Ouch, I haven't updated since February. I am so bad and really really sorry. At the moment I'm mid A level exams and so probably in all reality shouldn't be writing this cos I should be revising. Oh well, that's the joys of last minute cramming! I don't have an excuse for not writing another chapter, I just haven't got round to it and I'm very sorry.

This chapter is dedicated to Fair as Sebastian, Serpent's Redemption and Zafaran – these guys kick arse as they reviewed my last chapter, thank you for having so much faith.

Anyway onto the chapter I suppose!

Chapter seventeen – A Dream Come True?

'You're fucking with me right?' Harry questioned, very perplexed.

Harry could have sworn he heard Draco mutter, 'I wish.' But then say more audibly, 'No Harry, I'm not.'

'You're playing a game?'

'No.'

'You're trying to manipulate me, so that I then fall in love with you or something soppy like that and you can hand me straight over to Voldemort.' Harry ignored Draco's obvious shudder at the name he despised.

'No.' Draco repeated.

'Ok. So you're doing it for your own benefit. This means you can see me bend to your will. Show the school that you're the one who can control Harry Potter.'

'No. Why are you trying to find an excuse? Why won't you believe me?'

'Because it's so fucking unbelievable that you want me.' Harry chuckled. 'That is something I never thought I would hear myself say. Although 5 years ago I didn't believe in wizards and witches and how wrong I was.'

'And you're wrong now with your assumptions, is that so hard to believe?' Draco questioned.

Harry gave Draco a hard stare. 'So…so…hard to believe?' Harry repeated speechless. 'You taunted me continuously and made my life living hell for 5 years and you now suddenly out of the blue expect me to deduce that you want me?' By now Harry was agitated he was beginning to sweat in places he didn't know you could sweat.

'You believed in wizards and witches.' Draco said hopefully.

'That's because I could see with my own eyes that they were real. What you're confessing to me is words, words can be meaningless. I've heard so many promises from people throughout my life that have crumbled and burnt I find words very hard to believe.' Harry explained.

They both stood there, regarding one another with the wariness of two people meeting for the first time. Draco ran a hand through his blonde locks and closed his eyes in exhaustion.

'Don't get exasperated with me. You have to see where I'm coming from and my reasoning.'

'I'm offering myself to you here; I have never felt so uncomfortable in my life.' Harry smirked at this. 'Draco, uncomfortable, there is a first time for everything,' Draco interrupted his thoughts with, 'What do I have to do to prove that I'm genuine to you?'

Harry considered him for a second. This blonde 16 year old boy was asking him what to do, what to say and how to act. If only he knew himself. Harry could quite easily exploit him and influence him to become anything he wanted. However in that second Harry observed him he realised he didn't want this, for their relationship to start like it was. Especially if it was destined to be a relationship. The possibilities for lies, deceit, manipulation and embarrassment from the very start.

'What I want you to do Draco,' Harry said slowly still trying to collect his own thoughts.

'Yes Harry?'

'Is to go away, walk out of this room and really think about what you've said. You must know by now that I like you and want to help you, be by your side whenever and wherever. There I've laid my heart on the line – you could quite easily get a huge, huge...something and crush it, then triumph in my pain. So, I want you to go away for at least a month, not utter a single word at me nor glance in my direction and seriously think about what you've said to me. Work out if you could handle the ridicule, the comments and snide remarks and whether through all that you could put up with me, my temper, my friends and my character. Then if yourealise you can, I will open up my arms to you and we'll see where we go from then. However, if you feel you can't after you've thought this through I never want to speak to youor preferably, see you again. The hurt would be far too great for me to physically handle. That's the ultimatum.' Harry stopped talking, turned on his heal and walked across to the door. Before gripping the handle to leave he mentioned one last thing. 'I hope for your sake as much as mine that you make one hell of the right decision because if you don't this could end in more than tears.' And with that Harry slipped out of the Room of Requirement, leaving Draco standing alone.

0000

The next few weeks were absolute hell for Harry; he dared not to speak to anyone. Otherwise he knew he'd end up saying or doing something he'd regret in the long run. Harry wanted Draco, he lusted after Draco and wanted to be able to envelope him in his arms.

Walking along a random corridor on his prefect duty he shook his head as he thought. 'I gave him the ultimatum, it's my own fault he's ignoring me, I should have just accepted him then and there. I have to know though that it means more to him than a quick shag in an empty classroom.' Draco had been very good in honouring Harry's words and gave him the space he requested. He even went as far as having another Slytherin tell Harry which parts of the castle Draco would be patrolling so that Harry coulddo the others. This way they wouldn't meet and have to be in one anothers presence. It was lonely patrolling by himself; although Harry was so used to being alone he didn't really notice the silence. It was almost second nature.

