Title: Eternity On That Little Step
Author: Eris Mackenzie
Warnings: Angst, comfort, adult language and situations, mild slash.
Spoilers: SS, CS, PoA, GoF, Ootp, HBP.
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. The lyrics and song "Hurt" are owned by Johnny Cash and no profit is intended nor being made. The remake of "Swan Lake" as directed by Matthew Bourne is owned by Tchaikovsky. Starbucks ™ is owned exclusively by their own company. The lyrics and song for "Dance Commander" are owned by Electric Six and no profit is intended nor being made.
Summary: "I'm leaving." Those were the last words Draco said before he walked out of the door, two grey suitcases in his hands. Two grey suitcases for five years of their relationship. That had been three and a half weeks ago to the day. It was Thursday.
A/N: This story was inspired by the song "Hurt" by Johnny Cash. Lyrics are displayed at the bottom. I strongly recommend listening to this song, no matter what type of music you normally listen to. Also, note that this is the un-beta'd version of this fic. I will be updating momentarily with the final version.
Those were the last words Draco said before he walked out of the door, two grey suitcases in his hands. Two grey suitcases for five years of their relationship. That had been three and a half weeks ago to the day.
It was Thursday.
Those words still echoed in Harry's head as he stared out the window of his central London flat. He was in was the living room, which was rather spacious and purposely made sparse, with only a few silver decorative vases and stands here and there. There were two cream coloured couches, and at both ends of the divans were dark cherry wood tables.
Harry stood quietly with his hands in his pockets by himself. The only sound in the whole flat was the soft monotone tap of rain on the windows. He was leant against the cool window frame, watching the taxis and boxy cars and people milling about on the street below. From this high up, the people looked like little more than tiny dwarves or ants marching about their own ways. On the corner of two streets, one of the well-known red telephone booths was still standing. They were steadily becoming fewer and fewer of the traditional cubicles because the city officials had been tearing them down in favour of new ones. Harry smiled nostalgically. He remembered cramming into one such booth to enter the former Ministry of Magic. Now, the Ministry was located in a number of places--easier to protect.
Harry himself wasn't one for cities, having had mild claustrophobia since he was little (probably from having spent half his life in a cupboard), but Draco had all but pissed himself at the thought of buying the flat. Another bonus for it was that the building was only a few blocks away from Draco's workplace in the City, which meant he didn't have to take the underground unless the weather was really bad. Of course, the location of the flat made it expensive but Harry figured the price wasn't bad, and the fact that both of them were basically loaded gave them room to stretch their financial boundaries.
The sharp whistle of a teakettle broke Harry's reverie.
He walked out of the living room into a dim hallway. Picture frames lined the walls and he caught sight of one on the side of a small table.
Smiling happily, he and Draco twirled around a small fountain in the middle of fall, leaves swirling about them and getting caught in their hair. It had been taken about three years ago, before everything had started falling to shit, on a trip back to Hogwarts. He still remembered the soft whispered "I love you" when Draco had hugged him close.
He put the picture face down as he passed.
"Damnit!" Harry swore when he went to take the kettle off the stove only to burn his knuckles on the side.
Annoyed and irritated with himself, he walked over to the sink and ran lukewarm water over his throbbing fingers. He reached over with his hand still under the faucet and opened the cupboard beside the sink. The only tea left in the cabinet was Earl Grey, Draco's favourite. Harry closed the cupboard and decided on coffee.
Switching on the coffeemaker and carefully pouring out the hot water from the kettle, Harry had only to wait a few minutes before the dark liquid started drizzling into the glass pot, and the delicious smell of warm hazelnut cream quickly filled the kitchen. Harry breathed deep of the intoxicating mixture, remembering the first time Draco had introduced him to the caffeinated substance.
"Really, Harry," Draco insisted once again. "It tastes just as good as tea, I promise you. Just try it!"
Harry shook his head. He hadn't understood Draco's persistence in forcing Harry to go to a local coffee shop, the Crème de la Café (one of those cafes firmly against large, industrialized coffee companies that kept 'stealing their customers'), but well, now he knew. The only thing Harry drank was tea and it drove Draco crazy, considering he really wasn't that into it himself.
The small table they sat at was cozy and the raspberry pastries they'd ordered so far had been quite good, but Draco was starting to get on his nerves.
"Draco, I don't like coffee, I already told you," Harry complained. "Why won't you just let me drink my tea in peace? It's not as if it's Hagrid's moonshine, for Merlin's sake."
Draco snorted. "You probably wouldn't still be alive if that were the case. That stuff's stronger than Micklebeard's Velvet Stars, and that's saying something."
Harry mocked him silently, earning a look from Draco that said 'Stop it now or no sex. Ever.'
"Anyway," the blond sniffed when Harry smiled at him contritely, "I just want you to try this. I'm sick of smelling tea. Yes, it's true, I'm English and you're English and England is the tea capital of the world, but it wouldn't kill you to try something different. Please?"
He gave Harry his infamous puppy dog eyes, and within a few minutes Harry felt himself giving in.
"Ah…fine," Harry rolled his eyes. "I'll try the damned drink if it makes you happy."
Draco instantly brightened up; his eyes were practically glowing. "You'll like it--promise." He handed over the large Styrofoam cup, filled to the brim with chocolatey-flavoured latte.
Harry handled it gingerly, not wanting it to spill on his corduroy jacket and stain it. His first hesitant taste turned into a sip that turned into a gulp and, in the blink of an eye, the coffee was gone.
"Oi, Harry! I didn't say to drink it all!" Draco pouted when Harry slid the empty cup back across the table.
Draco crossed his stick-thin arms across his chest. He was wearing the black wool sweater Harry had picked out for him last Christmas, and Harry couldn't help noticing just how dashing it made Draco's pale features look. It was probably one of the only fashionable presents Harry had had the fortune of picking out--ever.
Harry grinned and leaned across the table.
"I'll buy you another one, love," Harry said amused just before he pressed his lips to Draco's.
That first coffee-flavoured kiss was the turning point in Harry's tea drinking days.
However, that had all been before the last vestiges of Death Eaters had burned Hogwarts.
The school had just been getting back on its feet from six years of harsh fighting, and many people including Harry's best mates, Hermione Weasley and her husband Ronald, had joined up in the restoration act. No one knew of the 'Last Attack,' as it would become known, until the school was already surrounded. Like hellish demons, the Death Eaters had set up wards all around the castle that not even the famed Minerva McGonagoll could break through, and set fire to the whole thing.
The screams and cries of the men, women, and children locked inside still haunted Harry's dreams to this day. Every night he would wake up, shaking and crying in sweaty sheets. Lying next to him would be Draco, and he'd always hold him close and ask him what was wrong. But after everything Draco too had gone through, Harry would not share those last horrors with him.
Hermione and Ron's children had only been two and three. Such sweet little girls, with their mother's beautiful smile and their father's trademark red hair. Their names were Sonia (the eldest) and Louise. They, along with everyone else Harry had ever known, perished.
He could barely even remember the times before the war, before the terror.
Harry didn't realise he'd been standing there for at least fifteen minutes, and the coffee in his cup was now cool enough to drink without scalding his tongue.
Sitting down at the table, Harry caught sight of the time. It was just a little past 5:41 p.m. The sun was just starting to go down. By the cool light that flooded through the flat as a result of the rainstorm, however, it could have just as easily been noon or the beginning of the day.
He took a deep breath and then another and another until his head was dizzy from oxygen. He stopped when the pressure behind his eyes threatened to explode.
The room was so quiet--the whole flat was silent. Usually it was filled with the sounds of Draco singing or blasting some type of techno music or something else that he did spontaneously but now it was quiet except for the wet, slurping sounds of Harry drinking his coffee.
The cold steel underneath his hands was spotless. He traced his fingertip around the bottom of his cup and pulled it away to see the smudges he had made. He did that a lot; made perfect things into something incurable and dirtied. He wasn't just talking about inanimate objects like a painting or a table. So many things got corroded through arguments and him pushing away until there was nothing left but holes and bitterness. He just hadn't thought Draco would be one of those things too.
He ran his thumb along the stained rim of his cup as he thought.
"What the hell is your problem?" Draco screamed at him. His face was tomato-red and a vein in his forehead beat furiously. It made Harry want to punch him.
"My problem?" Harry yelled. "My problem is that I just want to be left alone! And you can't seem to do that!"
"So it's a fucking sin now for me to want to know what's wrong with my boyfriend?" Draco sneered. The cold look would have worked except for the fact that he was so obviously worked up.
"I just want you to butt out! Is that too much to ask? Some things just don't concern you, Draco! Get the hell over it," shouted Harry.
"Oh, get over it? 'Butt out'? Okay fine, if you feel that way, I'll leave then." Draco said angrily.
He turned to their bedroom dresser and started jerking open the drawers and flinging his clothes into a suitcase that he'd transformed from one of the pillows on the bed.
"Draco…Draco, stop." Harry sighed as he walked over. He wasn't angry anymore. He knew why Draco was so pissed off, and he knew that given his situation, he would be too.
"Why should I?" Draco snarled when Harry laid a hand on his arm, and he whipped around to push it off.
Harry pressed his lips into a thin line and, taking Draco off guard, pushed the blond against the wall. The tension and friction was making him hard, and he wasn't the only one.
Draco let out a startled and aroused gasp when Harry deliberately ground against him in anger. His cheeks were already pink and flustered, and his lips were half-opened, just waiting for what he knew would come. It was almost like a game, a silly dance they'd rehearsed hundreds of times.
"Because no matter what, I fucking love you and I don't ever want you to leave." Harry growled through his teeth. The vibrations of his voice rippled through his throat and down his chest where the sound waves echoed faintly in Draco.
