His Serpentine Lies

A/N: Ah, here we have the sequel to my fic, The Phoenix Follies. This story takes place right after Follies with the arrival to Hogwarts. It carries most of the same themes of Follies and some new ones. THERE WILL BE SPOILERS THROUGH OUT THE STORY. If you haven't read all the books, sorry.
Warnings: LIME!, self mutilation, slash (male and fem), incest, blood, NCS (note: NOT explicit), depression, suicidal tendencies, threesome. This is NOT A HAPPY STORY and wasn't made to be.
Pairings: (For the whole fic (updated with each chapter)): Draco/Harry, Hermione/Ginny, Ron/Harry, Blaise/Draco
Disclaimer: Not mine. Not getting money. I wish. Rylia and the Verifel are mine. Macabre is mine.

Chapter 1 - Don't Be False Or Untrue

"Are we friends now?" he asked quietly.

"I suppose," replied Draco.

They let go and stared at the barrier. Draco went through first, looking as nonchalant as any could manage while walking through a seemingly solid wall. That left Harry with Macabre curled up below his elbow. She seemed to enjoy traveling that way…Harry sighed and ran a hand through his long black hair. He was a Gryffindor. He had more courage than this. Steeling himself, Harry took one step after another before he was finally through.

At first, he was blasted with noise. Children laughing. People talking. Parents warning. And then it all stopped. Hundreds of eyes turned and stared at him. No one moved. No one spoke. They simply stared. It was so abnormal for the platform to be so silent. Not even the birds sung. Harry, for his part, stayed very still with his face blank. Draco stood only a few feet away. His expression mirrored Harry's.

Slowly, the blonde held out his hand. Harry took it and stayed close to Draco as they started towards the train. It seemed such a long way away…The people parted to either side, allowing the two passage. The whispers began almost instantly, none loud enough to make out the words. To Harry, it was like a chorus of snakes hissing incoherently. He ducked closer to Draco, his head bowed to keep from looking at them all.

When they got onto the train finally, the outside burst into noise just as the inside fell into total silence. Harry dared to look up and saw every eye riveted on him. Some looked surprised, others revolted that he was practically plastered to Draco's side, his arms tight about the blonde's and one hand clasped within Draco's. Some looked blank. He felt panic grip his heart, the organ pumping furiously as his breathing quickened. Draco squeezed his hand and led him through the quiet train. As they left each car, it would burst into conversation and the next would quiet to watch them pass.

"Draco!" cried a familiar voice before they could reach the last compartment. Harry froze and refused to turn around. Draco glanced over his shoulder.

"What is it, Parkinson?" he drawled with a bored tone. His eyes drooped half closed, as if she weren't worth his time.

"Potter's here!" she said gleefully. "I haven't seen him myself, but people say he's coming this way."

"Is that right?" Draco asked with amusement. He was constantly amused by Pansy's stupidity.

"People say he looks different…" She paused and seemed to suddenly notice the black haired person with their back to her. "Dray, who's your friend? I thought I was your girlfriend…"

She sounded hurt, but Draco knew it was an act. Pansy was one of the most manipulative women he'd ever known. He had jokingly let her believe she had sway over him for years, mostly for his family's benefit. Now, he really had no reason left and she was only getting more annoying.

"Who, this? Oh, this is just my very good friend." He smirked almost evilly and glared at her as he nudged the other's shoulder. Slowly, the boy turned around and stared at Pansy, emerald eyes boring into her own. She gasped and backed up.

"That's Harry fucking Potter!" she cried. "What are you doing, holding onto my Draco like that?!"

She came at him, as if to rip him away from the blonde, but a hand swung out and knocked her across the face first. Pansy stood sputtering, holding her reddened cheek. Her wide, confused eyes turned to stare up the still outstretched arm and lock onto enraged silver.

"Parkinson," Draco said almost sweetly, "If you lay a hand on Harry again, I won't kill you… I'll destroy you."

And then he turned with Harry and entered the last compartment. As soon as the door closed, Harry let go and fell to his knees, bent over himself as he held his head.

