting his head on the latter's right shoulder. Draco swallowed and closed his eyes, the strain of the past week's abhorrent events almost too much. And now Harry was holding him like that, and it felt like every barrier he had ever erected around his emotions had disappeared.

"God Draco…" Harry breathed laboriously into the blonde's ear, his voice now also straining under the pain he was partly carrying for Draco.

Just one single tear seeped from under the closed eyelid, nothing more, no change in the pattern of his breathing, nothing. It clung to his pale eyelashes before trailing a path down his cheek. Harry stilled and watched in some sort of half-shock, before hesitantly raising a trembling hand, erasing the tear with the pad of his thumb.

Draco leaned into the hand, his voice almost nonexistent, "It hurts so much…" shoulders softly shaking, he opened his eyes, brimming with unshed emotions, bitten back with pride, "This feeling… it hurts so much… I've never… I've never…"

Harry caressed Draco's skin while his lips pressed light, slow kisses everywhere on his face from the angle he could reach; realizing that Draco was not talking about the pain that was scorning his chest. "Do I have to go…?" He asked softly.

A soft snort came from Draco, "Even if I wanted you to, you couldn't. It would kill us…" A short silence, filled only by their laborious breathing and then, "But no, I don't want you to go."

Harry was not able to repress the smile that flooded his features, and he nuzzled into Draco's neck, the soft locks of hair tickling his nose and cheeks. Hesitating for a moment longer, he murmured reluctantly, not wanting to break this delicate moment "Better now?"

"Yes." The voice whispered, "But could we go to sleep now? I'm exhausted."

That revelation didn't surprise Harry one bit, it had been a rough week on the Malfoy heir, and though he was supposedly spending his days recovering, things hadn't exactly settled down. Especially not after the emotional climax today. The Boy-Who-Lived didn't really answer his companion's question, and just moved to stand up, gently tugging Draco to his feet as well.

Again, they both tried to pass through the terribly grousing task of undressing, which still proved to be quite a confusing debacle to do harmoniously in tandem. But finally, after the usual grumbling, they were standing in nothing put their boxers, and though it was probably still rather early, they crawled under the blankets.

Before Harry extinguished the candles, doing his best to focus the wandless magic, which still was a rather tedious task, Draco had remained as rigid as a board, lying on his back unmoving, eyes pressed shut almost angrily. But then the Gryffindor finally managed stifle the last little fire, and darkness settled over the room. There was an odd, even tense silence, and then Draco suddenly shifted, pressing himself against Harry, their bodies aligning perfectly.

Burying his face into the juncture of Draco's neck, observing that he fit rather well there, Harry nibbled gently on the moon-lit skin, and the other hand made its way over to the Slytherin's back where it weaved a pattern of soothing circles.

Harry had always though that it would be more complicated… this whole 'relationship-thing', whatever it was that they shared. At least as disturbing as it had been with Cho; he had never understood what was going on and when he was supposed to do what to please. With Draco it was somehow easier, he didn't need to think about what was pleasing or offending. His lover was always very clear with his signals and would not be aggravated when Harry didn't get the clue, because then Draco would initiate it himself.

Suddenly he stopped breathing. Lover. He had referred to Draco as his lover. Was that what they were? The thought made his fingertips tingle. Did he want them to be…lovers? He looked up at the other apprehensively, his eyesight now adjusted to the darkened state of their surroundings.

It seemed almost as if Draco answered him right then, though he was ignorant to Harry's unspoken question, staring down at him with fathomless gray eyes before brushing two thumbs slowly over Harry's lips, tilting his head with gentle pressure of his hands.

"Harry" he murmured, his slightly hoarse tenor broken, shuddering with the unfamiliar emotion swirling through his body, soul and mind. A thumb slipped between the lips of the young man as he inhaled at the mention of his name, a gesture so intimate for the both of them; both rivals who used to refer to one other by the last name or insults.

Again, there was no doubt in Harry's mind as he touched the tip of his tongue to the intruder, tasting the slightly salted skin. Though, upon realizing what he had done, he blushed, but did not look away.