Harry pushed closer, pinning Draco and manacling Draco's wrists above his head with his hands. He pushed Draco's thighs apart and harshly rubbed his knee against Draco's groin in a way he knew would drive him crazy.
Rage still burned in Draco's eyes, but he didn't push Harry off him.
"Prove it," Draco spat as cuttingly as an insult.
Harry took him up on his words and most certainly proved it--over and over and over again until Draco was rubbed raw, yet still crying for more. It all was so much like their school days; Draco would say something, and Harry would hit, Draco would punch back, and everything would end up in one big bloody goddamned mess, but this time the hits were verbal and the only thing physical was Harry's hand on Draco's flesh making him see red.
When they were done, lying in their chaotic and thoroughly trashed bed on sheets that were torn and splattered, Harry just laid there listening to Draco breathe. Draco was turned on his side with his back to Harry even as he whispered those three words that had almost lost their meaning now. And they both knew that no matter how many times they made up, that this time they really weren't alright.
Harry blinked his dry eyes and winced at the sore rush of moisture on his retinas. He sighed and rubbed his eyes to try and get them back to normal. They kept watering.
When he opened his eyes, he found that he had finished his coffee long ago, and he got up to get some more. When he sat back down, his sleeve rolled up and he stared, transfixed, at the faded needle marks that had started the final argument; the one Draco had never come back from.
Harry turned his head sluggishly to see a blond shape swerving in the doorway. It took him a few seconds to realise it was Draco. His body seemed out of proportion and fuzzy. His eyes looked too big and deep. Or, maybe it was just because of what he was seeing that made them look like endless mercury lakes.
The needle he'd just shot slid from his nerveless fingers to clatter on the hard ground.
"Harry, what are you…what have you done?" Draco asked in a quivering voice. The disbelief within his eyes could not be mistaken. It was like he didn't trust what he was seeing right in front of him.
"What does it look like?" Harry slurred. The thick rubber band on his arm started bothering him, so he untied it with a snap.
"I see what it looks like, but I hope to hell that isn't what it is." Draco's voice was trembling, but in what, Harry couldn't tell. He didn't even care anymore.
Harry didn't even bother moving from where he lay. The liquid fire running through his veins made him daring, careless--especially careless. "Well, sorry to disappoint you, Dray, but it is what it is."
It took all of five minutes for Harry to realise this wasn't the same as the arguments before. And yet, he still couldn't get himself to care. No, that wasn't quite right. Harry had cared, but not about the worry and pain he saw in Draco's eyes. He cared about the anger and fury he felt that Draco, an ex-Death Eater his-fucking-self, was looking at him so patronizingly.
"Don't you judge me," Harry spat as he stood centimetres away from his lover, adrenaline pumping through him.
"Judge you? I'm not fucking judging you, Harry! I'm trying to help you!" Draco yelled, his eyes blazing. "Okay, wait, fucking no--I am judging you. Do you know what I see? I see a fucking selfish bastard who doesn't care about anyone or anything but himself! Why the hell won't you just grow up!"
Draco crossed the room in an instant and, with a hard-placed swipe of his hand, smashed the half-empty wine glass and the prescription pills for depression Harry had coupled along with the heroine (what he had already taken may have well been a lethal dose) to the floor. The wine left a dark crimson mark where it expanded; corrupted love, pain, death. Everything that had ever gone wrong was in that spreading stain on the floor.
Harry didn't think about what he was doing as he just yelled mindlessly. He wasn't even sure if what he was screaming was making sense or if it was even words anymore.
"I can't fucking stand this!" Harry shouted.
His voice was getting hoarse, his throat and mouth were as dry as the Sahara desert. Draco was only a foot away from him if that, yet Harry yelled as loud as if he were standing at opposite ends of a Quidditch field.
"Is that why you infect yourself with this filth?" Draco gestured disgustedly at the used syringe on the ground. There was a tiny drop of blood still on the end. "This fucking virus?"
He sneered at Harry, fury and anger etched into his usually beautiful features. "Do you do it to get away from your memories, Potter?" He looked at Harry for a long moment, neither of them speaking, then he said in a resolute and bitter tone:
"…Or am I just not enough for you anymore?"
Draco's voice went quiet at the end of the last sentence as all the stress and rage made him ask the one question neither of them wanted to say.
"That's what this is about, isn't it?"
His voice seemed to echo through the room, and abruptly all the tension seeped away, leaving everything devastatingly quiet. Harry suddenly felt nauseated, clammy, and a headache started to form in the back of his head. Across from him, Draco looked tired and resigned as if he already knew the answer. Honestly he did. Deep down in a little place called Truth, he knew the answer. They both did, but gods, neither of them wanted it to be true.
Regretting the answer he had to give, Harry shrugged helplessly.
"I don't know," he said, all traces of anger gone from his voice. Now, he just felt sick and exhausted. He felt like washed-out. "I don't know what I feel for you anymore. I don't know if I feel anything."
Draco closed his eyes as soon as he heard Harry's reply, and he nodded. Just nodded. Then he turned and left the room without a word.
Harry pretended he didn't see the glimmer of moisture on the edges of Draco's eyelashes before he turned his back.
Within a few minutes, Harry understood what he was doing as he heard the drawers and cabinets in their bedroom being drawn out and emptied. It was a familiar scene but this time it was almost calm, quiet. This time Harry knew Draco wouldn't be coming back.
Twenty minutes later, the small, trivial click of a suitcase lock told him that Draco was done packing.
'This is stupid,' Harry thought madly. 'This is so fucked up.'
He saw Draco walk out into the hallway, and he slowly followed him to the foyer by the door, where Draco got out his slim black jacket.
'It wasn't supposed to end like this.'
Draco shrugged on his jacket and picked up his suitcases. He turned back to Harry with a cold and gritty look on his face.
Harry was broken out of his haunted daydreams by Draco's soft but resolute voice. Hidden in his beautiful eyes were not just pain but despair and, most curiously and undeniably Draco, strength. Emotions Harry wished to all Hades he didn't have to see.
He didn't want him to leave but at the same time he did. What he really wanted was to go back in time, and have what they used to have--that beautifully fierce love that was so passionate it burned them both in the end. Maybe it had burned too bright, too fast… maybe they weren't supposed to stay together forever. Draco was his salvation at the beginning, his furious and now jaded angel, and there was nothing Harry could do. There just wasn't anything left to save.
"I'm leaving." That's all Draco said. "I'm leaving," before he walked out the door.
Harry would never, ever forget the look on his face or the sound of his voice. On his deathbed, Harry knew he'd still remember that one moment when everything that had been slowly falling--all the Death Eaters and Voldemort and the attacks and sieges and bloodied murders and beautiful lovers--finally fell.
Harry wiped the tears off his cheeks and wondered when he'd started crying. He was fine, he convinced himself. He was fine.
Glancing up at the clock, he was shocked to find that it was already 9:17. The sun had long since set. Now, he sat in a dark kitchen with a cold cup of coffee in his hands and a stiff back. His stomach grumbled; he was hungry too.
Sighing, Harry hauled himself out of his seat. He winced when he heard his back crack loudly. He set his cup in the sink, not even bothering to dump the liquid down the drain or rinse it out, and headed for the bathroom. He decided that he wanted to take a shower and then maybe he'd fix himself something to eat if he still had any energy (which he sincerely doubted). Showers always tended to tire him out, and lately he'd been more weary than usual. He was only twenty-five, soon to be twenty-six, but he felt so much older than his age. Already, he felt like he was a hundred.
The knob for the shower was white marble. Draco had picked it out when they'd gotten new bathroom fixtures last fall. In fact, everything in the bathroom was, while not necessary new, at least recent. Harry smiled wryly as he remembered Draco's fixation on having everything in the room some shade of white or cream. "It looks cleaner," he'd said.
Harry knew it would take the water a bit to heat up. As much as he loved the flat, the building still had old plumbing. He wished the landlord was a wizard for a moment and then shook his head. He didn't need another person prying in his business.
When the water was hot enough to steam the mirror, Harry stripped off his clothes. He let them lay where they fell, telling himself he'd pick them up later. He groaned when his sore back muscles were pelted by the warm water, and he tilted his head back to let the water rain down his face. He held his breath under the spray until he thought he'd pass out, then he moved his head out of the shower stream and shook the water out of his eyes.
He let out a weary sigh as he reached for the shampoo. Draco had forgotten to take his with him when he'd left. It was one of those high-priced designer shit types that cost more than the bloody store it was sold in, yet Draco had insisted on having it. Harry closed his fingers around the cool, slippery plastic and let the creamy liquid pour into his palm.
It instantly foamed up as soon as he rubbed it into his hair and he marvelled at the silkiness of his hair as soon as soon as the shampoo touched it; no wonder Draco's hair was always so soft. He rubbed it into his scalp, took a deep breath--and almost cried.
It smelled just like him, just like Draco.
He'd forgotten what he smelled like.
Merlin, how had he forgotten that? How? He'd gotten so used to it that he hadn't even noticed when his bed sheets stopped smelling of baby powder, Brazil nut, and that soft musky scent that was Draco's own. He knew he missed him, missed him with every cell in his being, but for the love of it all, Harry would not just be a man and apologize. So he whispered it to the cool shower wall instead, away from eyes and tearing hearts and everything else he didn't want to face.
(the next week)
"Oi, Harry! The Goblin Liaison Office sent you a memo a half an hour ago. Did you get it?" Ryce Besser asked as he poked his head inside Harry's cubicle.
Harry sighed deeply and rubbed his eyes. Being situated in the middle of a noisy and cramped office in the outgoing department of the Ministry's eastern district was hell.