"Harry!" cried a voice. Draco looked up and finally noticed the two other people there. One redhead and one with bushy brown. The redhead jumped out of her seat and raced to the kneeling boy's side, rubbing his back. "Harry, what's wrong? What is it?"

"Loud," Harry whimpered. "Everyone…talking…whispering…screaming in my head…"

The brunette girl stood up and pulled out her wand. Draco grabbed for his, reflexively thinking she was going to hex him. After all, Hermione Granger hated him. But she didn't curse him. She lifted her wand and muttered two spells. The first cut off all noise from the outside. The second seemed to do nothing, until he looked down at Harry. Ginny had dragged the boy into her lap and was combing back his hair with her fingers. The pained look eased from the black haired boy's face. Sighing gently, Draco stooped down and gathered Harry into his arms before carrying him to a seat. Ginny followed and sat next to the boy before coaxing his head into her lap. He laid there quietly, eyes closed and body going relaxed.

With Harry tended to, Draco turned his gaze to the still standing Hermione. Her face was blank, eyes narrow but not angry. She looked much different than before. It wasn't much of a physical thing; it was the feel of her. There was no golden light of purity, no innocent happiness. It was as if her inner light had been snuffed out and replaced with something dark and sad. She stared at Harry like a woman lost. Finally, she stuffed her wand into her robe pocket. She was already in her school robes, the rolls of cloth turning her body formless as it did to most.

"Psychic attack," said the girl suddenly. Her voice sounded odd, rough and disused. Draco was surprised by than quiet, dead voice. He had heard about Hermione's capture, but he never dreamed it would turn the girl into such a shell. Ginny glanced at her, worry in her deep hazel eyes. Slowly, Hermione sat down across the car from the others. Her brown eyes bore into Harry's still shape. "He heard…everyone. It overwhelmed him."

"Heard?" Ginny looked down at the boy, noting that his pale cheeks were beginning to fill with color again and that he was almost asleep. "Harry can hear that well?"

"In his mind," Hermione replied. "I put up a shield against sound and blocked it mentally as well."

"How did you know?" Draco wondered absently. She didn't look at him, nor did she answer. Ginny spoke up instead.

"She just does," she said. "Hermione's a genius, after all."

There was a fond look in the girl's eyes. Draco glanced between she and the quiet brunette before it dawned on him. They were together. He sat down on Harry's other side, rattling that around in his head. Ginny and Hermione…Draco was not one to care about homosexual couples, male or female. He was quite bisexual himself. Most of the Wizarding World didn't care either. Wizards usually lived long enough that the need to procreate wasn't quite as important. There was a minority that disapproved, but they were rarely consulted. Still, it was a thing few openly spoke of. Even less so of a female coupling.

They were quiet as the train started off and barely spoke to one another until the lunch cart came. Draco bought snacks for the four of them, deciding to hold Harry's until he wanted them. He was still asleep, but had moved from Ginny's lap to Hermione's after the redhead got up to seek her brother. Draco was surprised that she didn't insult him or even glare at him. It disturbed him.

"Granger?"

Hermione glanced up with those deadened brown eyes and Draco found his voice gone. He closed his mouth and looked away. Silently, she turned back to stroking Harry's long black hair. The boy's face was relaxed in sleep, the nightmares that plagued him staved off by his friend's comforting touch.

Draco noticed it suddenly. There was something in those brown eyes as she gazed at Harry. Something important and almost lost. Something she didn't give to anyone else. There was a caring in her eyes, only for Harry. Draco hadn't even seen that when the girl looked at her lover. Had Hermione's world dwindled to so little?

Harry stirred. Hermione's hand stilled as his green eyes opened. Slowly, he rolled onto his back and stared up at her sleepily.

"…'Mione?" he murmured quietly. She smoothed bangs from his face.

"Yes," she replied. Harry turned his face towards her stomach, eyes falling near closed again.

"..It's quiet," he said sleepily. "…They went away…"

"I made them go away."

"..Thank you…"

"Anything for you, Harry."

