Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter in any way, I am not making a profit by writing this. It is purely for enjoyment, hopefully others agree with me... Ehehe.
Warnings: Other than the rape in the previous chapter there is not too much to warn of, other than H/D is the pairing and therefore this is about a gay relationship. I might add a... -scene-... later but it will need to be posted elsewhere, we'll see what happens.
A/N: I know I promised that this chapter would be out way before I actually got it out but that's sadly how it is going to be until I'm done with my exams. Busy semester, very busy... I think I have worked harder in October and November than I have in my whole life! But I still have some time for updates and therefore... Here we are! Yay! Now go review and tell me how wonderful I am for -finally- updating, hehe. No, you don't have to... I would just appreciate it and so would my betas. I thank m.t.dog (For helping me with my horrible spelling and grammar as well as giving me advice on how to make the chapter a lot better! It helped a ton. ), KaKiJo, (For making time for my little update and catching those spelling mistakes... which still mystify me even now... Eeeps.), and Rose (For checking the plot and telling me it was awesome!). I would not be able to complete my updates with out my betas, thank you so much for your hard work!
Now, onto the story!
With the ice pack Harry had been given, he nursed his bruised jaw and glared steadily at Zabini as he held a similar ice pack on his shiner. Harry had caught a glimpse of the blackened skin around Zabini's eye and felt a sense of accomplishment at knowing he'd given Zabini a taste of what he'd put Draco through. And despite the fact that he had gotten bloodied up himself, he couldn't stop thinking about whether or not Draco was safe.
Hermione, I can trust Hermione. Even though I've gotten myself into some big trouble right now, I can still help Draco through Hermione.
Harry was in one hell of a jam, he didn't need to be told that. He could understand it by Dumbledore, Flitwick, Snape, and McGonagall's mere expressions; identical in displeasure yet each teacher showed it differently.
Dumbledore looked more understanding and disappointed than the rest of them. McGonagall was furious but she was no match for Snape, who wasn't even trying to hide the fact he wanted to throttle Harry for touching his precious Slytherin student. Harry could bet the only reason he had not been turned into a pile of non-explodeable, luminous balloons was because Dumbledore was Headmaster. Flitwick had a few scratches himself from prying Harry and Zabini apart and looked miffed and annoyed that his superiority as a teacher had been ignored for a few minutes by the two 'warriors'.
Zabini was, among the lot of them, the grumpiest. As he saw it he had been attacked without reason. Harry knew differently oh too well.
You asshole Zabini, you harmed Draco. You touched… Argh! You weren't allowed to touch him! No one may touch Draco, no one!
Harry did not have the time to reflect on that thought. If he had he might have found his reasoning was a tad off. "Harry, why?" Dumbledore asked, blue eyes hidden behind half moon specs imploring Harry to be truthful. With those eyes looking at him like that, he found that he wished he had not been so brash because now he could not explain the truth. Not without Draco to tell it too.
"Zabini knows," Harry simply said. He crossed his hands stubbornly and eyed Zabini.
Every body in the room turned to Zabini, whose face contorted with rage. "I do not know Potter! What the fuck did I do to deserve this?!" Zabini half screamed, vigorously pointing at his black eye.
The ball was now in Harry's hands, everyone staring at him intently. They were expecting him to say something that was clear, that made sense. He couldn't do that - not without Draco.
'Think back Zabini, waaaay back to when you raped another student; another boy!' Was what Harry wished to snap back at the bastard.
"You know," Harry said instead, feeling awkward. Zabini would see right through him and then it would all go to hell. Cold fear coursed through Harry, hitting his stomach with awful force.
What should I say?
Harry did not have a clue. If Zabini did clue in it would mean more trouble for Draco and Harry. It would mean trouble for Zabini too. All three would become desperate to salvage their pride and Zabini proved he would use means Harry would not use to protect himself.
Why had Zabini raped Draco? The question had not been considered by Harry until now. Harry yearned for the answer. Draco might seem to be the bane of the school's existence but that was no reason to be so cruel.