"No, I didn't--oh, wait...I...might've.…" Harry dug around the piles of parchment and quills and Styrofoam cups surrounding, on top of, and under the messy desk. It was a wonder he could find anything at all. He knocked over a coffee-stained cup from a few days ago that he hadn't thrown away yet.
Scratch finding anything--it was a wonder his cubicle wasn't classified as a radioactive wasteland.
With a subdued flourish, Harry whipped out the mile-long 'memo' on a few (which, translated, meant a few hundred) complaints about Merlin-knew-what from those godforsaken goblins. They'd been raising hell with Harry's department ever since one of their people had been mistaken for a magical plant and been accidentally chopped.
The witch in question, Minia Neery, who had started cutting up the damn thing realized her mistake by the second toe (though how she hadn't before, Harry had no idea). Either way, it was now giving Harry migraines twenty-four-seven.
"Aye, Harry, you really need to get that done soon. Gerlick Gad is going to be here in four hours to speak with Mr. Krempsky, and--well," The dopey brunet rolled his eyes. "--you know how clueless he is."
"Yeah, yeah, I know. I just...sorry, I forgot," Harry said guiltily. Mr. Krempsky was the head of their department. He was a good speaker and everyone (wizard and dwarves and whatever else alike) loved his charismatic manner and his jovial attitude, but the man was a nuisance with his forgetfulness.
Ryce smiled, then looked concerned. "It's alright. But are you okay? I mean, you've been looking a bit peaky for a while."
Harry nodded. "I'm fine," he said with a false cheeriness in his voice. "I've just not been getting a lot of sleep, you know? All this shit with the damned overhaul and all."
"Hah, yeah, you're right about that." Ryce chuckled. He looked around for a few seconds, stalling of course, and then said, "Well, I suppose I've got to go now. Harksmith'll be on my arse if I don't get that report for the Greensmiths League done today."
"Alright," Harry waved. "See ya around."
"Yeah," Ryce snorted amusedly. "See ya, if I ever get this crap done with..."
Ryce continued to grumble until he walked out of earshot. Harry waited until he was sure his co-worker was more than four cubicles down before he dropped his face into his palms and sighed.
It wasn't just the workload that was taking a toll on him, and he knew it. Ever since the week before, he'd shoved every thought of Draco out of his mind but it was becoming steadily harder to do. Just today, he'd walked past the theatre he remembered going to with Draco. They'd gone to see a remake of "Swan Lake" by Matthew something or other, and Draco had loved watching it though it seemed a bit less traditional and a little more crude in Harry's opinion. Harry had almost had to tear himself away from the front doors before he could continue on his way to work.
Harry's stomach grumbled, and he sighed. He kept forgetting to take breaks to eat. He'd come to rely on Draco to tell him when to stop and eat something, and without his presence, he was rapidly starting to lose weight. His normally snug pants were getting baggy around the waist; a sure sign that he'd lost at least seven or eight pounds already.
"Hey, Cooper, tell Adie if he comes by that I'm on lunch break, okay?" Harry said as he leaned over the thin wall of his cubicle.
With the increasing taxes on their building, the Ministry had moved their department into another area and when they said the new workplaces would be cubicles, they meant it.
"Hmm, okay," mumbled Cooper, not bothering to look up from the manuscript he was translating to be flown to Austria.
Cooper was a thirty-something, slightly balding man who Harry knew had divorced a few years back. His wife had taken their three kids with her, leaving Cooper with nothing but work to take his mind off things. Even now, Harry had yet to see him take a break or walk anywhere other than the loo from his cubicle.
"Alright, thanks." Harry leaned down and picked up his coat from the scarcely used, sad looking visitor's chair and walked out of the small space that served as his door.
The hallway, if it could be called that, allowed only one person through at a time. Harry had to stop and wait for a haggard looking witch to pass, muttering about something that sounded like "shove that kettle back into the dustbin" and "red hair dye". Harry shook his head bemusedly as she hobbled by. They received all kinds of oddities around their department so it was nothing strange.
Once out of the stuffy building, Harry took a deep breath of fresh air. Of course, it wasn't really fresh as he was in the heart of the capital city in England and there was bound to be smog and car exhaust fumes and such, but he wasn't one to complain that much.
He turned left at the corner, rounding about the vendor selling street meat, and walked on down the avenue. Harry wasn't really sure where he wanted to go, but he figured with the plethora of restaurants lining the street, he was bound to find somewhere to get some lunch. Normally, he'd just get take-out and go back to work, but today he was feeling more like having a sit-down meal.
He passed a Starbucks in the middle of the bustling street and caught a whiff of coffee. It ignited a caffeine fuelled yearning in him; however, he didn't stop there. Instead a nostalgic mood came over him as he opened the door to the Crème de la Café.
A little silver bell chimed as he walked in the warm shop, and he smiled slightly despite himself. The inviting smell of roasting coffee wafted all around him. His mouth watered as he walked up to the counter and looked at the menu.
Now, he'd only been there a few times before with Draco, but he'd always gotten the same thing. So this time he decided to try something new; something that he wouldn't have to eat thinking about his ex-boyfriend.
"Um, hi, I'd like to order a large mocha espresso and…one--no, two chocolate scones, please." Harry ordered.
The young man behind the counter couldn't have been more than eighteen or nineteen. His face still showed scars of the notorious teenage acne. His shaggy blond hair fell into his eyes when he nodded. Harry finished his order, then the boy rung it up. Harry handed him the money and took his receipt.
The kid's nametag read "William".
Harry waited at the counter, leaning on the smooth black surface, and surveyed his surroundings as he waited for his order. There were a few people sitting at the small tables: one black-suited man sat in the corner reading a newspaper, turned to the stock market section, Harry could see, and one of those artsy types was lounging near the window, listening to headphones and tapping her spoon ever so gently against the cup saucer. Another couple of people sat by themselves talking softly at a table close to the wall.
No one noticed Harry watching them, and in a surprisingly short time William the cashier was back with his food and drink.
"Thanks," Harry muttered as he took hold of the cup and little plate holding his scones. He balanced his load somewhat awkwardly in one hand as he started over to the table snug against the front window that he'd been eyeing up as soon as he'd walked in the door.
He sat down gratefully after he'd set everything down and got himself situated. He was suddenly ravenous as he gulped down the first quarter of his coffee before realising what he was doing and slowed down. He ate slowly despite the growling his stomach made.
His sleeve rolled up a little when he lifted the cup up to his lip, and as he looked at the pale skin of his wrist, he found himself thinking about the now fully healed needle marks. He hadn't done anything at all since the day Draco left, currently more than a month ago.
After some time, most of his attention drifted off and was focused, not on his food, but on the people outside the window.
Harry caught sight of a business woman walking past hurriedly with a sleek black suitcase in one hand and a cell phone glued to her ear in the other. She was talking a mile-a-minute and Harry could tell without even hearing what she was saying that she was getting agitated. He smiled wistfully; it seemed everyone was having a bad day.
Harry was on the first bite of his second scone when he saw a couple walking past out of the corner of his eye. He watched the flowing, happy movements of the two with tired yet curious eyes. The girl laughed when her hair fell out of the loose bun she had it in, and the boy playfully helped her pull it back up, all the while smiling and grinning like the love-struck couple they probably were.
He had to look away when they kissed tenderly. He'd remembered doing the same thing to Draco, regardless of the other people passing by.
Harry quickly finished his scone and, finishing his coffee in record time, started back off to his little cubicle at work. He had better things to do than sit there daydreaming after all.
When he got home, Harry had just enough strength to eat and take a quick shower. He was too tired to do anything else but watch a bit of telly. He headed to bed just a few hours later after he'd woken up to find himself asleep on the couch.
The bed sheets were creamy silk (Draco's pick, of course), and at that moment Harry both hated and adored the slippery, almost cold feel of the material as it glided under his knees and hands. He flopped down on his stomach, face in his pillow. He didn't even bother taking off the quilt for the first few minutes until he finally berated himself for being so damn lazy and got up to turn down the comforter.
He breathed a deep lung-expanding sigh when he laid back down. His head felt especially heavy tonight, though he didn't know why. Maybe it was just because of the headache and oncoming nightmares he knew were doomed to come inevitably every night. No matter what he did, he still dreamed about the deaths of his loved ones, everyone he hadn't been able to save. Their screaming faces sang to him in his sleep and forbade him rest. This was his reward and his punishment.
He stared at the lazily drifting shapes above his bed. It was a baby mobile. Well, not exactly for children, per say. The shapes were much the same that were present on a baby's, but the stars and moons were exquisitely made from silver and shards of a broken mirror that Draco and he had magicked together once after they had gone through a children's store. They'd been looking for a baby shower gift for Hermione's first child, Sonia, and Harry had caught Draco staring longingly at a cheap plastic one. He'd grabbed him round the elbow and tugged him away, but even after they'd left, Draco was still so quiet all day.
When Harry had finally asked him what was wrong, Draco had said in a muted voice that when he was little, his mother had sung to him and spun one such mobile. Of course it was much pricier, but the baby store had reminded him all the same.
Draco's mother had died earlier that year from a 'supposed' improperly brewed potion. Harry, having no parents of his own, understood how fresh his wounds were and how sensitive he was to now be an orphan like Harry himself. Draco had never cared much for his father--he was just a mentor, after all--but his mother had always been his mum, no matter what type of blood or class ranking their upstanding family was.
Later that night, sensing Draco's sadness, Harry thought up an idea. Taking the shards from a mirror that had shattered when the movers transported the box it was in to the flat, Harry found some spare silver spoons and walked into the bedroom with Draco.
The former Slytherin hadn't gotten it at first, but once Harry explained it to him, he understood. The harmony and pure love that had gone into building those glittering stars and moons and suns were equal to that of the passion they'd shared once they were done.