And then he was asleep again. Draco got up and pulled out his shrunken trunk. He enlarged it and pulled out a book before reducing it's size again. Hermione watched him with the feel of an overprotective lioness, ready to strike out at any time. Draco sat back down and simply read his novel. Hermione was content to watch over Harry in silence, her mind a million miles away.

----

When Ginny found Ron, it was alone and silent. She had almost missed him, so used to finding him by that loud voice. He didn't notice when she stepped into his compartment, nor when she shut the door again. It wasn't until she touched his shoulder that he registered her at all.

"Ginny…" he murmured quietly. "Hello..."

"You look like someone ran over your cat," replied his little sister as she sat down across from him. Ron gave her a little smile, but it was weak at best.

"I just…well…"

"It's about Harry hanging onto Malfoy, isn't it?"

Ron looked away from her, brows furrowed. With a soft sigh, Ginny reached over and patted his knee.

"If it's any consolation, he was very kind to Harry with us."

Ron's brows drew together more harshly but he still said nothing. Ginny watched him quietly, noting the swirling emotions in his blue eyes.

"You're jealous!" she realized suddenly. Ron flushed red. Ginny smiled fondly at him. "You want Harry to come to you for comfort, not Malfoy."

"Of course I do!" Ron shouted. Then he immediately fell back into his depressed state. "I hate Malfoy."

"And you're hurt that Harry is with him right now and not you."

Ron shut his eyes tightly. His sister was always so perceptive, knew so much. It was as if she were the older sibling and he the youngest. Ron jumped a little when he felt her embrace him.

"Are you in love with him, brother?" The older boy went still in her arms. Ginny stroked his head gently. "It's okay if you are. I doubt anyone else could make him really happy."

Ron pulled away and looked at her face, searching.

"You're okay with that?"

She smiled. "I love you and I love Harry. He's my brother just as much as you is. I just want you both to be happy."

"Thanks, Ginny…"

"No problem, Ron."

----

'Are you satisfied?'

He was silent but didn't move from the warm embrace. The other's limbs were like snakes wrapped about him, long fingers caressing his face as breath hit his neck.

'You're a legend.'

'I didn't ask for it,' he whispered.

'Ah, but I didn't ask for you to live either, now did I?'

He closed his eyes and turned away from the leering face. Lips kissed his neck, deceivingly gentle.

'Poor little boy…He wants to fight but he knows he can't win…'

'Shut up,' he muttered.

'He can't protect the ones he loves from their greatest threat…'

'Shut up!' cried he.

'…Himself.'

'I SAID SHUT UP!' he screamed, ripping himself away. He stumbled and fell back to the ground, just short of the long fingered grasp. Those dark red eyes shined brightly, laughing mockingly.

'Poor little boy…' That almost gentle voice nearly cooed the words as the form moved towards him, moving as if liquid. He didn't fight when long fingered hands took his face in them, thumbs stroking his cheeks. Lips brushed across his and filled him with sudden cold. His body was wracked with shivers.

'He fights so hard but he knows that eventually he will lose…'

'Not today,' he murmured quietly.

'No, not today.'

He let his eyes fall shut once more as his body weakened. He wanted nothing more than to curl up and do away with the feelings the other made him experience. He fell into the dark form, finding himself cushioned before being slowly dropped to the ground. At the feeling of those horribly cold lips on his neck, he bit his own and turned away. He would submit and he would be bent as far as the other could manage, but in the end, it would still be he that awoke. No matter how many times those red eyes laughed as his body was taken over and over, he had to survive as long as possible.

Not today.

He opened his eyes. The car was still quiet, the only sounds being breathing and Draco turning a page in his book. He stared upwards. Above him, Hermione stared out blankly. He wanted to cry. She looked so lifeless, like a shell. Slowly, he reached up and touched her face. Hermione looked down at him and something filtered through her brown eyes. Something was still there! Harry grabbed onto that and held tight. There was something of Hermione left.

"Hello, Harry," she murmured. Draco glanced up at the sound and looked at Harry for a moment. Then he went back to his book.

"Hello, Hermione," Harry responded quietly. He gently stroked her cheek, the touch light and easily moved from, but she didn't seem to mind it. Actually, it appeared to reach her and Harry felt a clam settle over the girl. Her mind's chaotic state drifted into tranquil peace. Soon, there was very little at all going on within it.