I too though, before my memories returned, I too laughed when Draco was kicked down.
Harry, internally shamed, wanted to rearrange the past and set it in order. Where he knew he loved Draco and Draco knew it too.
"Potter, Zabini said he does not know what you are on about," Snape menaced, "So how about you inform us before you are expelled!" Snape took a step towards Harry and in return, Harry prepared to retaliate.
"Now Severus," Dumbledore said calmly, gently pressing Harry back into his chair on the shoulder. Snape glowered at Harry but backed away. He was clearly smoldering still.
"Harry, it is not normal for you to attack another student," Zabini snorted but Dumbledore ignored his impudence, "You must explain yourself." McGonagall and Flitwick nodded their approval of how the Headmaster was handling the situation; Snape on the other hand was frowning.
Harry sighed, "Zabini may believe he doesn't know what he did but he should." He knew he was being difficult yet there was no other way around it. Zabini must have had a sharp mind, his eyes lit up with some sort of understanding.
Harry awaited Zabini's reply; the dirt was about to get shoved into Harry's face. "You know, don't you? The creep told you," Zabini said, looking a little white. They were both in trouble and neither would admit to anyone the real truth.
"Blaise, would you care to elaborate for us?" Dumbledore asked. Zabini was reluctant to say anything. Harry wanted to learn the truth now. That very second. He needed to see into Zabini's mind, to see what he thought. If he drew the right conclusion Harry and Draco's brittle wax wings would quickly melt under the fire.
"Potter has butted his head into a disagreement Malfoy and I had. I have been wronged!" Zabini was scrambling for the perfect excuse to save his cowardly hide. Harry's anger flared.
Harry would have jumped up and attacked Zabini a second time for having the gall to even say he had not done anything wrong. Harry would have accused him of doing a hell of a lot wrong; of tearing something out of Draco and burning it in perverse flames. Harry would have done all of this even if Snape hexed his nose off. (At the moment Harry thought Snape was simply dying to hex anything of Harry's body off.)
But when Ron crashed into the Headmasters office, surprising (in Snape's case infuriating) everyone in the room, the Headmaster was the one that asked the important question, "Mr. Weasley, what was so imposing that you had to burst in here like a Yeti running from a Wizard engulfed in fire?" And it was this that distracted Harry from his impulsive desire to rage at Zabini plus the initial desire to cast a forbidden curse.
"Ron?" Harry asked; his first reaction confusion.
Ron breathed in deeply, catching his breath and Zabini sneered at him, mouthing to Harry 'Someone saved your arse'. Harry sent a glare back at Zabini, noticed how Snape was eyeing Zabini the whole time as if calculating a tough equation, and mouthed 'Snape looks suspicious already'. Zabini's mouth squeezed shut when he looked up at his head of house and was seemingly knocked from his tower for the third time that day. Snape stayed silent but kept a thoughtful eye on Zabini.
Ron spoke to Dumbledore respectfully, shy because it was common knowledge that if the head of houses showed up with students to the Headmaster nothing good was about to erupt from any punishments given. "Um, Dumbledore—sir, I wanted to make sure Harry had not lost it… Ever since he lost his memory he's been a bit off."
Harry felt a little offended by the response Ron gave, he was not inept because he couldn't remember a year! Harry acknowledged he might be a bit slow where it came to Draco but that was only because he had a relationship that he had no memory of! Yet Harry was pulled to help Draco by a force he could only explain as one thing.
I'm not ready for that…
Harry thought on Ron's words and found he knew what to say to smooth things over. It would be disaster for Zabini to understand why Harry was so motivated to protect Draco.
I have a promise to Draco too… Keep quiet until I can do what is best for Draco.