Harry closed his eyes on the memories. He didn't want to remember anymore.
He yawned and heard his jaw crack before he settled further into the silk paradise. Within minutes, he was asleep.
The stench of scorched flesh burned Harry's nose as he ran about the destroyed grounds, watching desperately as another section of Hogwarts caught aflame. His eyes watered from the smoke pouring out of the broken windows, but he knew the people inside couldn't get out nearly as easily as the air did.
"Please, someone help us!"
Harry gasped as he heard Hermione's voice cry out from inside the building, from a window only a few feet away from Harry's head.
"Hermione!" Harry yelled as he struggled to get to the window.
Just as he touched the stone though, he was flung back by the boundary spells.
"Oh, gods, Harry, help! --Sonia, oh my baby, please no!"
Harry heard Hermione anguished cries, and he could picture it as clearly in his mind as if he were standing in the room with her. Hermione was clutching her first child in her arms, tears streaming through the soot and ash on her face as she watched her beautiful daughter's life leave her right in front of her eyes. Louise was in Ron's embrace, but Ron was slouched on the floor, his eyes no longer open and chest still. Hermione was alone.
She started coughing violently. Black mucus tried to spit up from her lungs but it got caught in her throat, and Harry watched her choke. Sonia started to slip from her mother's grip. The little girl was so pale; her hair stood out as brilliantly as the fire on her skin.
"Hermione!" Harry screamed, pounding on the magical barrier between them. "Hermione, I'll get you out of there! I'll get you out!"
All around him, agonized shrieks filled the air, but his hearing was crystallized on that one room. All he could hear were the short, choking sounds his best friend made. The air streaming out the window was as hot as a furnace and even more black. He could barely even hear Hermione's struggles as she weakened.
Harry felt his knuckles grate as he kept punching and hitting and kicking the barrier, but it was no use. It was like throwing himself at a brick wall. Still, he screamed Hermione's name in hopes she would answer him; however, he could no longer hear her.
"No! I won't let everyone die again! I won't! I won't!"
"--But you already did."
Harry whipped around in shock to see Draco standing almost casually by a tree that had somehow escaped the burning that had spread from the school to the grounds. He was wearing the same outfit from when they'd gone to the coffee shop so long ago, and his hands were tucked neatly in his pockets. His hair shifted in the breeze that was carrying along with it the smells of burning tissue and vegetation. The scent was vile.
"Draco?" Harry choked. What was he doing here? "Come on, you have to help me! I have to save them!"
Draco shook his head. "I can't. You can't. It's over; they're already dead, Harry."
"No!" Harry shouted, desperate tears starting to blind him. "No! It's not--I won't let them die!"
"Harry," Draco said firmly. He took a step closer. "They…are…already…dead. It's time to face it."
Harry shook his head and turned his back to run around Hogwarts to see if there was any way, any way at all, for him to get in and break through the doors and the barrier spells, and maybe he could still find Hermione and Ron and their children and everyone else and get them out and then--
"It's too late." Draco whispered in Harry's ear as he was suddenly behind him.
"No," Harry moaned in desolation as he turned around and pushed Draco away from him. "It's not too late. I can still save them--I can!"
"You can't, Harry."
"Yes, I--Yes, I can!" Harry's voice cracked as his tears shone through. He felt everything he'd built around him to keep his emotions at bay start to break down. "I can, I can, I can. I can still save them."
"No, it's too late, love," Draco murmured as he took Harry into his arms. Harry struggled against him frantically, but Draco wouldn't let go.
Harry didn't even feel embarrassed as he felt the tears streaming blatantly down his face.
"I need to do this, Draco. I have to save them. Please--" he twisted around to look Draco in the eyes; "--Draco, let me do this."
Draco was quiet for a short while, though it felt like an eternity for Harry, and then he said," Fine. But I want you to do something for me first."
'Oh, gods, too little time!' "What?"
"Close your eyes."
"Close my--no! You'll take me away from here!" Harry shouted as he renewed his struggles.
Draco shook his head again. "No, I won't, love, just do this for me and I'll let you go."
"But I-I--" Harry finally gave up. He sent a last desperate look over his shoulder to the burning building, to the shrieks of those in pain and agony, to those on the brink of death and the bodies slowly smouldering away. Took his eyes from all that and shut them.
In an instant, everything changed.
The next time he took a breath, it was of fresh, pure air, and there wasn't any more flickering over his closed eyelids. When he opened them in surprise, he was stunned.
Sunlight was shining warmly on the carefully tended the Hogwarts grounds. Children ran around on the grass, laughing and lugging their books around, and far away, Harry could see black dots racing against one another on the pitch. The castle was no longer blackened and ruinous, but was its old self from when Harry had first come to Hogwarts when he was but eleven, a naïve little boy who'd had nothing but dreams and hopes ahead of him.
Harry broke free of Draco's arms, and this time Draco let him go. He turned around in a complete circle, floored at the sight of such a peaceful scene.
"What…what is this?" asked Harry weakly. "What have you done?"
"I've taken you from your nightmares and brought you to where they really live," Draco replied softly, watching Harry's wide eyes. He gently took hold of Harry's arm and spun him around slowly to face him. "This is where they rest, not where you dream about."
"But-but--" Harry shook his head, not believing it.
"If you don't believe me, look for yourself."
Harry walked away from Draco in a daze, watching the children around him play hide-and-go-seek between the castle's giant pillars guarding the front doors of Hogwarts. He almost gasped when he recognised one of the Creevey brothers, Colin. But he was so young-looking…and he had died on that mission spying on the Death Eaters, hadn't he?
"Oh, Harry!" Colin smiled.
Harry felt surreal. He didn't trust himself to speak.
"Harry, can I take your picture?"
Colin held up his camera, the same camera he'd had back in first year and that he died with still clutched in his hands.
"I-I…" Harry stuttered, not knowing what to say.
"Just one, please?" Colin begged. Harry felt a sense of déjà vu.
"Sure," he finally replied.
"Thanks!" There was a quick flash of light, and then Colin was smiling again.
"I've gotta go now, Harry, but I'll talk to you later, okay?"
He zipped away as quickly as a hummingbird, leaving Harry staring at his back.
He didn't know what to make of this. What could possibly be happening?
He'd seen Ginny laughing with Dean and Seamus in the Great Hall; Neville with his head in a herbology book; Patima and her twin, Patil, sitting on the stairs gossiping about the newest vogue in Witch Weekly's magazine. Harry shook his head confusedly when he heard their conversation. Witch Weekly had stopped publishing three years before when their president had been killed.
Then Harry heard two people's voices he'd thought he'd never hear again.
"Oh, honestly, Ron! Crookshanks did not eat your homework. You just didn't do it," Hermione scolded as she walked down the hallway with her orange tabby cat lounging in her arms.
"Yes, I did, 'Mione! I found my Astrology paper in tatters this morning!" Ron swung his arms about as if it would show her he was right.
Harry unconsciously pushed himself against the wall as they walked closer. He couldn't believe what he was seeing. They were alive, here and now. Hermione and Ron were alive.
"Harry!" Hermione ran over to Harry smiling. "Where've you been? We haven't seen you all day. Is something wrong?"
Harry's mouth opened and shut like a guppy's. His mind was boggled. Where were Sonia and Louise? Why was everything so weird? Did he even really care? They were here. Everyone was alright.
"I, uh, sorry, I've been working on my Potions assignment," Harry offered feebly.
"Ah, Snape--I'd forgotten about that. What was it we had to do with that damned essay on again?" Ron scratched his ear as he thought.
"Um, it's not important," Harry said quickly.
"Aye, I suppose you're right," Ron grinned. "Me and George were just about to go back to the common room and play Exploding Snap, wanna come?"
It felt so much like the old days that Harry couldn't resist saying "Yes."
The time seemed to fly by, and the hours passed in harmony and laughter as Harry gathered all those around him who he hadn't seen in so long. He couldn't believe they were all here and so happy.
"Won again!" George whooped as he gathered up the cards from the table again. "Another round?"
"Um, I think I'll take this one out, thanks," Harry grinned.
"Ah… fine then, alright, but you'll be missing out!" Fred warned jokingly.
"No, I'll be back in a little; I just need to find Ron and Hermione really quick."
"Oh, them--they're in the library, I expect. Hermione's been having heart attacks over the upcoming exams. Honestly, it's not as if they're really that important. They're only semester exams, not year end." George sniffed as his card exploded and Seamus gave a triumphant yell.
"Bloody Irish," Fred grumbled when Seamus did a little victory dance..
Harry laughed. "Well, see you guys in a little. Bye!"
"Bye, Harry!" Came the chorus of voices from all around the common room.
Harry had to walk around the library three times before he finally spotted Hermione tucked into a little corner in the back of the library.
"Hermione?" Harry said as he walked over. Hermione had her head in a book as usual. Harry wondered where Ron was for a second, but he decided it was just as well to talk to Hermione alone.
"Oh, Harry," Hermione smiled, putting down the book, "Didn't see you there."
"No, I didn't think you did." Harry said, "I wanted to ask you something though."
"Oh? And what would that be?"
Harry looked around for a second, at the chipped wood on the library tables and Hermione's slim, neat hands on the dusty volume labelled, 'Hogwarts, A History' in gold letters. Harry remembered how many times she'd gone over that book during their seventh year. It had all been a plan to build a barrier so strong as to protect Hogwarts, a plan that had worked for all the right purposes but in the end killed so many it was meant to protect in the beginning. It was ironic, really.
Harry sighed. He had no idea where to begin and so said the first thing that popped into his mind.
"Do you remember what happened…after the war?"
"After the war?" Hermione's brows crinkled. "The war, Harry, hasn't even started yet."
Harry frowned at this. "Yes, it has."