"How are you?" he asked.

"Fine," she murmured. Her hand lifted and went back to gently stroking his hair. Her fingers combed through the black strands with loving care. It made him feel warm and safe, especially knowing that this was Hermione, that she wasn't totally broken, that he hadn't screwed up completely.

"You?" she asked. He had always loved the way she spoke, when she wasn't angry. There was a smoothness to it, almost as if the sound was dancing in the air. Even now, quiet and shy as it was, her voice still danced in his ears.

"Fine," he responded, mimicking. She gave him a warm, little smile that he returned as well. His eyelids threatened to drop over the emerald depths again. He didn't understand why he felt so tired. Suddenly, he felt warmth spread over his hand. He looked up, not having noticed that his hand, now covered by one of hers, was still on her cheek.

"You're not fine," she whispered quietly. Then she leaned down and kissed his forehead gently. "Don't lie."

"I'm sorry," he answered. She searched his eyes before nodding.

"It's okay."

They fell into a comfortable silence as Harry let his hand drop to lay on his stomach and Hermione continued to comb through his hair. Draco had silently listened to the exchange, glancing at their expressions every once in a while. He could see the genuine affection both held for each other, something too strong for either to forget, no matter what tortures they endured. This was the first time since regaining his memory that Harry had looked so calm. Draco couldn't help but feel a little jealous.

A little while later, Ginny returned to sit with the quiet three.

----

The train ride was over almost too soon. Students filed from it like ants from their hill, chattering and making as much of a ruckus as they could. They went in twos and threes to wait for the carriages, their ghostly horses so invisible. Harry felt Hermione give a start beside him before going immediately back to her calm. Beside her, Ginny pet her hand comfortingly.

Harry felt eyes on him, now that they were in the open. The whispers had begun as soon as Hermione took down the shielding spells on their compartment. Their lips didn't even have to move for him to hear them. Harry kept close to Hermione, her presence helping to keep him from freaking out.

Hearing voices no one else heard, even in the wizarding world, wasn't a good thing.

As he remembered that, Harry looked around for his red haired friend. The other boy had simply disappeared after going through the barrier. Finally, Harry spotted him and hurried over, Hermione in tow. Ginny was right behind the other girl and Draco followed at a more sedate pace, hands folded behind his head.

"Ron!" Harry called. The other boy looked up and smiled at him, waving. Harry felt safer after being reunited with him. The Golden Trio was together again. With one hand in Ron's and one in Hermione's, the group of Gryffindors went on to find a carriage.

"Malfoy."

Draco paused from going after the trio to look at the small redhead they'd left behind. There was a very serious look on her face and her eyes were hard.

"What is it, Little Weasel?" he drawled. The hazel gaze flashed.

"If you hurt either Harry or my brother, Merlin himself won't save you from my wrath," she hissed, her lip curling. Draco gave her a weighing stare.

"Bold words," he murmured. She smiled unpleasantly.

"Never idle," Ginny replied. Then she walked past him. Draco followed her with his eyes.

"Threats rarely are," he said to no one. The silvery haired boy stuffed his hands into his robe pockets. Glancing around, he noticed one Slytherin who wouldn't mind his company. Actually, the other boy was alone as well. Draco called over to him as he approached the boy.

"Zabini!"

Blaise glanced up, his dark blue eyes wondering for a moment before spotting Draco. Smiling a little, he brushed black hair behind his ear.

"Hey Malfoy," he replied. "Done slapping poor, innocent girls?

Draco sneered. "Parkinson deserved it."

"Yeah," Blaise replied, laughing. "I was wondering when you'd get tired of her."

"My parents were the ones that liked her, not me," said Draco with a roll of his eyes. Blaise grinned and the two got into one of the last carriages. They shut the door quickly before anyone else could intrude.

"Malfoy," Blaise said suddenly, quietly. "What of those rumors about Potter?"

"Rumors?" Draco's voice was careful, danger underlining it. Blaise leaned back without being perturbed.