"Headmaster, I learned of a problem," Harry said and shot a nasty look at Zabini, whose Adams-apple moved up and down in a visible gulp, "between Zabini and Malfoy. Malfoy was upset that I knew Zabini had insulted him too much…"
Ron then started to affirm that what he had said earlier was very true by immediately stating, "Harry, I told you that you'd gone somewhat bonkers since you lost your memory! I mean attacking a Sly--," Ron stopped when an old hand was placed gently on his shoulder and looked up into Dumbledore's twinkling specs. McGonagall and Flitwick were listening and assessing how to handle the situation as it was, waiting for the Headmaster to speak first.
"Weasley, would you get out of here! This is not the time for your brainless chitchat with Potter!" Snape snapped, completely ignoring that the Headmaster was the highest one of regard among the lot of the adults.
"Mr. Weasley, thank you. I know you are very concerned for your friend but I must ask you to wait outside." Dumbledore was not smiling but his words had a calming tone to them; they were nothing but kind.
Zabini snorted at this. He was ignored though as Ron responded.
"Yes Headmaster," Ron murmured and glanced one last time at Harry. Harry could not smile at his friend or say much so he simply nodded to Ron. Ron then left the room and closed the door slowly. Harry could imagine Ron pressing his ear up against it to hear what fate Harry was to meet.
"Harry, what was the problem between Mr. Malfoy and Mr. Zabini?" Dumbledore asked. Harry understood by the Headmasters' expression that he was to give a plausible answer that was the truth. Harry would not relay the exact truth but he would defiantly relish in how tense Zabini was, waiting for the answer that could easily expel him.
Not yet, you lucky bastard. I'll get Draco to expel you though; he deserves to watch you fall too.
Harry knew enough of what had happened to Draco over the past year to make up the story. "Zabini believes Malfoy is a Death Eater because of what happened with his father last year and was harassing Malfoy, telling him… telling him things such as how he should go crawling to his Master on hands and feet, pushing him into walls… If he had bothered to check though he would have found Malfoy does not have the dark mark." Harry spat out, mainly intending to let Zabini know who had just saved his fucking arse.
You'd find on Malfoy's wrist… Harry remember back to the night where everything had started coming back to him and what he saw carved on Malfoy's skin, among the many scars and trickling of blood. H.P. My initials…
The teachers finally had a cause and reason to work with. Dumbledore started to talk to Harry and Zabini as if he had the universal solvent in his very hand and that it would wash away all of their problems with one clean splash. All the while the two students sat, anxious to corner the other and solve the problem out in their own duel. If it meant ignoring the teachers solution, Harry was fine with that.
Only one thing mattered.
"He did what?" Draco repeated, dumfounded to the spot.
"Harry has 'pulverized' Zabini, as Ron put it. Don't tell me you're getting Harry into big trouble Malfoy," she said. As concerned as she sounded, Draco detected the underlying accusation that was aimed at him.
Draco was sleepy, but nothing in his memories made him think that he deserved an accusation of that sort. "Did I ask him to help me?! NO! Don't you dare suggest that I made him do anything! Harry-fucking-wonderful-Potter will do what he damn well pleases and you know it! So would you kindly BUGGER OFF!!" Draco screamed.
I know I'm useless but I never looked for help! I never wanted it… Never needed it. All I need is to forget…
Draco's humiliated tears reoccurred. Never flowing, they just hovered on his eyelashes reminding him of the plague of sorrow that had diseased him for the whole of this year. Draco itched to get his hands on a knife or sharp object and dig into his skin, an image that continued to taunt his desires. His solace was so far away and Granger would tear the knife out of his hands. Feeling the jagged pain would help, watching the blood trickle would give satisfaction.
"It's… It's not like I want help, all I want is a re—release… I didn't ask for life, I didn't ask for life…" Draco gulped in an attempt to keep his will power together. He would not break down in front of Granger. Only Harry would be permitted to see that mistake. Draco glanced down at his arm; H.P.