He swept the moistened extremity over the full bottom lip, watching the expression on Harry's face calculatingly before bending down to kiss him. The whole room seemed to slip away leaving just them suspended in this sweet, simple feeling. Soon, Draco was claiming his mouth in a series of almost desperate kisses, and as they were reacting off of each other, Harry returned them almost timidly, unsure of what to do, mixed with controlled desire.

Draco found it a most delicious combination, and before actually realizing what he was doing, he traced Harry's slightly parted lips with his tongue.

The Gryffindor's head snapped backwards, surprised, his mind shocked into numbness.

Draco blinked, rather dazed, and after finally catching on to what had happened he let out a complaintive sigh. The emerald eyed-boy was still breathing hard, staring up at him, showing unnumerable emotions on his face.

Feeling so very embarrassed and angry at himself; Harry looked away, whispering, "I'm sorry… I've never…and…so…I'm sorry I can't do this right."

Even in the vague sheen of the night, Draco could be seen arching a pale eyebrow, his prominent, handsome features outlined in blue shadows. Stupid Gryffindork, Draco thought exasperatedly to himself, and in one motion he twined his long arms around Harry's torso, whilst brushing his lips over the other's.

"Just… just let me…" he murmured thickly, half-incoherent as he was already busying himself with planting deliberate, almost demanding kisses. Pursuing him to relax, Draco didn't give Harry the time to shy away again. When the caresses where returned with equal fervor again, he gave in to the urge pass his tongue over that delightful mouth again. He almost lost his sanity when Harry did not back away this time, but neither made a move to do something in the first instant. Then Harry carefully parted his lips, and gasped as Draco's tongue rose to meet his.

Harry's mind was flooded, never had he deemed it possible that a kiss such as this could be so wonderfully sensitive, so overwhelming and even natural. Soon, he found himself almost frankly struggling to regain the dominance.

When they reluctantly broke apart, Harry's lips were reddened and swollen, not used to be so thoroughly snogged. Draco hummed appreciatively when a moist kiss was pressed to his forehead, the bridge of his nose, the tip of his nose and finally onto his lips, before the raven haired youth shifted himself comfortably.

Nestling the side of his head to Draco's chest, Harry could actually hear the thundering heart, feel it. His own heart took a few leaps when he realized that it was because of him that the normally stoic Slytherin was now completely disheveled, his guard down, feelings open. Casting one look at the other youth, meeting the tired smirk with one of his own, Harry felt content. Just a moment ago a ferocious snake and now gazing back at him with eyes speaking of passion and respect.

At the other side of the castle, Alex Ladon cried in her sleep.

The Morning of the 1st of January.

Draco Malfoy found that his hands were trembling uncontrollably when he picked out a set of robes from the wardrobe.

The room he and Harry were sharing had been one of the main reasons as to why Dumbledore had called them into his office. The bond was even close to dissolve and return freedom to the both of them yet. Not by far, for not even a complete week had passed, and the bonding would be strongest for two weeks after it had been formed. So, they were not even halfway.

The choice had easily been made, but acting on it was a whole other thing. Especially remembering how he had been rendered breathless after his emotional tirade. But he did not want to admit this to Harry; he was not ready to confess that he really needed him. Not after only sharing their first kiss a good two weeks ago.

He was a Malfoy, and he would confront this challenge with his head held high. But then again he was Slytherin, and self-preservation almost demanded that he should tie Harry to a chair, and barricade them both in this room until it was over. So, in a word, he was very anxious.

Harry probably knew this, the numerous glances told him enough, but he would not under do for his former rival. He figured Harry had sensed this, and was silently grateful that he didn't speak of it.

Suddenly he became aware of a mental caress, tickling him. He quickly gave in, but did not even try to repress the vexation he still felt towards his friend for shutting him out so severely.

Drake? I'm right outside; I'll walk you to the Great Hall. Alex paused, getting in his resentment, If you want…

She added softly.

Be right there. He responded blankly, and then shut her out himself, though he was not as apt in it as she was.

Facing the door, Draco's visage had a grim look to it, as if he were a man facing the impossible. He almost jumped when he felt soft fingers tangling with the hairs in the nape of his neck, and Harry presence moved to stand beside him, looking at him.