Finally at 11.30pm Harry started to stroll back to the Gryffindor Common Room. Taking his time so there would be a lack of people when he arrived. Having said that when he appeared near a group of Gryffindors they now generally seemed to disperse and give him a wide berth. Hearing the Fat Lady swing shut behind him, Harry entered the Common Room and was greeted by a blazing fire and someone tending to it. On closer inspection Harry observed that it was in fact two people, Ron and Ginny.

'Oh sorry, I didn't mean to disturb your conversation.' Harry muttered to the carpeted floor.

'I was just leaving anyway,' Ginny remarked glaring daggers at him.

'If looks could kill,' Harry mused to himself.

With a heavy and heart felt sigh Harry called, 'Ginny!' She paused at the bottom of the stairs not replying, not turning round and clearly not expecting much from him.

'I'm sorry. For what it's worth I'm very sorry.'

'It may not be worth much Harry at the moment but it's a start.' Turning aroundGinny walked back over to Harry giving him a quick squeeze, which left Harry dumbfounded. Harry flashed her a small smile, which she didn't return and they moved their different ways.

When Ginny had gone, Harry speculated, 'Your sister has got a big forgiving heart especially when I've acted like a piece of shit towards members of her family. Ron, I'm sorry for my recent behaviour this year. I am very sorry.' He looked optimistically in Ron's direction, willing him to speak.

'Mate, it's Hermione that's been hit hard with your change of manner. I've had to put up with you solidly for 5 years almost day in day out so I'm more accustomed to it all.' He paused as if collecting his thoughts. 'I don't want to lose you as a best mate, I could never replace you but I can't take being treated as a piece of shit especially with the mood swings you have. All sorry one minute, looking as if you're ready to talk to us and the next, nothing. We become completely cut off once again; it's like one of those bloody muggle contraptions Hermione loves, sawsee? You know, up, down, up, down and so on. We try to help but never seem to do the right thing, we're stuck Mione and I and we don't know what to do.'

'There are so many reasons as to my behaviour that I don't know where to start. This year has been turmoil for me and no, I'm not ready to go into it now. I'm still that way and until I find my release, which I hope will come soon, willmean thatI can explain or at least find it easier to explain. Let's say for now it was my own jealously and selfishness that allowed my friendship with you two to reach these awful extremities.' Harry half explained.

'I guess that'll have to do for now. But I sure as hell want a proper explanation soon; otherwise you'll have my fist and my wand to worry about!' Ron joked, giving Harry an almost shy but promising smile.

After this conversation with Ron, Harry felt as if he was one step closer to achieving whatever he was trying to achieve. Harry could also swear he'd done more apologising this year than he'd ever done before in his life. It was drastically needed if he wanted to retain his friends and he knew they wouldn't stick around forever if he continued the way he was. The next big one was Hermione, who Harry knew wouldn't take his half explained answer. The there was Draco, the release he was praying for. Harry knew they could help one another and be the salvation of each other.

0000

It had been exactly one month since his ultimatum had been given to Draco, so from now could be the turning point of his life. He'd either hear from Draco some point soon or never at all. Harry was so apprehensive he wasn't sure which one he wanted more. Harry realised it wouldn't be easy what with the differences that had separated them for nearly 6 years. However, he was almost 100 positive it'd be bloody fantastic to have Draco at his side.

0000

One week later and Harry hadn't heard even so much as a whisper from Draco. Had he lost him? Harry had begun to sweat with worry. He wouldn't eat, provoking worried looks from his friends, who were just about talking to him again. Harry couldn't call them his best friends anymore asthat implied something. Harry due to events as much his fault as theirs didn't have that something any longer. These looks were never transferred into words. Ron and Hermione stepped round him as if he were a caged animal that wasn't allowed to be set free. So slowly Harry began to deteriorate.

0000

Then in the middle of the second week he was approached by Draco. Harry at the time had taken himself to an empty classroom where he had gone through the usual ritual of taking a piece of glass to his wrists, slicing accurately and knowledgablythrough his vaguely tanned skin. Harry continued to do so until the blood was running in torrents across his arm and onto the ground. Not bothering to wait for the blood to dry Harry then conjured up a punch bag, change and begin to work out. The pain of the fresh cuts searing through his body,even thoughthe pain drove him insane, it just made him work harder. They opened and reopened, never being able to truely heal and it wasn't something Harry was about to correct.

Harry caught the sight of figure standing in the doorway mid punch. 'Don't just stand there, come in, I promise I won't bite.' Harry said with a sadistic smile across his face.

Draco moved into the room, shifting from one foot to the other like a nervous young animal taking its first steps. 'Yes Harry, I think I can commit fully to you.'