Do I want to trust Harry… After he ignored me… If it's bullshit about his lost memory... If Granger's playing Harry's game with me… Could Harry actually have gotten the Weasel in on it too? Knowing what He—after what—brutal—sick…
Draco shuddered and started to sob as He tormented Draco all over again, in a different way because Zabini could not possibly be physically there. The conspiracies the Golden Trio could be working against Draco withered away when Zabini whirled in. Draco felt a gentle hand on his shoulder. Draco stilled and on impulse he smacked the hand away, taking a terrified leap away from Granger. Draco covered his now tear streaked face and knelt down, gulping in air.
"I'm sorry… you just," Draco whispered, knowing there was little that could explain his odd behavior except the truth, and he was not willing to give that up.
Draco looked up into Granger's surprised dark eyes. She then nodded, her eyes conceding to not ask questions, though she made no promises to not investigate. Those promises were meant for being said out loud and her next words held no 'I will let it lie'.
"Is it because you've been in too many fights?" Granger asked.
You could say that…
She was being pleasant because she knew how to find the right answers; Draco understood quite easily what kind of person Granger was. If there was an urge to find information, she would find it. Draco didn't want her around, no he had to get away from her. He would not become her next project. D.M.R.T.D. Draco Malfoy's Rescue Team from Depression, consisting of Harry Potter and Hermione Granger.
No! She can't know what He—She cannot know what happened. I will be forced—forced to admit everything because of her. Harry how could you say she would keep me safe? She's going to take me out of my safety! I HATE YOU POTTER!!
Draco responded, but not because he wanted to. Reluctant, "I've learnt that if someone touches me I'll get hurt. Potter even helped reinforce that… greatly," Draco said bitterly.
Harry… why won't you leave me alone?
Granger glared at Draco. "Malfoy, would you quit?" Her tone held the exasperation that was creating her annoyance. Draco bristled at her frustration. He could not understand what gave her the right in her mind to be angry at him. It was never his fault, he never instigated anything; people just felt the need to drop bricks on top of his head.
I never asked Harry to help me, he did that on his bloody own! I wanted him to bugger off, do you understand Granger? No. Of course you don't. That's why I would never tell you! Did I ask… Him… to…
"Quit what Granger?" Draco snapped, feeling a surge of hate fill up in place of his doubt and fears for a moment. It could not stay long though as other thoughts were mingling in with his irritation and they threatened to crash his composure to the ground. What was left of his sleepy composure was so precious to Draco. Necessary.
"Stop distrusting Harry, Malfoy. You have no reason to anymore. He seems to be regaining something, haven't you noticed it?" Granger asked, keeping her distance and getting closer to his doubts at the same time.
Draco had noticed it. Regaining something did not equal deserving of trust anymore to Draco. He did not believe in regaining. He understood hopelessness. Loss was what Draco knew would accompany him until he destroyed the reason he felt loss. "Shove off and mind your own business," Draco replied darkly, lowering his voice and slumping into a chair.
"If it involves Harry, I'm not ignoring it. Harry really did lose his bloody memory," Granger persisted, standing in front of Draco. Draco could see her shoes with his head bowed down and shuddered, knowing she forgot in impatience, that Draco was nervous when people got close. It was a developed habit from the past year.
Draco pushed to the back of the chair and said rudely, "What, are you in love with him?"
"No, I just think you need to realize how much trouble Harry got himself into just now. He was hauled off to Dumbledore's office, and if he's expelled I think you might want to hang onto someone who's willing to forget all sense of reason for you," Granger responded.
"Expelled…?" Draco started at the thought. It did not cross his mind how patient Granger was being in reality or why she would spare him any explanation for her thoughts. Draco only thought of a place void of Harry. It was enough to make him forget defenses, enough to make him forget he was with Granger.
"Are you deaf Malfoy?" Granger asked when she deemed Draco was silent for too long.
Draco looked up and glared at the bossy girl in front of him, feeling nothing but small contempt. "No! Shut up Granger … Can we go see if he's okay?" Draco inquired shyly. He was unsure if that was a good idea, for him to show his face in the halls ever again, but it was Harry.
Granger sighed, and nodded. "Discretely, Ron's going to be there too."