"Ready?" asked, doing his best to look assured and confident.

Draco just nodded, longing irrationally to pull him into an embrace. But his pride made that he remained where he was. With a firm movement the door swung open, and they both emerged.

As promised, Alex was waiting outside, leaning casually against the stone wall. Her arctic gray eyes observed him closely, and it struck both young men just how worn out and… bitter she looked.

If Alex had noticed their dumb, gaping stares, she managed to ignore it quite well, "Good morning, ready to face the world today?" she said with a small smile.

Draco just grunted, still piqued.

"You two are just about the most stubborn bloody bastards I've ever met," she sighed, looking at them fondly.

"We'll be fine," Harry said firmly, trying to be brave for both himself and Draco.

Alex just rolled her eyes heavenward, and turned to lead the way to breakfast, the two rivals following behind her quietly. It was rather early, even for a school day, but they had done so consciously, knowing that it would allow a calm passing through the ancient castle without rousing to much suspicion.

By the time they had reached the Great Hall, Ron, Ginny, Blaise and Seamus were already waiting for them.

"Hiya, mate!" Ron beamed at him with a wide grin.

Trying to sound careless, Harry smiled back saying, "Thanks for waiting up."

"S'kay, really," Seamus answered smoothly, keeping his eyes trained on the blonde Slytherin suspiciously. He had been one of the Gryffindors to witness the open display of affection, and though Hermione and Ginny had tried to drill it into him that Harry was not under Imperio, he still couldn't help but give Malfoy the Evil Eye. He agreed to the pact of secrecy only for Harry, because he did not wish for his friend to be in the center off all media attention again. That much he felt he owed him.

Ginny smiled at him, as always radiant and fiery, but turned the expression into a frown as her eyes rested upon Draco, "You alright? You look a little pale…"

"Dominant ferret-genes," Ron said with a grin.

Draco gave him a hard look, before answering, "I'm fine, just a little tired."

Steeling themselves as the first early students already started to gather for breakfast, and their odd group receiving many confused looks, they stepped through the giant archway.

Draco sighed dejectedly, locked eyes one last time with Harry, and then let his expression morph into the usual harsh sneer. He shouldered Harry almost brutally, snarling, "Watch it where you're going, Potter. You Gryffindors always pack up like mindless cattle, not watching where you're going."

"You're the only animal here, Malfoy! Like the groveling little serpent you are…" Harry retorted easily, catching on to the game.

Ron drew up next to Harry, "Shove off Ferret-face, go mingle with your fellow slime-balls over there."

And that was how they parted, Harry to the left, seating himself at the Gryffindor table, and Draco to the right, flanked by Blaise and Alex. Almost immediately the blonde prefect realized just how bad this idea was; all his senses, his instincts, his very core screamed out at the wrongness of leaving Harry's side. Yet he raised his head high; and just sneered a little harder at the world before him as he took seat at the Slytherin table, his back turned towards Harry.

Alex was looking at him with an 'I-told-you' look in her eyes, yet tried to push some of her scarcely regained magical energy down his link to keep his barriers up.

"So, how was your vacation?" Blaise said in a typical drawl trademark for their house, trying to change the topic.

He had barely opened his mouth, when suddenly the syllables got stuck in his throat, not able to believe who had just taken seat next to him. "Nott?"

Theodore Nott was looking positively horrible, his face gaunt and worn. But nonetheless, he smirked at the Slytherin Seeker. "I'm not letting you strike all the honor as the only one defying the Dark Lord with parents as Death Eaters you know." In the thunderstruck silence of their shock he helped himself to some black coffee, "You're not the only one with a backbone." Sipping gingerly at the warm liquid, he closed his eyes with a pleased sigh.

"I-" Draco started, thrown of guard, but then paused and decided to just say what he thought, "I'm honored." And he meant it.

Theodore just nodded at him, his expression serious "I've been disinherited. If I go home they'll kill me…"

Draco got the most peculiar feeling as Nott shifted his eyes ever-so-slightly to his chest. Licking his chapped lips with a wince he added almost conversationally, "Surprising choice of boyfriend, though, don't think anyone saw that one coming…"

Before he could stop himself he blurted, "How did you know?"