"People say that Potter was hanging all over you this morning…" The blue eyed boy gave Draco a sideways look. "So…How was he?"

"I didn't fuck him," replied Draco.

"Really? How disappointing... I was sure you'd get him, what with his stay with your godfather… How could anyone refuse you?"

One thing Draco hated about Blaise was that the boy was too sneaky for his own good. Then again, it was also what he loved about him.

"Potter's a little….fucked," muttered Draco. Blaise raised a brow. "He lost his memory after the Battle. Didn't get it back until a little over a week before now."

"…Wouldn't that make it easier to fuck him?"

"Shut up, Zabini."

----

The Great Hall was a wonderful as ever when the students of Hogwarts entered. Candlelight glittered off of the spotless plates and cups, the tables decorated in their colors. The hall looked better than ever for those who saw it. For Harry, this was not to be. Before he could even lay eyes on the magnificent hall, an aged hand took his shoulder.

"A moment," murmured Albus Dumbledore in a quiet voice. Harry glanced up at him before turning to his friends.

"I'll meet you guys later," he said. Ron nodded and went on with Ginny dragging Hermione with them. The brown eyed girl stared at him until they disappeared through the large doors. Harry longed to follow her. Being alone with Dumbledore was not his idea of a good time. Sighing softly, he followed the Headmaster to the statue, up the stairs, and into the office. The final click of the door shutting seemed to sign his death wish.

"Peppermint?" offered Dumbledore with a gentle smile. "Not as nice as lemon drops, but I haven't had time to restock…"

"No thank you," replied Harry. He sat down in front of the desk while the Headmaster did behind. The old man paused then, seeming to be going over his words. Harry could almost hear the wheels turning in his head. He hated the silence, but dreaded the talk they were about to have more so. Finally, Dumbledore heaved a great sigh.

"Harry, how are you doing?"

"Fine."

"Dr. Minokura tells me that you feel a great amount of…guilt."

"You could say that."

Both were tiptoeing, and both realized it. However, they were loathe to dive too deeply. It was a game, really. Who could last the longest?

"How was your time at Professor Snape's Manor?"

"Fine."

"Have you two been getting along?"

"Yes."

They spoke of Harry's thoughts on Snape, Draco, even Rylia. Hollow, misleading talk. It didn't last long. Dumbledore was leading to things. Harry wondered how long it would take him to ask about Tom. He was quite aware that he was the reason Dumbledore was speaking to him at all. Finally, he got sick of waiting.

"Why don't we stop wasting both our time and get to what you really want to know?"

Dumbledore looked mildly surprised for a moment, then resigned. He leaned back in his chair and Harry watched as the man seemed to age years right before him. It was so odd, Dumbledore's ability to hide his age with no difficulty. It almost made him feel sorry for the man.

"Lets talk about Tom," said the old man quietly.

"Why didn't you lock him away in the first place?" Harry asked mercilessly. No need for pleasantries.

"I didn't know his spirit was free until you awoke after the battle," started Dumbledore. "After, I assumed that the wards on him would be enough to render him powerless."

"So," Harry murmured quietly. "You thought an evil spirit like Tom Riddle could do no harm to the one person he hated most in the world?"

"Yes," admitted the old man. Harry's emerald eyes flashed.

"Well, he did harm me. The others, too. And guess what? He's still doing it."

Dumbledore gave him a questioning look, one that made Harry's lips twitch into a bitter smile. He debated a moment whether or not to tell the man… After all, in the past, he'd kept things himself and they'd blown in his face. Might as well tell Dumbledore now about his little 'problem'. Slowly, he reached up and pointed to his temple, still smiling.

"In here, Headmaster," the boy nearly purred. He suddenly wanted nothing more than to hurt the old man as much as possible. As if it could make his own suffering by those aged hands any less. He suspected part of those feelings came from the other, but knew he too held bitterness. "He's still there, laughing, taunting… And there's nothing you can do to about it, is there?"

"He's-"

"Yes, he's in my head. At least, part of him. Enough that if I relax too much, he'll take over and do very naughty things."