Draco stopped, not wanting to go near Weasley. Weasley made Draco cautious, he knew how the Weasel would address him and then he would be forced to leave. Would he even manage to talk to Harry? Draco figured not. But Draco desired to know whether or not Harry was expelled. He could not imagine a school without Harry Potter, abhorred or loved. Draco did not want a school without Harry. Unimaginable.
Draco hesitated and drew back a step. Granger stared at his feet and she questioned, "Malfoy, aren't you coming?" He did not look her in the eyes, avoiding, and Granger turned her baffled gaze to his downcast face.
"I thought you wanted to go see if Harry was…?" Granger questioned, her face expressing confusion.
"Not if there are people there," Draco said. Draco took a step back into the room of requirement, feeling safer in there than out roaming the school during classes.
"Malfoy, what are you talking about? There are people where ever you go." Granger stared at him unbelieving but Draco could not look at her words as unreasonable. She was right. Draco allowed an inner sob.
"Not for me, anymore," Draco whispered, head hung. He was the image of his loss, bent down by gravity. Unseen forces were bending and snapping Draco's will to live and they were unseen to everyone but him. And now Harry again could see them too. That was where the distrust set in. Harry had the potential to make others see the terrible gravity that pushed Draco into the earth.
Granger leaned in like an imp suggesting mischief to a thief. "If Harry's expelled today, you might not see him in a long time, maybe even forever. Harry got lucky last month, he might not again," she said slyly, concealing her slyness within her promise to Harry to help Draco.
Draco stopped. Granger knew where to get him. He couldn't contemplate life without the gentle hand which stroked him in dust, where he lay as a pile of maggots, thriving on decay within his life; where he was stuck in a mud that he could not escape. Harry held him and washed the soot away. Draco could not believe that he was becoming reliant on Harry again, despite his compliancy to shower his grime off and be near Granger the outsider.
On the cliff Draco hung over there were jagged killers below him and hopeful winds above. If he descended or flew Draco knew his heart lay with Harry.
Stupid, I can't…
"Don't say that to me Granger…" Draco whispered but he was not moving back. Inching forward Granger gave him a smile meant for a baby, where joy is expressed to see accomplishments and love is given for being.
"Shall we go?" She said, opening the door and moving into the hall. Granger looked back for Draco.
Draco took a step out of the Room of Requirement. Granger turned around and headed down the corridor, Draco following her. She was not a beacon but she was leading him and keeping him safe.
Trust. Harry, do you know what you're asking me to do for you?
Harry stepped out of the Headmaster's office with Dumbledore's hand weighting down on his shoulder. Zabini had already been whisked out by Snape and Professor Flitwick, intending to hand him over to Filch. Ah yes, washing all the windows in the entire castle would help build character, though the blisters that would form on Zabini's hands would never, to Harry, correct Zabini's sin. Classes had finished by now and Harry had one destination, no two, before he could say his day was finished.
"Harry, I want to see you after dinner as we discussed. Come straight to my office, I'm afraid any wandering you may choose to do will have to wait until after," Dumbledore said, with an odd twinkle in his blue eyes. Harry felt a chill hit him with a box of ice cubes, filling his mind with contemplations that were none too pleasant or kind towards Dumbledore.
What does Dumbledore know? He can't know about Draco's rape. The bothersome old man, he would know about my lie, about how I saved Zabini from…
A sense of guilt filled Harry before he rationalized out what Dumbledore would actually do if he had known about a student of his being raped. He would not allow Harry to simply brutally attack Zabini, no Dumbledore was caring; he would have dealt with Zabini and Draco, leaving Harry out of the picture completely.
Wait. If Dumbledore knew that, wouldn't he have gotten to Zabini before I did? What the hell is Dumbledore thinking by telling me 'not to wander'…
Harry wanted more time to think but the matter of the present time was that Ron was waiting anxiously (without a doubt impatiently too) and would start to bombard Harry with a load of chaos. Questions, answers, comments; all these and more awaited Harry with his red-headed friend.