Theordore just glanced before nipping at his mug again, "Careful or you're going to blow your cover. Nice diversion; that little pow-wow just a moment ago, though. Anyhow, how did I know you ask? It has been the topic of brooding evil plots all Christmas long, especially after you almost managed to get your scrawny little ass Avada Kedavra-ed to the afterlife if it weren't for some people, who shall remain anonymous…" he gave a lop-sided smirk at Alex, Blaise and then looked over his shoulder to the Gryffindor tables. "And then they got really pissed off, and though I had said that I found myself too unworthy as of yet, father wanted me initiated…"

Pausing his explanation, he fondled at the sliver-green scarf covering his neck, exposing some of his neck. An angry mark covered the expanse of his skin, almost identical to Draco's. "Father didn't take well to 'no'… so we had an argument." He winced at the memory, "Yes, well, if it hadn't been for the secret port-key Professor Snape has given me, I wouldn't be here today."

"Snape knew about it?" Blaise asked, confused.

"Yes," Nott answered, "I told him my reluctance to pledge my loyalty and life to man who's attempting to murder people whom he calls fifthly, though he is no better. That thing as long ceased to be human…" Then he grinned, even due the seriousness of the conversation, "Besides, I'm a Slytherin, I like to be on the winning side."

All four of them snickered softly, and Draco felt his heart rid some of the stress that had been weighing down on him.

The day passed with uncountable eye-openers, and for the first time in his almost 17-year old life Draco Malfoy found himself truly proud at the House of Salazar Slytherin. Because even at the height of war, many of the elder students had found their ways back to Hogwarts, and indirectly so to the light side. Theodore Nott had been only one of many; Millicent Bullstrode, Greengrass Daphne, Tracey Davis, Adan Rockend, Jax Zayin, Damme Strife, Pansy Parkinson and another dozen others had returned. All together, Alex, Blaise and himself included, they didn't even reached the half of their previous number, but to Draco it was more than he had ever dared to hope for.

But as the day progressed, Draco found his body straining under the force of the life-force bond, and during his afternoon classes breathing became a problem. Though Alex and Blaise always took on the formation of a vague guard, gaining him easy passing through crowds, and as much of the solitude as possible. Yet escaping his house mates was not an option and more than once he found himself shaking hands with one of them, and by the end of the day he had been unofficially dubbed the backbone, leader and perfect example of Slytherin. It didn't take long before his smug satisfaction turned to all-out irritation and a wish of just being to hide away from the constant attention.

If he passed Gryffindors or Hufflepuffs in the hallways they would either regard him suspiciously, some even threateningly, and others would give him a barely perceivable nod of recognition.

Even the occasional Ravenclaw had congratulated him lofty. And during lunch a certain Luna Lovegood –who had been Harry's date for the Ball the remembered vaguely- had felicitated him with his marriage. That had been quite awkward.

And especially as news traveled fast in between the massive stone walls of Hogwarts, it had somehow gotten out that both Nott and he had defied the Dark Lord, though, luckily, nobody knew of the circumstances and both male Slytherins allowed them to conjure the most unlikely story after the other. The last rumor Draco had caught was of Nott defending an orphanage of muggle children, fighting off a small army of Comars.

January the 1st, Dinner.

Harry pricked absently into the heap of porridge Ron had so generously loaded his plate with, but he was not even remotely hungry. His head hurt, his chest hurt, his heart hurt, and everything was burning within him.

And not only that; but the constant spotlight his fellow peers seemed to have caught him in hadn't given him not even once the opportunity to withdrew to his dormitory. But that was not what bothered him, no; the fact that his lover was looking ever worse than a warmed-up corpse didn't go down well. All day long his keen Seeker eye had sought out the blonde youth, who was trying his best to keep up all pretenses. But if dinner did not end soon, things would spiral downwards fast, because Draco more than once gripped his chest, pressing his palm against his heart.

Meanwhile he hard tried not to stare too blatantly while also attempting to follow the hushed conversation between Hermione and Finbar:

"…what happened?" Hermione asked softly, trying to look the werewolf into the eye.

