Harry descended the stone steps that led the way to the lake. He took his cigarettes from the inside pocket of his robes, taking one out and placing it between his lips as he reached inside his jeans pocket for his lighter. He flipped open the silver lighter, bringing the flame to the tip of the cigarette and inhaling as it lighted.
The lighter shut with a click, the cardboard of the packet crackling as it was stuffed back inside Harry's robes. He slipped the lighter easily back into the pocket of his jeans and pulled the robes closed again, making sure the fastenings were in place against the cold.
He reached the bottom of the stairs, feet crunching on the white blanket that covered the path as the first flakes of Christmas Eve snowfall descended from the heavens. He blew smoke out, taking another drag as he kept his focus on the ground.
Harry had hesitated only five minutes earlier in his dormitory when he grabbed his cloak from a chair. There was no use in coming down tonight. Draco had witnessed him slicing open his arm the previous night and had fled had the sight. There was no hope in Harry's heart that the Slytherin would show up.
Exhaling another lot of smoke as he reached the rocky embankment where he had spent so many nights, Harry looked up towards the end where rock met water.
He stopped dead in his tracks.
There he was, sitting on a patch of rock that had been cleared of snow.
His head was lowered, blond hair forming a soft curtain over his face. He had his hand clasped on his lap and was picking ever so slightly at the skin around his nails in a nervous gesture.
Harry dropped his barely smoked cigarette to the rock, not bothering to stamp it out as he continued walking. He noticed Draco tense up as his footsteps crunched louder.
He didn't know what to do. Part of him wanted to go and sit by Draco as always before falling into his arms. The other part wanted to turn on his heel and flee back into the castle for fear of what he was about to face. Harry would call that his Slytherin side.
Harry continued to walk forward until he was standing directly behind Draco. His breathing was shallow, heart pounding in his chest so hard that the vibrations could be felt in his throat.
Draco turned his head around only a fraction, the side of his face barely made visible to Harry.
"Harry." He said courteously before turning back round to look over the black water.
"Draco." Harry replied as he moved to Draco's side and sat down on the rocks: the rocks that had been cleared of snow already.
The silence hung over them like an ominous rain cloud, the kind that people are disappointed to see on the horizon on summer's days. Harry contemplated reaching into his robes for another cigarette but the idea suddenly seemed completely inappropriate for the situation.
Finally, as Harry's nicotine craving was growing out of control he was given a distraction by Draco turning to look at him.
Harry hazarded a glance at Draco's face. His silver eyes held a few too many things for Harry to interpret. Their eyes met and Harry forced down that familiar tingle of his spine.
The blonde's eyes steeled, blocking out whatever it was that Harry was about to see and cast his gaze down to Harry's left arm.
"Let me see." He stated plainly. Harry was taken a back by Draco's abruptness. It hadn't been a request; it was a command that Harry obeyed without a thought.
He slid the sleeve of his robes up; pulling that of the jumper he wore beneath with it. Goose pimples rose on the scarred flesh as it was it was exposed to the cold air. Draco wrapped a hand surprisingly gently around Harry's wrist and brought his forearm to his face for inspection.
Draco's eyes surveyed the wound that Harry had inflicted upon himself only twenty-four hours earlier. Harry kept his focus on the Slytherin's eyes as he studied the cut with a calculating gaze. Draco brought his other hand to Harry's forearm as well and carefully pressed a finger to the cut.
It stung a little but Harry hid it as Draco's finger began tracing the path of it up towards his elbow.
"Was this because of what happened?" The question was vague and Draco's voice had sounded too loud in the still of the night. Harry only nodded slowly in response but finally found enough voice to speak in a tone no higher than a whisper.
"Why did you leave?" He asked the blond. Draco sighed as he pulled Harry's sleeves back down, obviously finished his inspection. Harry let his arm drop back to his side, continuing to watch Draco even as the Slytherin looked out across the expanse of dark water.
"Harry," he began "all my life I've viewed myself through my fathers eyes. Every little thing I do there is still that voice in my head that sounds like Lucius, admonishing me for something or other."
Harry nodded his head: all of this he knew.
"Well …when you kissed me …it obviously didn't occur to me right away but then it hit me: I was completely going against everything I have been brought up to believe. The thought was too much for me so I did what any good Slytherin would do and got myself the hell away."
Draco turned back to look at Harry, an obvious sadness now showing in his silver eyes. Harry opened his mouth to speak but Draco purposefully cut him off.
"I already know what you're going to say, my father is dead, a fact of which I am well aware but I was sixteen before I had a thought of my own and not something daddy dearest had installed in me."
Harry nodded again, this time making sure Draco looked at him long enough to see his understanding.
"I know this Draco, it will always be something that you'll need to move on from." Harry said. The blond sighed in frustration and turned away sharply.
"You don't think I don't know that?" Harry turned to look across the water as well, focussing on the sinking and re-emergence of a piece of debris in the distance.
"It won't be an easy thing to do." Draco stated plainly. He sighed again and turned to Harry, blond hair falling over the right side of his face. "But it is something I have to do."