"Harry?" Professor Dumbledore inquired. Harry realized what he had been doing with some embarrassment. He had been staring off into space with his mouth opened slightly as he gathered his wits and prepared himself; although what he was preparing for was unclear.
"Yes Professor, right after supper," Harry repeated. He took a step down the stairs.
"Thank you Harry," Dumbledore said, letting go of Harry's shoulder to stand at the entrance of his office proudly. McGonagall was still seated in the office, waiting for Dumbledore to return after seeing Harry out.
Another step. What is he thanking me for?
Harry took one last look at the Headmaster and replied sincerely, "Thank you Professor." Dumbledore smiled, figuring that he had communicated with Harry; figuring that he had in some way solved another problem, figuring that he had helped lay the pathway for a little peace. Harry figured differently.
Step. Zabini, I've only started with you.
Harry saw the top of Ron's head and smiled, relieved to see his friend. "Ron!" Harry said joyfully, perhaps more joyfully than he intended. He had just been through a severe meeting with the teachers again and come out partially unscathed. Ron had even helped, though he would never know it.
Step. Ron, I'm going to get you a good birthday present. If I live for your next birthday….
Ron was sitting on the staircase when Harry called his name, turning around he looked back and grinned. "Harry! Mate, what happened? Did Snape blow his lid when you weren't expelled?" Ron asked jokingly, grinning foolishly. Harry grinned back and nodded.
"What else does Snape ever do? It was brilliant when you came in! Did you see his face?" Harry responded. Ron laughed at that, got up, and lost his footing, sliding down the stair case. Harry followed his friend in laughter.
Step, step, step. Oh, that was good! I haven't laughed this hard since… I don't remember, of course.
Harry rolled invisible eyes at himself and met Ron at the bottom of the staircase, where Ron was laying on the floor looking upwards. Harry frowned when he saw Hermione and Draco in front of him (they were supposed to remain in the Room of Requirements so Draco was kept safe!), Hermione folding her arms as she inspected Ron, who was glaring in Malfoy's direction. Draco looked like a scared cat, ready to bolt for concealment.
Last step. Draco…
Another flash. Bodies entwined and moving to a fast pace, Harry appropriately blushed as another snippet of memory returned. A dark hickey on pale flesh, which Harry nipped again, and again, and again, and Oh! Yes, yes, yes, Draco's open mouth before him, his for the salvaging, his body for giving. Oh! Harry was giving loads in this new secret from his mind and Harry could not imagine it was him. Oh! Draco's eyes were lustful and Harry knew he was making someone happy, needy, loved. Draco said it himself, "I love yo—o-ooo!" through loud cries for more. Harry chuckled.
Ron and Hermione were caught off guard and stared at Harry in bewilderment; Draco stiffened and eyed Harry with distrust written over his face. Harry was horrified because he chuckled in his memory and then he chuckled out loud. The fondness and amusement within his locked memories affected him; these feelings were Harry's proof. The memories were real, they were his. They were coming back and they were revolving around Draco. Draco equals medicine, who would have thought?
Apparently he's medicine in more ways than one.
Harry savored the flavor of being told "I love you," once again before he banished the thoughts. He could not think them with Draco acting the way he was. He could not reflect on his memories until Draco was safe.
"Harry?" Hermione asked tentatively.
"You really are going bonkers, aren't ya mate?" Ron said. "Hermione, what's that stupid git doing here?" He was obviously referring Draco, who was inching away by the second. Hermione was shifting her feet and Harry wondered if she was going to tie Draco to the floor before he slunk away or if she was going to smack Ron upside the head. Harry shocked himself when he punched Ron on the arm instead.
"Harry, what the hell was that for?" Ron growled, rubbing his arm soothingly. The two friends glared at each other. Draco relaxed, grey eyes wide. Hermione smiled the way an Olympic gold finalist does.