"No, it hasn't. Harry, are you sure you're feeling alright?" Hermione moved to get up, but Harry beckoned her back down.
"I'm fine." Harry said. "Are you sure you don't remember? You-You don't remember your marriage? Your children?"
Hermione shook her head slowly, watching Harry with a perplexed expression. "Um, Harry, I have no idea what you're talking about. Who did I marry? What children?"
"You don't remember Sonia? Louise?" Harry asked in an ever-growing tone of desperation. "When they were born--I was there, and Ron was so happy that he hit your vase of roses and spilled water all over you, remember?"
"Harry, what are you talking about? Please tell me," Hermione replied worriedly. "Are you sure you're feeling alright? Maybe we should go to Madame Pomfrey."
'Madame Pomfrey died in the Third Battle.'
"No," Harry growled, frustrated. He tugged on the strands of hair he had caught in his grip. "I just--you don't remember? How can you not remember? Don't you remember restoring Hogwarts after the Final Battle or how you got trapped or the burning or the Death Eaters?"
"Harry, please," Hermione tried reasoning with him, "None of that happened. Maybe you're just not feeling well. That must be it."
"No, that's not it!" Harry yelled. "How…How can you not know how you died?"
Hermione turned white.
"Harry…" she said slowly, as if with a wild animal. "I didn't die. I'm not dead."
"Yes, you are!" Harry found himself insisting. "You died when the castle burned and everyone was trapped inside! Your children Sonia and Louise--my goddaughters--were with you. You and Ron were there with a bunch of other people to help restore Hogwarts when we thought it was safe and--"
"--then the Death Eaters came and they put up the barrier spells that the teachers placed up, Hermione, back in seventh year when we were trying to keep the castle safe under the siege. And then they lit the castle on fire--"
"--Harry, that's not true! It's only sixth year!"
"--and everyone was trapped inside," Harry's voice had gotten louder, almost yelling as he talked over Hermione's frantic voice. "And you couldn't get out, no one could get out, and they never found Ron or Louise or Sonia, but they found you, Hermione! They said it was because the fire hadn't spread to you yet, so your body hadn't had time to burn--"
"--No, stop saying that!" Hermione shouted, putting her hands over her ears.
But Harry would not listen.
"You were still intact--you almost looked like you were sleeping, but you weren't, Hermione, because when I touched you, you were cold--you were dead, Hermione. You were dead!"
"NO!" Hermione screamed. Her eyes were filled with tears. Harry thought maybe he had gotten through to her, but when he looked, he was astonished to see she really didn't understand. She didn't remember. Oh, gods, she didn't know she was dead--no one here did…
Harry took one look at her watery, tawny eyes and whispered "I'm sorry" before he did the only thing he could think of--he ran.
He whipped through the library doors, past Madame Pince and the other students--dead students--who stared at him with puzzled expressions. He ran past the great doors of Hogwarts, through the stone hallways, and onto the grounds. Even the air there was too heavy, suddenly too fake, too innocent for him.
"Why doesn't anyone remember!" Harry choked to the skies when he had to stop for breath. 'If this was a dream,' he thought absentmindedly, 'I wouldn't have to be breathing, would I?'
No one answered him, and he flung his arms out, tilting his head back to shout, "What the hell did I do so wrong? Why did I have to be the one to fuck everything up? Why, God, if you're even there? Why would you let me suffer like this when I did nothing?"
"God can't answer you that." Came a voice to his right. "He's useless to us, a simple muggle Christian deity, same as the Romans and Greeks before them."
Harry knew instinctively who it was even before he turned around. Harry dropped his arms. He wasn't surprised with this reply from Draco; it was just so typical.
"Yeah?" Harry sneered. "Who can then? You? I don't think so."
"No," Draco shrugged. "I don't think anyone can answer you. I think that you just played the hand you were dealt with, nothing more and nothing less."
"But I should have been there," Harry snarled. "I should have been there."
"Why? What for?" Draco snapped. His cool demeanour vanished in an instant, so like his real self. "So you could die along with them? So you could feel better dying than living with your thoughts every minute of the fucking day?" Draco sneered as bitterly as Harry had. "How selfish can you get?"
"Selfish?" Harry blew up. "Selfish! Of all the fucking things --"
"Yes, selfish!" Draco's voice cracked as he shrieked at Harry. The veins stood out in his throat from the strain. "Selfish for not seeing that other people around you still loved you. Selfish for being blind to the fact that no matter how many times others tried, you just wouldn't let them in and just--"
Draco curled his fingers and let out a yell of frustration.
"--just let me fucking hold you! And tell me what was going on in your head! That was all I wanted, Harry, that was all. I just wanted you to trust me." Draco's dream self gasped for breath.
Harry was rooted to the spot as he saw the glistening tears glimmer along his eyelashes.
"Fuck, I…" Draco ran a hand through his hair distractedly as a few fat droplets slid down his face. "All I wanted was for you to love me back…just to love me back, and not push me away."
Harry's voice stuck in his throat, but he still managed to squeak out Draco's name. "Draco, I-I --"
"But you did," Draco interrupted, suddenly looking up at him with a forlorn expression. His eyes shone deep and glassy with a pain Harry had never seen before.
"You left me."
Harry shook his head and opened his mouth--to tell Draco he was the one who had left him, that he loved him and was sorry and would do anything to get him back--but even as he raised his hand towards his lover, he felt the real world crashing in.
Harry woke up…and cried.
The next morning, he went off to work early. He hadn't slept after he'd woken up. The anxiety over possibly more nightmares kept him awake through the wee hours of morning until he finally got out of bed at around five o'clock. He took the longest shower to date, trying to wash away the redness around his eyes from hours of endless, desperate crying.
His brain hurt, literally and figuratively, from the constant thoughts that ran through his mind. He couldn't seem to stem the stream of feelings that coursed through him. In the end, no matter how many ways he tried to cut it, he knew he had a decision to make, an ultimatum. Either find Draco and apologize and beg for them to work it back out, no matter how hard or impossible it may seem. Or do nothing, and slowly waste away. Harry wasn't being melodramatic; he knew for a fact that that's what would happen. If the drops in weight continued, it was inevitable that he'd just ultimately deteriorate into nothing.
By the time his afternoon break came around, he decided to find Draco.
Harry bit his lip nervously as he stood in front of the impressive 25-floor skyscraper, Draco's place of work. The endless rows of windows glinted at him almost threateningly. He gulped, then forced himself to walk up the three steps to the revolving door.
Once inside, Harry was almost at a loss of where to go, but eventually common sense protruded and told him to go to the receptionist desk.
"Er, excuse me?"
"Yes?" The female receptionist snapped, obviously busy and irritated at Harry for interrupting her constant stream of calls.
For a moment, Harry didn't know what to say but finally stuttered a reply.
"Uh, could you tell me whether Draco Malfoy is in?"
With an unnecessary huff of breath, Harry thought, the receptionist wheeled over to one of three computers and typed something so quickly Harry didn't have time to blink.
She came back over and said, "Yes, but he's currently in an executive meeting right now with the head of the financial board. You'll have to wait for him until it's over."
Harry didn't want to further irritate her, but he asked one last question.
"Sorry to interrupt you again, but would you happen to know when the meeting will be over?"
She didn't even have to stop taking calls as she snipped, "Two hours."
Harry sighed and backed away from the desk. Well, so much for a quick meeting. At this rate, he probably wouldn't get back to work until well after his lunch break was over, considering his break was only forty-five minutes long. Still, if he wanted to make this happen, he thought, he needed to do something, angry boss or not.
Hence, for the next hour or so, Harry sat on the stiff chrome chairs and waited. People bustled to and fro, all smartly dressed, and, like the woman Harry had seen the day before, carrying cell phones as surely as they were breathing. Harry smiled a bit as he contemplated this. Draco had always been the business type complete with five million calls a day and a beeper constantly going off, but he always found some time to set aside to spend with Harry.
Harry felt guilty as he thought about it. It wasn't that Harry worked more hours than Draco for the other man was often at work long after he was supposed to be off. However, looking back Harry saw that while Draco had actively sought him out when he'd had the time, Harry himself had rarely done the same thing. He often opted instead to go out with his co-workers for a drink or two, not even bothering to call Draco before he left.
Harry winced. What a right bastard he'd been. He just hoped Draco would be able to forgive him. He knew that it was a far-fetched idea, his going to apologize a month later, but he couldn't help holding onto the notion that Draco wouldn't turn him away. He just wanted to explain, thank Draco for everything he had done for him. Things he hadn't said that day, or the days before that either.
Harry knew that it wasn't just his gradual ignorance of Draco that had made everything mess up so badly, but of everything else including the drugs. Harry wasn't even sure how he'd gotten into that or why he'd felt the need when it was obvious he had something so much better in his life. But he wasn't going to blame it on the drugs themselves. He'd gotten himself into this, and he was going to do everything he could to get back out.
Finally, after glancing at the clock and finding out that two and a half hours had passed, Harry had enough and got up to go to the elevator. Harry had visited enough to know that Draco normally worked on the fifteenth floor. He just assumed he'd be there now, and by assuming Harry was actually just guessing at his wit's end.
He punched in the floor number when he got inside the elevator. There were already people getting off at various floors, but Harry was thankful to see that while the elevator was indeed full, it was by no means jam-packed.
A man in a black raincoat coughed uncomfortably close to Harry's ear. Harry bit his lip, wary of getting sick, and shuffled to the right. He was happy to see the man, along with several others, get off on the next stop.
Eventually, they got to the fifteenth floor. Harry gratefully stepped out and instantly rubbed his arms with a shudder. As much the same as his dislike for crowds, he abhorred being touched by people he didn't know.