Harry almost felt sorry about putting the horrified look in those aged blue eyes. However, his bitterness saved him from such a fate. Instead, he was secretly gratified. Finally, it wasn't he that was hurting. It was someone else! The other chuckled and Harry could feel his approval. The other hated Dumbledore even more than HE did.

"Don't worry," murmured Harry. "That day won't come for a long time. We have an understanding."

"Harry, you must be very careful in dealing with him…"

"Careful like you?"

The old man fell quiet. Harry glared at him. 'Yes,' thought the boy savagely. 'Now you get to stew in your mistakes.' He could have laughed, really. That is, if he actually felt like laughing.

"Yeah. I thought so. Are you done with me now?"

Dumbledore sighed softly and waved a hand. "You may go. The password is hippogriff."

The black haired boy got up and quickly left. The others were still in the great hall, but he had no appetite or want of social interaction. He didn't really care about the first years, either. With a sigh, Harry climbed through the portrait hole and went up to his dorm. The quiet was like a welcomed friend. Harry changed into his pajamas and climbed into bed. He could make it up to his friends later.

----

After the ceremony, Draco and Pansy led the students back to their dorm. They gave out the password and shuffled the first years off to bed. After that, Draco escaped to the prefect's bathroom. He didn't want to have those young eyes idolizing him any longer. Nor did he care for the older, more lecherous looks. Alone was very preferable to his housemates.

He thought he was in the clear when he was half way there, only to hear hurried steps behind him. Draco glanced back and sighed.

"What is it, Zabini?"

"I'm going to join you," smirked the dark haired boy. Draco rolled his eyes, but kept going. Blaise was a good friend, though they both respectfully kept to surnames. There was no one in Slytherin that Draco called by a first name and he was the only one Blaise didn't. He seemed to understand Draco's need for distance from the others.

"Tell me more about Potter."

Of course, the guy was more curious than anyone else in the world.

"What about him," muttered Draco. They reached the statue of Boris the Bewildered and gave the password before filing in. As expected, there was no one else there.

"I know you want him," Blaise murmured suddenly as he dropped to the side of the bath, turning on a few taps. The smell of lavender and strawberries saturated the air as bubbly water filled the bath. Draco couldn't help but think what a fruit the other boy was when he wanted to be.

"He's got a nice body," replied Draco honestly. He stripped down quickly and tossed his clothes aside. Blaise followed and both slipped into the warm water. Draco gave a gentle sigh of contentment.

"How nice IS his body?"

Draco smirked. "Slim… Nice muscles, but not bulky…Real responsive, actually…"

"I thought you didn't fuck him."

"I didn't," the blonde muttered almost angrily. Blaise laughed. "Just snogged him."

"So, how was the snogging?"

"You'd never guess the Gryffindor Golden Boy liked to be pounced…"

Again, the black haired Slytherin laughed. Soaking in the pleasantly warm water helped lighten Draco's mood, discrediting his more foul thoughts. Even Blaise wasn't very annoying during a bath.

"How big is he, anyway?"

Draco's eye twitched. "I don't know."

"You mean you didn't even get under the belt? My, I'm so disappointed in you…"

The blonde seethed. Smirking, Blaise moved to settle himself beside the other Slytherin.

"I was only kidding," he purred, reaching over to stroke the blonde's cheek. "Don't be mad…"

"Watch your hands," muttered Draco as he felt fingers sliding up his thigh. He looked away, ignoring the other boy even as soft, warm lips descended onto his throat. The hand that had been at his upper thigh lowered respectfully, grazing gentle designs down his leg. The other moved from his hand to trace over his chest.

"Zabini…" Draco warned. The other boy chuckled softly.

"You haven't fucked all summer, Malfoy…You're repressed and it's making you cranky. Let me help." Blaise lifted his face and smiled at him, blue eyes locking with silver. "No strings, as usual."

"I'm not cranky," pouted the blonde, but he didn't push the other away. Blaise laughed softly into his throat as he lavished the other boy with attention. A while later, the two boys returned the their common room, sated. Pansy tried to get back on Draco's good side, only to be tossed aside like so much trash. Blaise and Draco went up to their dorm laughing.