"You heard what I said, didn't you? Zabini went over board-" Draco dropped down to the ground with a pained cry which echoed off the walls. Harry, alarmed, looked up the staircase in fear that the shoes of McGonogall and Dumbledore would come tapping down the spiraled stones. They did not, mercifully.
Harry was at Draco's side in an instant. Draco was losing it again and Harry could see the signs, tears were welling, the onslaught ready to come. Harry leaned in before Draco had a chance to retaliate and kill him for saying a word about what had occurred with Zabini. Harry knew trust was on the line. To gain trust back was definitely on the line.
Harry's lips brushed past Draco's blond hair softly and Harry's words reached Draco's ears only. "Draco, it's okay. I didn't tell them the truth, Hermione doesn't know unless you told her, trust me, please? I promise you, I only said Zabini—"
"You said enough!" Draco hissed, hitting Harry wherever he could with balled fist, huddled next to the other boy who wrapped his arms around him. "You said enough! They know! They all know! It's your fault they know! Why? Why?! WHY?!" Draco anguished, face screwed up as his face soaked in sorrow.
Draco was stiff against Harry, and Harry desired for Draco to be more open with all his being. Harry had thought he regretted losing his memories but now he realized he did not regret, there is no regret when you would gladly hand your soul to Voldemort with a cheerful greeting card if it would change the fact you'd lost your memories
Harry continued to whisper, his gut churning too much. "I'm sorry Draco, I'm so sorry. It's okay though, no one knows what really happened, no one but me. They'll keep Zabini away from you, I'll keep him away, I promise. Believe me Draco, I'm sorry…"
"Harry, why… why…?" Draco sobbed. Harry held Draco tightly and kissed his cheek ever so lightly, knowing it would be lost on only one person there. Draco grabbed onto Harry's robes and raged into them.
"I couldn't stand the thought of someone hurting you, I couldn't stand it, I'm sorry," Harry said, eyeing Hermione and Ron, who were just staring. Harry knew his friends would not interfere, their faces said they knew the severity of what was going on. Harry retuned to Draco who was broken, who was fixed, who was in pieces, who was being held together.
"What the fuck is wrong with Malfoy?" Ron exclaimed, earning himself a smack from Hermione.
"Would you all stop beating me up!!" Ron cried. He held his head gently where Hermione had given him a wallop, acting the victim. Hermione only looked distressed.
"Ron, shut up. Don't you see what's going on?" She asked, anger and sympathy combining on her face. Ron only stared at her with confusion.
"What are you--?" Hermione grabbed his chin and pointed it in Harry's direction sharply. Ron winced. His eyes bulged when he saw Harry comforting Malfoy, who was clinging to Harry as he wailed. "What… when… why?" Ron blabbered, utterly terrified.
"That's what Zabini did." Hermione stated.
Draco sniffled into Harry's neck, "Why are you doing this to me?" he asked.
Harry was taken aback. Doing what? Harry did not know what Draco meant and he felt he was not doing anything to Draco, besides helping him. Why help him? He simply felt he had to, reasons buried beneath sandy beaches of ration.
But still Harry answered the question he was not sure of how to translate, if only with a question for Draco too. "You said you loved me, right?" Draco's eyes went wide and he made no sound. Harry wondered about the fear and shock on Draco's face and felt unsettled; then he tightened his hold around Draco's quivering body.
Harry told Draco something comforting, something that made Draco relent to his fear. "It's all right, I remember." Harry only wanted to make Draco feel better, he knew he could not explain why. Was it enough to just act? Harry thought so.
Draco, I'm not going to let you take the fall alone. I can't do that.
Draco let go of his secret, Harry knew it when Draco started to wail all over again, barely managing to choke out, "Y—e—sssss—Love—Love —"
Harry kissed Draco's forehead, "You." Draco was finished; he crumpled and fell asleep.
Review please! Let me know what you thought.
Thank you to all my readers for being patient with me, or not so, with completing this update. I hope you enjoyed this chapter very much and that it was well worth the wait:)