When he moved, Harry almost bumped into a large urn filled with some green plant he had no inkling of the naming. He quickly rounded past it and made his way up the long hallway.
There were a large number of offices, and Harry hoped he remembered the number right. However, when he turned the corner to get to office number 173, he found there was no one there. The door wasn't locked, which meant Draco wasn't very far away, but the blond wasn't sitting in his office.
"Oh, bloody great…" he grumbled. "All this way and--"
Harry was cut off when he heard voices coming down the hall. He instantly recognized one of them as Draco's. Panicking, Harry quickly ducked back around the corner as two people came into view, Draco and another man.
"…a big great oaf, isn't he?" Draco laughed, obviously speaking to his companion.
Harry felt a brief flash of jealousy as Draco reached out and placed his hand on the other man's forearm.
The other man chuckled and flicked his perfect hair (as Harry noted) and said, "Yeah, but you should see him when he doesn't get to the flat in time. He near blows a gasket. I hate to be around him when he's like that."
Draco snorted. "No doubt. He's bad enough during visits." He rolled his eyes. "Honestly."
As Draco and the other man kept talking, Harry felt a sharp twinge in his belly. Draco seemed to be doing so fine without him. Watching his ex-lover laugh again, Harry wondered if his coming here was such a good idea or not.
With a despairing thought, Harry realised Draco looked happy without him. 'But then again, why wouldn't he?' Harry thought dejectedly. He'd always brought Draco down, kept him where he could leash him in. Again Harry questioned the ingenuity of this whole trip.
Harry's attention was brought back to the present as he heard the two men exchange goodbyes.
"…and tell him too." Draco smiled as he said goodbye.
"I will," the other man said.
Instead of walking off, the man leaned down and kissed Draco's cheek. He leaned back again and smiled.
"I'll see you."
Harry didn't even bothering watching anymore as he ran back to the elevator. He couldn't believe what he'd just seen, but he couldn't deny it either.
Harry just barely managed to keep his tears in check before he got back to his flat. He slammed the door shut, not bothering to lock it. He slid down the smooth wood and let his head fall onto his knees. The sobs that wracked his frame were violent.
'He's over me,' Harry thought, 'He doesn't love me anymore. He's already got someone else in my place. A month--a fucking month. That was it…that was all it took. A month for him to forget about me.'
"Goddamnit!" he shrieked. He was angry at both Draco and himself but mostly at himself for being so stupid. Why hadn't he gone before? Why hadn't he just been a man and fucking apologized? He was unbelievably furious but he wouldn't--couldn't--do anything about it. He wanted to hit walls and pound the floor until his hands broke and bled but he didn't.
"Don't you judge me."
"Judge you? I'm not fucking judging you, Harry! I'm trying to help you!"
His hands were fisted in his hair, bringing even more tears to the already colossal onslot. Of all the things he expected from the trip to Draco's workplace, this was not one of them. Then again, how had he not considered the possibility of this happening? But he already knew the answer. Because he didn't want to face the chance that Draco had stopped loving him. It was his worst dream, his worst nightmare, and now because of his own doing, it was his reality.
"I fucking can't stand this!"
"Do you do it to get away from your memories, Potter? Or am I just not enough for you anymore?"
"Oh, gods, Draco…" Harry whimpered thickly through his tears. "Why? Why did you have to do this?"
"That's what this is about, isn't it?"
"No, no, I didn't mean it," Harry moaned. "I didn't mean it…"
He collapsed in a heap, his back leaving the door as he curled up into a ball. His arm was smashed against the cold stone tiles, but he didn't care. He didn't care how he looked or what anyone thought of him except for one person, and he had taken too long to see that.
He'd already lost his chance, and now another man was touching Draco, hearing his beautiful laugh, watching the small smile he always had when he was dreaming, feeling his tight warmth squeeze him, and Draco was calling his name and not Harry's. The worst part was it was all his fault.
"You left me."
The flat was quiet.
It was raining again, like it had been for about three days now. But that was fine with Harry; it suited his mood. He was sprawled out on the unmade bed, eyes staring blankly at the ceiling. The room around him was in disarray: the sheets were tangled and sweaty, his clothes were strewn about in random piles, all of them dirty or at least looking like it. The blinds were shut against the faintest sunlight. The only reason he knew it was raining was from the sound.
He hadn't eaten since…he didn't even know when. An upside was that his stomach didn't hurt anymore, but maybe that was just because it too had given up on him and stopped sending useless signals to his brain. That was fine with him. He didn't care to be in any more pain than he already was.
One thing that was as perpetual as his thoughts was that of a throbbing headache just behind his eyes, which was why he'd shut the shades. That, and because he was tired of seeing happy people and bright skies flooding his world. True, at one time Harry would have scorned his behaviour, thought it ridiculous and overemotional, but this time was different. This time he really knew something.
He blinked dry, unseeing eyes as he thought about how he had been so sure of himself, such a cocky goddamned bastard. He'd never even thought to look at what he'd had laying right there underneath him, beside him, asking him what was wrong. He'd been too blind and stubborn to just acknowledge that. Draco had been such a solid fucking backup that he'd never noticed what was missing until Draco finally decided that being number two just wasn't enough. Harry shoved Draco back and out of his life until he wasn't the centre of it, where he was supposed to be. Gods, when had he become so stupid?
After a while, Harry finally gave into an incessant need and went to the loo to relieve himself. Washing his hands, Harry caught a glance of himself and froze. Brushing his hair out of his eyes, he studied his face as if he'd never seen himself before.
In the dim half-light, his skin looked sick and pale, almost pasty. Under his feverishly glittering eyes, there were matching sunken holes. The skin surrounding his eyes was as dark as a purple bruise. Backing up slightly from the counter, Harry could see the real amount of weight he'd lost in the past weeks. His hipbones, while usually sticking out just a tad, were now like mountains above the flat plane of his abdomen.
He dropped his eyes to his hands. Draco had always loved his hands. The blond was constantly twirling his fingers, twining them in between his own. Draco had once said that Harry's hands showed everything he was. Harry didn't know what he meant before, but all he saw now were calluses.
"Ah, but calluses show your strength." Came a familiar voice in Harry's head. Draco's voice.
A snort. "Sure, as if you can talk. Your hands are as smooth as a baby's bottom."
Wry smile. "True, but not all calluses are on your skin. Some form deeper than that."
Harry stood in front of his mirror for a long time mulling that cryptic comment over and over in his mind. Then he shook his head.
"What am I doing?" Harry said out loud.
What was he? A bastard, yes, a bundle of mistakes, yes, but he was not a coward. Of all the things he was, a coward was not one of them. And what he was doing--this self-induced pity, this bloody excuse for wasting away--that was cowardly. Cowardly and low. He needed to face everything first, even if it hurt as much as it was bound to. He owed Draco at least that.
Harry shoved himself away from the counter in sudden selfless decision, took a shower, and started to plan.
Draco may not want him anymore, but he owed him an apology, and an apology was what he was determined to give.
The next time Harry walked into Draco's work, he understood the mechanics a little better.
From what Harry could remember, Draco didn't come in to work until at least nine o'clock on Fridays. All the same, if he was going to be able to pull this off, he had to do it quick.
He swung past the early crowd of people walking through the lobby. A woman bumped into him and said a quick "Sorry" that Harry barely caught. He headed towards the sign that said 'Lavatories' and pushed in the door.
Luckily there was no one in either the stalls or by the urinals, or else Harry would have had to resort to memory charms. It was almost deadly quiet here, Harry noted. He sighed. Well, it would be easier this way; at least he'd be able to hear if anyone came in. It would only take a moment anyway.
"Resemblus Morphium," Harry murmured, aiming his wand at himself.
It was a strange feeling, this spell. Created by Professor McGonagoll just before she'd been killed, it worked just like the Polyjuice Potion. This created somewhat of an uproar when it leaked out to the Death Eaters but the benefits of being able to spy so effortlessly made it worth the while. Of course, it was too new and untested for it to work for long periods of time, lasting about twenty minutes at the most. However, for what Harry needed, it would work perfectly.
When Harry opened his eyes, it was to see the spitting image of Draco staring back at him in the mirror.
He blinked, watching the little curl of his faint eyelashes to the same. A pale strand of silky hair fell in his eyes. He smirked.
He straightened his black turtleneck and grey slacks, making sure to preen his hair the same way that Draco favoured. He practised the cool look Draco gave to his subordinates a few times, and it came to him with relative ease.
Harry took a deep breath just when he laid his hand on the doorknob. As he jerked it open, he thought, 'Well, so far, so good.'
"Can I help you, Mr. Malfoy?"
At first, Harry was surprised to be called that, then realised he did look just like Draco, after all. The blonde desk attendant closely resembled the other woman who worked there, and he wondered briefly if they all had the same beach blonde shade in hair colour. And how the hell did they all know Draco. But then again, who didn't? Draco was rapidly becoming one of the most sought-after lawyers in all of muggle and wizarding England.
"Yes," Harry cleared his throat, looked over at the woman, and assumed what he had dubbed Draco's 'ice mask.'
"I'm going to be receiving some documents from the…"
Harry stumbled as he tried to think of something that would sound believable.
He caught sight of a pamphlet in one of the plastic holders on the desk.
"--transportation and regulations, and I need to check my current address as I moved recently."
Hah, well, it was true enough. Draco had moved somewhere.
"Oh, of course." The blonde looked down at the laptop on the desk for a second, typed something, and then said, "The address specified here is 17 Lintonhouse Building, London, LO7 S52. Is that the correct one or should I…?"
"Oh, no," Harry answered quickly, mentally imprinting the address in his mind. "That's it. Thank you." He nodded.
The receptionist smiled warmly. Harry decided she was a lot better with her people skills than the other one who had been there when he'd first come.