"I told you before…" Finbar started to say, clearly running out of patience, but the female Gryffindor cut him off again.

"No, Finbar, I won't accept any of those pitiful lies no more," Hermione said in a lecturing tone, her brown eyes shooting sparks, "The truth, Finbar."

"It is none of your bloody business, Hermione!" the raven haired Gryffindor bit back, almost a bark, "I told you that I never, ever, meant to hurt her and NO I am not going to talk to her. As to why not is entirely MY business, so just give it a bloody rest!"

Hermione wouldn't let herself be pushed away so quickly, and after trying to prompt him all day long into talking with a gently attentiveness, her patience, too had grown thin, "We need to trust each other! You know this!" she shot back reproachfully, "What happened on Christmas Eve…"

"This has nothing to do with Christmas Eve!" Finbar almost shouted as he abruptly rose himself, "Why can't you just bloody leave me be!" And then he strode out of the hall.

The Houses were shocked into silence for a moment, but mostly the Gryffindors all staring wide-eyes at the departure of the usually so laid-back, ever so friendly and patient Finbar Ganad.

"Smooth, Hermione," Ron said with a slightly rebuking look, "Real smooth."

"Oh, just shut up…" Hermione heaved, burying her head in he hands tiredly.

On the other side of the spacious hall, Draco clutched at his chest as his heart started to beat in an irregular pace, and felt his body start to tremble with the exertion. He slumped forward, as the scorning pull on his scar started to increase, almost as if his chest were going to split right there and then.

The height of his agony rose until the ability to breathe left him, and he wanted very much to go and find someplace to collapse. Forcing his body to stand up and cooperate into fleeing the Great Hall was one of the most stupid things he could have done on that particular moment.

It felt as if his ribs shattered under the sheer pressure, and his legs gave out beneath him as he slid down to the floor. The pain clouded Draco's sight an eerie blood red, and he could literally feel his intestines starting to squirm within his torso, and his heart started to fail its rhythm.

He wailed, the sound setting everybody's teeth one edge, "HARRY!" he screamed out as he felt his life-fluids leaking from his mouth, "Haa---"

Before he completely crumbled to the floor, two strong arms locked around his torso, and Harry's own trembling body pressing against him from behind. Draco was staring ahead and breathing hard, with each intake taking as step deeper towards his death, blood by now dripping thickly down his chin. But then finally, Harry managed to literally tear the Slytherin's robes away from his feverish body, splaying his hand across the expanse of the roughened skin marring his chest.

"Stay with me Draco, c'mon!" Harry pleased into dampened blonde hair, and was barely aware of Alex lending a surge of magical energy as he let his own curative magic spill from his body in a radiant halo of white light.

Later, he would ask himself how he was able to manage such a display of strength unconsciously, unlike when he was actually trying to practice it.

But now all that mattered was that Draco suddenly inhaled, relaxing into Harry's arms, his heart beating in a high-pitched, but stabilized pace.

Harry let out a laborious heave of air, shaking like a leaf. Op on opening his eyes, he found that they were surrounded by a circle of fellow peers, most of them shocked beyond coherent reason, Blaise, Nott and Ron trying to press back the tide of student body, Alex slumped down on the floor, looking positively worse than before, and Dumbledore and Snape, pushing their way through the crowd.

But he didn't really care, almost as if he were detached of anything didn't involve Draco in any other was to aid him. "Draco…" he whispered crookedly, "Please…Draco… open your eyes… please…"

Harry thought he could have cried when Draco did so, a pair of highly disorientated stormy eyes finding his own. He wasn't aware that he really was crying at all.

SO, it's finally here. I'll let you guys know that I've had it finished for almost 2 weeks now, but it got delayed that long cause I was waiting for my betas to purify it of all evil typos… which still hasn't been done. And I figured I've kept you guys on the edge way too long…Thus:THIS CHAPTER HAS NOT BEEN BETA-READ!

So I have absolutely no idea AT ALL whether this chapter is even remotely good… I do hope it is, so you guys totally have to review your brains out so I'll know you like the way it's going alright? If not, tell me and I WILL try to fix it! Kay?