Harry raised an eyebrow and cracked a few knuckles, 'you think?'

Draco stuttered. 'Since when do Malfoys stutter?' Harry wondered. 'No I can, I know I can that's what I meant.'

'Are you sure Draco because you don't sound positive?'

'For fucks sake Harry, I can't do this, the army regiment thing and the perfection you seem to crave in a relationship. Haven't you ever had a relationship?' By the look Harry gave Draco, Draco continued quickly on passing that point. 'It doesn't work like that; you have to take the ups with the downs. We may have our arguments but then, fingers crossed we'd make up. It's the way it works and I can't conform to your want for me to fill something that you've lost. I'm me, and you'll get me for who I am, not something you've created.' Draco gasped for air after his outburst.

'Well if that's the way you feel…' Harry said leaving the end of the sentence hanging like a lead weight in the stilted air.

Draco ran a finger round the collar of his shirt; it had suddenly warmed up a lot causing him to gulp. 'I have to be me Harry, I thought you of all the gits in this hellhole would realise that after all that's happened.' Draco shook his head looking at Harry with what seemed like pity but really conveyed frustration. Then in a dignified silence he stormed off leaving Harry in a stupor clutching his blood seeping arm.

0000

It took only 8 days before the rumours reached Harry's ears. The rumours which tore his heart into two pieces, had them fed to a blender and then mashed up to a pulp for good measure. Harry didn't believe it when he first heard it, it took a very persuading Hermione to make him realise the truth in the rumours.

'Rumours are never true in this school.' Was his first argument.

'They're too young to do something like that.' Was his second.

'It's probably arranged, nothing will come of it.' Was his third excuse.

Slowly the arguments turned into excuses and they became weaker and weaker until he finally accepted it as the truth. Draco was engaged to marry Pansy Parkinson and there was nothing he could do. Draco was gone and everything in his world started to disintegrate around him. Harry shrunk so far into himself that he spoke a word to no one and only answered 'yes' or 'no' to questions posed to him. Falling right into the model that Ron had pointed out merely a couple of weeks before. Harry didn't turn up for meals, nor did he conduct his prefect duty or do his homework. Instead he spent his spare time wandering aimlessly around the grounds of the castle.

So far he had managed to avoid Dumbledore, Lupin, McGonagall and any worried glances he motivated. Lupin had tried to approach him and make him talk but all Harry had done was look at him blankly. As if he was from another world, not understanding a single word muttered from Lupin's mouth. However, he didn't miss the last comment of, 'what's happened to James and Lily's son, the boy I used to know?' At that point Harry had walked away, knowing if he hadn't then he would have fallen to the floor and burst into tears. Then the next day Harry had observed McGonagall talking in hushed whispers to Ron and Hermione. They had all shaken their heads and then the three of them had turned their heads towards Harry.

'Like that's not obvious.' Harry thought sarcastically.

Finally after a week, Dumbledore graced Harry with his company. Harry was up in the Owlery whispering sweet nothings to Hedwig and stroking her feathers affectionately.

'Well at least someone still has your confidence.' Harry didn't bother to turn around nor did he acknowledge the Headmaster. 'Come on Harry, talk to me, I want to help you but I can't unless you talk. What's going on inside that head of yours?' Dumbledore tried desperately.

'I'm surprised old man that you haven't tried to read my thoughts.' Harry muttered scathingly into the calming softness of Hedwig's feathers.

'Now Harry you know very well that I can't. You're a very skilled legilimens, due to your very hard work over the last 6 months or so.' Dumbledore replied. Harry heard him glide across the floor so Dumbledore was now positioned by the window. 'Beautiful view especially at such a beautiful time of year.'

Harry eyed the old man, while automatically tracing his finger along his arm and along the question that he never stopped thinking about. 'Small talk about buggar all is not going to work.' Harry could feel his anger rising. 'Why can't you just be straight with me and tell things as they are. You're constantly telling others to share their feelings but what about you?' Harry paused to let Dumbledore absorb his words. 'You let no one know what's going on. It's all a bloody mystery.I can't stand the fucking hypocrisy of it all!' Harry's voice was beginning to get louder. 'I CAN'T DO THIS ANYMORE; I DON'T WANT TO DO THIS ANYMORE!' Harry yelled at Dumbledore, his voice broken from the screaming. Harry could feel the electricity in the room as one powerful wizard faced another but one of them had no control over their power. All the owls were now wide awake and screeching at the noise, disturbance and tension created in the room.

Dumbledore looked sideways at Harry where naïve, pure emerald green eyes met older, ice blue eyes. Harry saw many emotions flash through the ice blue eyes in just a second – pity, slight irritation, remorse and disappointment. Then immediately after that second they returned to the old, kind eyes they always were but held no sparkle.