It took Harry relatively little time to locate the flat amongst the other buildings along the street. The building was a tall, red-brick establishment with just a little area out front that served as a yard. The neighbourhood it was in wasn't exactly what Harry would call the crème de la crème; it was more a busy district than anything. It didn't seem like the type of place Draco would go for, but then again perhaps that too had changed while he wasn't looking.
Harry took a deep breath and forced his legs up the small, narrow sidewalk to the twin steel doors that led into the building. He heard a dog barking distantly among the sounds of cars honking along the freeway. He didn't realise he was shaking until he raised his hand to press the buzzer for (what he desperately hoped was) Draco's flat.
He waited in silence for a few moments until a confident, incredibly familiar voice spoke up.
It wasn't Draco, but it was a man. Harry would know that voice anywhere. It was Oliver-fucking-Wood.
Harry had to stop himself from pummelling his fist into the call box in anger, but he just managed to control himself enough to disguise his voice and ground out, "I'm here with a package for a Mr. Draco Malfoy. Is he available?"
There was a static noise, then the sound of Oliver's lowered voice speaking with someone else. He just barely caught the "…sure, babe," before he stuffed his fist in his mouth and bit down hard enough to draw blood, forcing himself to stay quiet.
"Uh, yeah, come on up," Oliver said in his annoyingly cocky, goddamned, mother-fucking voice. No matter what happened, Harry was going to beat that fuckwit until he begged for St. Mungo's. Draco's ex-boyfriend, boyfriend (Harry fought off a pang), fuck-toy, Harry didn't care. Oliver Wood was going down.
Harry wretched open the door as soon as the buzzer went off to unlock it. The inside of the building was rather drab, but hell, if it was Oliver Wood's apartment, no fucking wonder. That man had no style, nor domestic taste, and that was saying a lot coming from Harry, possibly the most obtuse gay man this side of the Channel when it came to fashion.
Harry found out that the lift wasn't working--no surprise there, he thought viciously--so he all but ran up the three flights of stairs to the flat. His rage was slow-burning, like the Furia Potion he had taken at one point during the last battle to give him the strength to fight.
However, when he was finally faced with the door, Harry's courage decided at that point to turn on its tail and bolt.
Harry gulped as he stared at the shiny brass numbers proclaiming the flat to be number 17. He cursed his so-called unfailing Gryffindor courage. He'd much rather have been a Slytherin.
Finally, he could put it off no longer, and so with baited breath, he knocked on the door and waited for a response.
He waited impatiently for a few minutes, then knocked again, louder this time. When the door still didn't open, Harry gritted his teeth and all but pounded the damn thing down.
"All right, all right, hold your bloody horses!" Oliver yelled from inside the flat.
Obviously the fool didn't even think to look out the peephole to see who it was, because he all but had a heart attack when he opened the door.
He was still pulling his fucking shirt on--why did he not have his shirt on? What had they been doing? Harry thought he knew from the rumpled look on Oliver's face. His hair was ruffled to the point where he might as well have gotten a sign that pointed to him saying 'I just got the SHAG OF MY LIFE!' in big, bright, neon red letters.
Harry felt something dripping down his palm from where his fingernails were digging into his skin. He didn't have to look down to know it was blood. He hoped it stained the fucking carpet so bad that Wood had to pay for it.
"Oh…H-Harry," Oliver stuttered.
"Obviously weren't expecting me, were you?" Harry snarled, barely containing his rage.
"No, you what?" Harry sneered. He just itching to rearrange Oliver's face into a whole new, much less attractive one.
Oliver shook his head. "I just--"
The rest of his reply was cut off with the soft words, "Oliver? Who is that?"
Harry shivered at the familiar, mellifluous voice and jerked his head up to see Draco stroll into the hallway leading to the door and stop mid-step. It made Harry see red to see that Draco was in a similar state of undress to Oliver.
"Harry?" Draco said disbelievingly. His grey eyes were wide as he had to put out a hand to the wall to steady himself slightly.
"Yours truly," Harry said, with just a hint of anger underlying his words.
"What-what are you doing here?"
Harry opened his mouth to tell him exactly why he was there, but then he caught sight of Oliver watching them avidly.
Instead, he just said, "We need to talk."
At this, Draco almost scoffed. Apparently he had gotten over his shock. "Talk, Potter? About what? You told me yourself we were over."
Harry almost snapped back with a retort that would have fucked up any chances he had, but then Oliver interrupted him.
"Er, maybe you guys should work it out a little. It might…help, you know?" Oliver said nervously.
Harry stared at him incredulously. Unbeknownst to him, Draco was doing the same.
"Just, I think you two really do need to talk some things over." Oliver shrugged, then started to back up again. "I'll be in the kitchen making some tea if you want any."
'Tea--the National Way to Deal with Stress,' Harry thought wryly. The tension in the small little corridor was enough to strangle all three of them.
Draco finally spoke after a moment, but didn't stop looking at Harry with an unreadable look in his eyes. "Fine. We'll talk." He turned around and motioned behind him. "Follow me."
Harry couldn't help but stare at Draco as he led him down a short hallway and into what must have been the sitting room or living room. They were almost the same anyway. He watched that lithe body move under his finely tailored and, more often than not, black clothes. Harry had forgotten how beautiful he really was. How delicate.
Draco turned around and motioned for him to sit in one of the chairs. Harry watched the muscles that made up his stony mask.
"So, Potter, what was it you wanted to 'talk about'?" Draco said once they'd both settled down.
Harry took a deep breath and then let it out slowly. Where to begin?
"It was only that once, you know."
Okay, yeah, not the best place to start. He winced as he saw the look on Draco's face turn from stony to stormy.
"Do you think that's all I cared about, Potter?" Draco raged. "I couldn't give a flying fuck about that right about now."
"I know, I just meant--"
"Just meant what, Potter? What explanations do you have for me now?" Draco attacked Harry verbally. The icy look on his face never once wavered. If anything, it got colder.
"I don't want to give you explanations!" Harry cried. "I'm trying to tell you the truth, okay? I'm sorry, alright!"
Draco leaned back and crossed his arms. "I don't believe you. How many times have you told me that before, huh?"
"But I really mean it this time, Draco, I swear," Harry said, growing desperate. Even the thoughts of Oliver left his mind. "What else do you want me to do? Will you at least let me explain?"
"Don't call me Draco, Potter," Draco sneered. Harry winced when he heard his surname.
"Dra--Malfoy," Harry gulped. His eyes were burning from the angry tears he absolutely would not shed. "Please, please just let me try and explain."
Draco shook his head, but Harry went on.
"I'm not looking for you to…to take me back, but I just want to have the chance to apologize. Please, Draco. I'm trying to tell you the truth."
Draco was silent for a moment, then said in a deathly cold voice, "The truth, yeah? Well, how about this--I left you. Fucking deal with it. You didn't care enough then, and you're just realizing now." He shook his head.
Harry felt his defences breaking down finally from all the stress and shit that had been building up in him since he could remember, especially since Draco had left him. His eyes were shiny with unshed tears, but he refused to let Draco see him cry. Not right now. Maybe he was right…after all, he had taken so long, hadn't he? And here Draco was--with a new partner. Harry closed his eyes tightly. Someone who loved him and treated him better than Harry had. Goddamn, what had ever made him think he could possibly measure up again?
Harry knew the silence was stretching long past the seconds he should have used to reply, but his mind was too muddled to deal with it right now. Memories flashed past his brain in a blur of laughter, moans, and tears. But the one that stayed in front of him even when he opened his eyes was that of the look on Draco's face in his dream. That one that told him he was too late. That he had left Draco. Harry realized it was true.
He wanted to glance up at Draco to see his face, but his vision was so blurry now that he knew if he lifted his head, tears were sure to fall. So he kept his eyes glued to the floor as he spoke quietly.
"From the first time I met you, I hated you. Hated you with a passion that ran deep to my core. Even when you were doing nothing, I'd want to punch you in the face just for being there. I'd watch you in the hallways back at Hogwarts when you walked like you owned the place, long before we'd even hit puberty. I could never understand quite why I felt such an intense emotion towards you, but I did. Especially after my godfather died, I blamed you for my problems. I don't think I even hated Voldemort as much as I hated you, at least not in the same way. I despised Voldemort enough to kill him, but you…" Harry shook his head lightly. "You, I couldn't get out of my head even if I tried. And believe me, I did.
"When you went missing sixth year, I thought I would be overjoyed. Instead I was surprised, you know, because it was suddenly like I was missing something so vital to me, like a huge part of myself was gone. I realized it was you. Of course, I'd never have admitted that to myself: I told myself that I missed the mindless taunts, the stupid, childish games, the heated fights….But it was more than that, and I knew it.
"The months you were away became years, and gradually I hardened. Forced myself to forget about you. I had to," Harry shrugged, "in order to fight. But no matter what I told myself, I was scared to death of facing you on the battlefield, because I knew if I had to duel you, I would lay down my wand without a fight and bloody well beg you to kill me because I'd rather have you kill me than anyone else. I didn't care what the rest of the world thought. I just wanted to get it over with.
"But I never did see you at the Final Battle, nor at any battle before that. Couldn't quite figure that one out; just thought that Voldemort had punished you or something of the sort. Maybe you had vanished off the face of the earth for all I knew. I just couldn't force myself to think that maybe you were dead, as dead as Dumbledore and my parents and Cedric and Sirius and half of the students and Aurors alongside the Light were. Even then, I clung to your memory like a dying man. It got me through, though, got me through that bloody, horrid war. Because I couldn't stop thinking even then that if I could just find you, it would be alright."
Harry had to close his eyes and grit his teeth as he poured out his secrets, his thoughts. Everything he had never said, even to himself. And through it all, Draco was silent.