----

'Obstinate old man…'

'Perhaps,' he murmured in reply. The other seemed done with him for the night as they lay together in the dreamscape, naked limbs weaved about one another. He felt the cold breath against his neck, though he wondered how he could tell that cool from the ice that plagued his entire body.

'We should just kill him and get it over with.'

'Too much work,' muttered the boy.

'One Avada Kedavra and it's over…'

'I meant the clean up. Just think, all those tears shed by Aurors and teachers alike…'

'Empty tears.'

'But still tears.' He sighed softly and moved closer to the other's cold body. 'Besides, I don't fancy ending up in Azkaban before graduation.'

'That WOULD put a dampener on my World Domination plan…'

He laughed, hollow and joyless. The other shifted and rolled onto his body, straddling his hips. The boy simply stared up at him.

'What would the world think if they knew you'd become my whore?'

'They'd wonder why I let you,' replied the boy quietly. Laughter rang out.

'Let me?' It was mocking, dangerous. 'You let me do nothing, boy.'

'As you wish to think.'

That seemed to enrage the other. Vicious hands ripped at him, teeth tearing his skin. He cried out and struggled, but to no avail. The other was stronger and always would be.

He awoke to hand at his shoulders, shaking his body to consciousness, and scared blue eyes. Harry jerked away, his breathing quick and almost pained. The other boy sat still on the edge of the bed. He didn't make another move to grab him, nor even touch him, and the black haired boy was glad for it. It took a moment for him to collect himself. Harry sat up with his knees to his chest and watched Ron as the other boy observed him.

"Nightmare?" the redhead asked quietly. Harry nodded.

"You could say that," he responded.

"Bad one?"

"I've had worse." He wasn't lying. The dream hadn't been good, but Tom could certainly be more horrible..

"Are you okay?"

Harry was sorely tempted to lie to him…but this was Ron. Ron would never hurt him.

"No," he said finally. His best friend nodded a little.

"Anything I can do?"

Green eyes glanced over his face before locking onto his sapphire gaze. They fell into quiet, but the question was heavy between them. Harry knew that Ron would do anything for him. He also knew that he didn't deserve that. Ron had been hurt many times already because of his curse.

Ron watched the minute changes in those familiar emerald depths. Harry hadn't ever realized just how expressive his eyes were. He had a great poker face, but those eyes gave him away. Ron could see the other boy fighting with himself, the swirling tints changing almost at random. However, Ron had made a study of Harry over the years. The colors weren't random to him for he understood Harry's moods better than anyone.

And then, Harry did something unexpected. Ron registered the movement a moment after the other boy's arms were thrown around his waist. The redhead blinked and stared down at the black haired head pressed against his stomach.

"Harry-"

"Hold me?"

His voice was barely a whisper. Of course, Ron could never deny him comfort. Sighing softly, the red haired boy gently pet his soft hair and rubbed his back ever so lightly. Harry relaxed against him, almost purring under the attention. Ron watched him carefully from under darkly lashed lids.

"What do you dream of?" he murmured quietly. Harry shifted closer to him.

"Tom," he replied.

"Only him?"

"Most of the time…"

Harry felt sleepy again under Ron's gentle petting. It made him feel warm and safe and utterly protected. That was a luxury for him. Closing his eyes, he let himself completely relax. The redhead continued his calming ministrations until Harry's breathing slowed into a sleeping rhythm. He carefully picked up the other boy and righted him on the bed before pulling the blankets up. Staring down at the relaxed face, he reached out and brushed a few locks aside.

"I'll protect you," whispered Ron. He sat on the edge of the bed, gazing down at his fragile friend. The war was over, yet Harry was still haunted by it and likely to always be. He had been asked to grow up far too quickly. It was unfair, all of it.

Ron would do all he could to mend the broken spirit.

"Because…I love you."

----

A/N: 16 pages! 16 FRIGGIN' PAGES! That's the same as three or four chapters of Follies!! ....Are you guys happy now? sniffles

Yep, welcome to Lies. Hope you enjoy like you did last time.