Yes um, sorry for such a long pause, real life has a way of diverging one's attention. I can't promise to update regularly (sorry > ) but I'll try to finish this as soon as my motivation allows. Here's the next part!

Chapter 12

Harry accompanied his friend in silence as they entered their dormitory. His curiosity and worry were killing him, but one glance at Draco's expressionless face erased any attempt at conversation. He pursed his lips in annoyance. It was all because of Ron. If that irritating twit didn't show up, Draco would have still been his normal self. Instead, he was now on permanent ice-man mode, and even Harry daren't challenge that glare recklessly.

Upon entering, Draco headed straight for his bed and dove under the covers, affectively cocooning himself in blankets. Harry frowned. He had never seen his friend this depressed, and at the moment his minimal social skills failed him. The only comfort he knew how to offer was a pat on the shoulder, an act he learned from the twins, and random impulses that seemed favorable at the moment.

This situation called for impulse.

"Hey," Harry called out softly as he approached the bed, "want some company?"

For a moment there was no reply, and Harry paused in mid step. Then, so soft he almost dismissed it as Bucktooth under the bed, "sit."

He sat. A second's hesitation and he reached out, patting the lump that most resembled Draco's head. There was a split second of tensing and Harry drew a fearful breath, then the lump visibly relaxed. He sighed. Ironic, the fact that his inspiration came from Ron playfully patting Draco that day on the train.

They remained in that position for a few moments and Harry lost himself in memories of meeting the redhead for the first time. He was so nice then, so likable. Harry had pictured the three of them being pals, until that fateful second in the great hall.

A soft voice cut through his thoughts.

"Fred and George were the ones who found me. I remember it was dark, and snowing, and so, so cold. Something fell on me so I opened my eyes and all of a sudden there were two boys screaming their heads off. Then Mum came. She asked me my name and took me home." There was a sniffle. Harry waited.

"She took me in without a second thought. They all did. No one laughed at my pale skin, or sneered at my blonde hair. They're not ashamed of calling me family, even though I was picked up from the streets like a piece of rubbish." Rustling came from beneath the blankets, and Harry could feel Draco sitting up. "I've tried everything to be like them, to make myself worthy of being a part of their family. I even tried to dye my hair red for the first day of school! Mum caught me though." A swish and Draco emerged from beneath the sheets. His eyes glistened in the candlelight. "She said, 'you are my only blonde Weasley, don't take that away from me.'" He chuckled quietly, "Well, she said that after lecturing me for five hours."

Harry smiled.

"I love my mum, and I don't care how sissy I sound. The last thing I want to do is make her sad." He inhaled sharply, and his eyes sparkled brightly. "I would die before making her cry." A hand came up to cover his face.

"Harry, I want to die right now."

Alarmed, Harry reached out a hand and touched Draco's arm. The boy didn't respond. He didn't know what to say, so instead he blurted out, "What did the letter say?"

Before he could beat himself up for being an insensitive idiot, Draco answered. "Mum said she doesn't care that I'm different. She said… she said she didn't expect me to be like the others, but she still loves me. She wanted to tell me in person, but Ginny has a fever and Mum couldn't leave her alone."

"Well, that's good then, right?" Harry kicked himself mentally and wished he had more tact.

"But she was crying, Harry! I could hear every time she sniffled, I could see the tears falling from her eyes. I made Mum cry…" his voice dropped to a whisper, "I didn't want to believe Ron when he told me, so I convinced myself that he was lying. But Mum did write a Mourner, and she had cried, and I really want to kill myself right now."

Harry jumped. "Don't do that! Just um…" Think think stupid brain! "Apologize to your mum next time you see her. Hug her and tell her you love her," he lowered his head wistfully, "that's what I would tell my mum if I were you."

Draco took Harry's hand from his arm and gave it a squeeze, "thanks for being with me, Harry." He slumped down on his bed, staring blankly at the ceiling. "I'd probably go crazy without you here."

"Always," Harry replied, slumping down next to his friend.

There was a moment of silence. Then, softly, "I bet my mum would be just like yours."

Draco smiled gently. "Yeah," he caught Harry's eyes, "I bet she would be."

They didn't move for a long time.