Harry looked round slowly. Draco's face was cast downwards, eyes staring at a point on the rock. Harry shuffled closer until his thigh was in line with Draco's gaze. The Slytherin's eyes came up to meet Harry's.
His eyes then flickered over to Harry's left arm, his delicate eyebrows coming together slightly in a small frown.
"I know you did it because of what happened but why did it hit you so hard?" Harry shrugged but kept Draco's eyes locked in his.
"After what happened I already thought you weren't going to show up even though I hoped I was wrong. Then you didn't and I figured I'd screwed up and lost someone else." Harry could feel the threat of his voice cracking and cut his sentence off.
"But I did show up, why didn't you wait longer?" Draco asked him. Harry shrugged again.
"Because it was well past the time you normally arrive." Draco rolled his eyes.
"I thought we'd already discussed the fact that we never had a set time? Or did you forget?" The edge of Harry's mouth quirked up as Draco echoed his own thoughts from the previous night.
"No," he replied, "I remembered. How come it took you so long?" This time it was Draco who shrugged, eyes flicking so briefly to Harry's lips that there was no way to tell if he had done it at all.
"I didn't know if I could face you …if I was ready to explain my reaction when even I wasn't entirely sure why I'd run off." Harry gave a small snort of quiet amusement.
"How very Slytherin of you." Draco smirked.
"Would you expect any less?"
"Never." Harry smiled but Draco frowned again.
"I never knew what we have …whatever the hell it is, was so important to you." Harry looked down, fingers tugging on the material of his robes. Unsure of his reply he felt saved when Draco spoke again.
"You shouldn't place so much hope on me …you'll just be disappointed." Draco's voice sounded quiet as he uttered the last part of his statement. Harry's eyes darted back up, fingers stilling as a mildly angry expression crept over his features.
"That's your father talking again. I can't help it, if you hadn't noticed you're pretty much the only person left in my life any more." Draco met Harry's eyes.
"I had noticed …I seem to be in the same unfortunate situation." The last part was said with a smirk and Harry smiled back at him. Harry slid his hand on top of Draco's, doing it slowly to gage the blonde's reaction. Silver eyes glanced downwards at the same moment a single snowflake landed on the back of Harry's hand.
"It's snowing again." Harry said, his voice sounding somewhat distant.
"How observant Potter." Draco drawled, looking back up at Harry. Gradually, Draco's heart picked up a rhythm as he deciphered the way Harry was staring at him.
"I whole heartedly agree." Draco snorted with laughter at Harry's reply, moving his face nearer Harry's.
Draco slowly brought his other hand up; running the back of his palm along Harry's cheek, mirroring what Harry had done two nights earlier. He ran his fingertips through Harry's dark hair, cupping a hand around the back of his neck as he twined his fingers in the hairs at the nape of his neck.
Harry leant forward, feeling Draco's breath on his face. Draco moved in the final short distance and pressed their lips together lightly. Harry kissed back, only pushing a little harder. They stayed pressed together, Draco's hands slowly beginning to play with Harry's hair.
Draco titled his head slightly and kissed Harry harder. Harry brought his left hand up and cupped it gently around Draco's cheek. The Slytherin cautiously flicked his tongue once over Harry's top lip.
Harry parted his lips partially, his tongue meeting Draco's only for a fleeting moment before Draco placed a soft, closed mouth kiss on the side of Harry's mouth and pulled away.
Harry gave Draco the slightest of tentative smiles which the blond returned before he took his face fully away. Harry let his hand drop from Draco's as the Slytherin looked over the water. He took his hand from on top of Draco's to push strands of unruly hair from his eyes.
The air went quiet again but it wasn't the thick silence from earlier: it was the kind that Harry was used to. Snowflakes began to fall heavier around them, landing on his hair and eyelashes.
Harry slipped a hand inside his robes, struggling to pull the crushed packet of cigarettes from his pocket. He opened it, extracting his second last one along with his lighter. He put it between his lips, flicking open the lighter as he brought it to his face.
He inhaled deeply as he dropped the lighter onto the rocks with a clatter, savouring the loud sound. Blowing out the smoke he could feel Draco looking at him.
"You really should quit that disgusting habit Potter." The blond stated before looking back over the black water. Harry looked at his cigarette and then turned to Draco, a small smile playing on his lips.
"Maybe another time." He replied. Draco looked back at him, their faces close as the edges of his mouth curved slightly. Harry turned away still smiling.
Draco continued to watch the Gryffindor, trying to force his smile away. He gave up, allowing his pink lips to curve fully. Turning to look over the water with Harry, Draco slipped his right hand into Harry's left.
Draco laid his head on Harry's shoulder and the dark-haired boy sighed as he tossed a half smoked cigarette into the lake. Draco gave Harry's hand a gentle squeeze as Harry rested his head on top of his. Harry placed a light kiss on the soft blond hair and squeezed back.
Well that, as they say, is that. It is currently four in the morning where I am seated so you can all be thankful for my insomnia.
Thank you so much to every one who has reviewed and even just read quietly. A sequel? Was that what I said? Soon sweethearts. There are a few other fics floating around my mind as well. So until the next slashy story, take care sweethearts.