"I finally did find you, hiding out in a tiny flat on the edge of London. You were practically broke; Gringotts had frozen your assets, and you were living on almost nothing. You wanted nothing to do with me but I wouldn't leave you alone. Finally, after weeks of my pestering, you spoke to me. For the first time, without insults or sneering remarks. Just, really talked to me. It was then that I understood.
Harry shook his head.
"I didn't hate you--I loved you. Loved you ever since I laid eyes on you at eleven years old. You were the first real wizard I'd met, you know, at least once I knew I was a wizard myself. I still remember thinking, 'Wow, I wonder if they're all this beautiful.' But it was just you, just you who managed to stand out in the crowd like you'd been meant to since the day you were born. I finally understood why I always noticed you first in a room. That you were more than I'd ever dreamed.''
Harry smiled tenderly, revelling in the memory. Tears had started rolling slowly down his face, but it no longer mattered. He was getting so lost in his thoughts that he was barely even aware he was talking to Draco anymore.
"It was like living in a dream, being with you. You were my very own piece of heaven--spiced a bit wicked, of course. I felt like I was high all the time, even though I was sober. Falling in love was just like everyone always said. Then something happened, a mistake that I can't believe I made. I stopped talking to you. I stopped sharing my secrets and what was in my head with the one person who could help me, who I would let help me. It's stupid, right? I had the perfect person right there, and I threw it all away because I was too blind to see it."
Now, the tears were flowing freely, but Harry couldn't care less. His fists were clenched tight against his pant legs, but he had to get this out once and for all.
He smiled bitterly as he said, "I guess-I guess maybe I deserve this, right? Maybe this is all my fault. Now you're here; you've moved on with someone else, and I'm just holding you back again. I know that we're over, I know this. But I had to let you know what I didn't say before, what I was too scared and goddamned stubborn to say. I-I hope that you're happy now. As much as I want you, I want you to be happy even more. And if --"
Harry screwed his eyes shut again.
"--If you're happier without me, then I'll leave….All I wanted you to know is the truth."
Nothing met him but silence. Though only a few short minutes in reality, it felt like a lifetime of agony to Harry. Finally, when he could take it no longer, he opened his eyes to see Draco staring at him with his mouth open, shocked. Harry felt his gut wrench, and a new batch of tears made its way to his eyes at the blond's silence.
He stood up quickly, his world a tilt of fuzzy grey, and whispered in a choked voice, "I'm sorry, Draco…"He turned to leave. Draco didn't say a word to stop him. It was like he wasn't even there at all.
Harry couldn't contain his sobs any longer than the second after he'd left the room. He thought he saw Oliver standing in the kitchen when he passed, but he couldn't tell. All he wanted to do was get out of the flat before he completely broke down.
The tears that were streaming down his face and wetting his neck and shirt collar by the time he slammed the door shut were like a flood of rain that just wouldn't stop. He was all but running to get out of the corridor.
The twenty-six year old choked back a painful sob as he rounded the corner to the stairwell. He collapsed on the top step with his head in his heads. He couldn't make it anymore without letting some of it out. It just hurt so much. Hurt too much. The straight lines on the peeling wallpaper in the stairwell were crooked in his eyes, and he closed them.
'Just let him go. You did the right thing, Harry. You did the right thing.'
Harry chanted this mantra to himself to try and calm down. It didn't work as well as he'd liked it to have. His weeping was so loud that he thought he was imagining things when he first heard Draco's voice.
"Harry! Harry, wait!"
"Oh, god, please don't make me go crazy too…" Harry moaned, clutching his head.
"Harry! Where are you?"
It took him a few moments to realize that the voice was getting nearer. He didn't want to believe it though. 'It can't be true,' he told himself, 'I'm dreaming. Fucking Christ, I'm hallucinating. So much for doing the right thing.'
The door to the stairwell wretched open, flinging light on his trembling form huddled on the stair.
Harry turned his head to see a blurred Draco standing in the doorway. His mouth dropped in shock, or tried to, but his crying was so pronounced that he couldn't.
Draco stood there for a few moments but flashed into motion when he heard Harry's barely whispered, "Draco…"
"Oh, god, baby, I'm so sorry."
Draco bit his lip as he fell to his knees at Harry's side. He tried to tug Harry close in his arms, but Harry pushed him away. Merlin, Harry wanted to sink into that embrace, but he just couldn't. He kept flashing back to the obvious relationship between Oliver and Draco.
"N-no," Harry hiccupped, his eyes wide, watery, and bloodshot. "Y-you're w-with Oliver n-now."
"What?" Draco asked confusedly. "No, I'm not."
"Don't l-lie to m-me. I s-saw you with some m-man and with Oliver."
"Baby, no," Draco said with concern shining in his eyes. "I'm not with Oliver. We're just friends, I swear it."
Harry refused to back down. "Then w-what about the guy at your work?"
"The man at work…wait--you mean Blake?" Draco asked, understanding dawning in his eyes. "Oh, no, no! Blake is Oliver's boyfriend. We'd just gotten back from the tennis court and were changing to wait for Blake to get home."
"W-what?" Harry didn't dare believe the words coming out of Draco's mouth.
He wasn't with Oliver? Or this Blake? Then he must be--
"I'm with you, Harry," Draco finished Harry's thought. He pulled Harry close to him, and this time Harry didn't resist. He collapsed into that snug embrace, that enveloping hug he'd missed for so long. His tears started anew as he breathed deep of Draco's scent, a scent of warm baby powder that he didn't think he'd ever smell again.
Finally, he came back to himself enough to hear Draco saying, "I love you, Harry. Gods, I love you. Please don't leave, please. I just want you back."
Harry bit back a sob and whimpered, "I won't ever leave you."
Draco's tears mingled with Harry's own on the side of his neck as Harry pulled Draco close. Draco's mouth was right next to his ear when he said, "I've missed you so much, love. I can't believe you're finally here."
"Neither can I," Harry whispered. "I'm sorry about what I did."
"Ssh, no, I'm sorry." Harry shook his head, but Draco stopped him with a firm hand on his chin that forced him to look into his eyes. "I'm sorry, Harry. I'm not saying that what you did was right--it wasn't--but I shouldn't have left like that. I was blindsided by hurt and my own goddamned pride, but I promise I won't ever do that again."
Draco pressed his lips to Harry's gently.
"I love you too much to," he finished tenderly. This time he was the one choking.
Harry wiped the tears off Draco's cheeks and planted tiny kisses along the damp smears before coming to rest on his beautifully succulent mouth. He tasted like life, something which Harry desperately needed. Draco was his life.
There were no words for what Harry felt for Draco, just as there were no words Draco could say to make Harry know the same about him. But they found they didn't need any as they sat there for what seemed like forever clutching at each other. Deep breaths were taken to re-familiarize and stabilize their minds. Harry's hand wrapped around Draco's, squeezing tight enough to grind bones, but Draco didn't complain.
Indeed, they could have stayed there forever, spent eternity on that little step.
The moonlight shining on the bed so reminded Harry of the nights he'd spent without Draco, now nearly a year and a half ago. The summer breeze floating through their open bedroom window was cool and gentle, making the semi-sheer curtain flap and dance in the air.
Harry turned on his side and smiled softly when he felt Draco shiver beside him. He pulled the nude blond tight, spooning him against his own unclothed body, and tugged the lightweight sheet over them. The night dyed Draco's nearly translucent skin an enigmatic shade of blue, as if he were sleeping underwater. The sight of Draco laying asleep so innocently stole Harry's breath away.
He didn't look away from him as he mulled over his thoughts. He'd dreamt of the times before he'd confessed to Draco and won him back. They weren't nightmares though--just snippets of memory that could do him no harm. He didn't dream of the Last Attack anymore, and he doubted he ever would again. Now, when he thought of it, he just felt an odd sort of peace that he'd never felt before but was quickly growing accustomed to.
He and Draco barely fought anymore, and if they did, they made up almost immediately. They'd both been hurt too much to let each other slip away over something so trivial. Harry hadn't touched alcohol or drugs since Draco and he had had their break-up fight, and he knew he never would again. He'd learned his lesson well. They both had.
Harry traced Draco's jaw line with the tip of his finger as he thought about the happy times after they'd gotten back together for good. They'd decided to move out of Harry's old flat and were currently living in a small house just on the outskirts of London, almost exactly where Harry had originally found Draco after the war had been over. It was out far enough from the city to give them some privacy, but not too far for Draco to drive when he needed to go to work.
To Harry's surprise, Draco had reduced his work time to less than half of what he had before. Harry had nagged him about it, saying that Draco wasn't 'living up to his potential,' but Draco had silenced him saying, "All I want, I have right here in my arms."
Draco snuggled closer to Harry, and Harry held his breath but Draco didn't wake up. Not that he didn't want him to, of course; he just loved watching him like this. In the flushing peak of night, Harry could find his peace and thank the gods over and over again for the wondrous love of his life that was Draco Malfoy.
As the crickets chirped lazily outside and the fragrant night air passed over him, Harry circled his arms around Draco and smiled into the soft, downy hair at the nape of his neck. Draco gave a small, contented sigh and Harry tightened his embrace.
A lone car was gliding through the night with booming bass. The headlights splashed briefly on the white bedroom walls. Harry caught the words "…I wanna make it last forever" floating from the windows of the passing car. He couldn't help but agree as he drifted back off to sleep.
I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that's real
The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything
What have I become
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know goes away
In the end
And you could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt
I wear this crown of thorns
Upon my liar's chair
Full of broken thoughts
I cannot repair
Beneath the stains of time
The feelings disappear
You are someone else
I am still right here
What have I become
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know goes away
In the end
And you could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt
If I could start again
A million miles away
I would keep myself
I would find a way