Shaking his head Dumbledore placed his hand heavily on Harry's shoulder saying, 'You talk to me when you're ready.' Dumbledore left Harry to his own solace.

0000

Harry stalked into the library still cooling off from his encounter with Dumbledore. Not even bothering to inform Madame Pince he waltzed straight into the restricted section of the library to find a book on potions he needed. Once found, he headed to the main library area to find another to compliment the one he'd already grabbed. On reaching the potions aisle Harry heard voices – two voices, one he most definitely recognised and the other he didn't want to. Turning into the aisle Harry was faced with Draco and Parkinson pushed rather roughly up against one of the book shelves mid grope. Harry thought Draco looked as if he was about to be sick; but who could blame him? On the other hand that may have been Harry's mind twisting what he saw to make himself feel better.

'Surely you could have found somewhere more private, in oh I don't know a dormitory perhaps. Not all of us like the sight.' Harry sneered trying his best to prevent the hurt he was feeling creep up into his gaze. Draco just looked at him blankly, however the little push Draco gave Parkinson to remove her from him didn't go unnoticed by Harry.

'So the boy who lived still exists unfortunately for us, looking like the walking dead.' Parkinson commented.

'Oh grow up Parkinson; I don't have time for what I'm sure would be a lovely little spat with you. I want to spend as little time in your ugly presence as possible, so you'll excuse me.' Harry jeered back, while walking down the aisle to retrieve the book.

'Go on Pansy, piss off. I have to talk to Potter about prefect duty.' Draco said loudly so that Harry would hear and hopefully take the hint.

'Oh but sweetie, things were just beginning to get interesting…' Parkinson replied running her fingers lightly up Draco's chest.

'Go. On. Piss. Off.' Draco shoved Parkinson aside roughly causing her to nearly fall over and with one last look of shock she ran off about to cry.

Once Draco had dismantled Parkinson from his body Harry made quickly to leave the aisle to avoid any contact with Draco. As Harry levelled with Draco, Draco manoeuvred to block his way. This caused Harry to move to the other side to try and escape but Draco mimicked his movements again.

'I could crush you like a fly.' Harry threatened.

'You know you wouldn't.'

'Are you trying to test me?'

'Are you going to allow me to marry that bitch?' Draco challenged.

Stunned at Draco's abrupt comment Harry took a step back so he could fully view the blonde boy in front of him. Harry was so tempted to reach in and read Draco's thoughts, to know what exactly he wanted and what he felt. However, his conscience held him back.

'What a great way that would be to start a relationship.' Harry chuckled.

'What's so funny?' Draco questioned.

'Nothing.' Harry held his head in his hands, pushing his hair up on end. 'Draco, there are a few things I need to say to you.'

'Yes?' Draco replied eagerly.

'Firstly, I'm sorry for the way I treated you. Secondly, I don't think I can live without you especially after these past weeks. Thirdly I fancy the hell out of you. Fourthly when I heard about you and Parkinson I nearly went completely insane. Fifthly, now I've lost you and I don't like the feeling. Sixthly, I am at a dead end with no purpose without you.' Harry cautiously looked at Draco trying to gauge his reaction; it wasn't exactly as he'd planned it. It had been said too fast and with not enough sincerity in Harry's opinion. Draco stood perfectly still and didn't say a word, Harry waited for what seemed like years. Still not saying a word Draco walked defiantly away from Harry.

Harry, utterly astounded, crumpled to the floor nearly in tears but he knew he couldn't cry. He'd done enough of that throughout his life, too much for a 16 year old boy. Seconds later Draco reappeared round the corner of the bookshelf and stood in front of Harry. Bending down, so he was resting on his haunches Draco put a finger to Harry's chin and forced him to look up to meet Draco's face.

'Would you like to go to dinner with me next weekend?' He asked.

Harry's mouth dropped and then widened into a genuine smile. 'Yes I think I would.'

Both boys smiled and the connection was made. Harry pushing himself up off the floor onto his knees slowly moved in and placed his lips on Draco's in a chaste kiss. 'You always seal things with a kiss.' He said relishing in the taste of Draco.

'That's fine by me.' Draco commented half dazed.

'This is a dream come true.' Harry stated matter-a-factly.

'Oh don't I know it.' Draco replied.

There we go, another chapter to add! Hope it was ok and readable. By now I'm pretty sure you know I love to hear your comments, so anything would be welcome, constructive criticism included! So if you have 5 minutes, please review. I shall do my best not to leave it as long as I have; I'm very bad I know that. Much love and all that jazz. Lelimo