Inside your Mind
Warnings: it's SLASH that means m/m love, don't like don't read
Disclaimer: i own nothing, that tribute sadly goes to J., and am not making money in any way by writing this
A/N.: hello everyone! aren't i good? i can't remember when i last posted so close to my last update! but what can i say - i'm proper in the flow at the moment. i'm even writing another story alongside this one - the new Star Trek movie as really got me and managed to morph me into a Trekkie. Spock and Jim are simply too hot! lol
so anyway, back to Harry. i had no one else go over the chapter except for myself, which means there will prb be some mistakes in it - sorry! i just thought you might appreciate it if i simply post it now with some mistakes rather than tomorrow without any :)!
i must say everything is progressing quite smoothly and more action is to follow soon now that the in-between bits have all been covered. i promise i'll do my best to update again soon!
once again THANK YOU to all my reviewers! i'm so glad you like it, it means a lot to me.
sky-sun-neighbor: you'll just have to see if your suspicions are correct ;). as to names that are stated first being dominant: as far as i know it matters little which name stands on what side. at least that's the way i always treated it...
sexy fox 101: lol, some very creative ideas for the outcome of this story, i see. too bad i can't answer any of them. you'll just have to wait and see ;).
Cailleac: i'm so flattered that it's my story that made you into a Tom/Harry shipper! glad you like it so much! as to your questions: 1) don't worry, you'll find out who Shadow and her servant are in this story. pretty soon actually ;). 2) there are only a few chapters left till this is over. i'm very bad at estimating ow long sth i write will be cause i'm always influenced by a lot of things, mainly my mood and how my ideas transfer into the story. i honestly envy the writers who, for example, manage to always make their chapters the same length...anyway, i should say there are about 4 chapters left. 5) well technically my boyfriend is my beta (he's british) but sometimes he doesn't have the time or isn't in the mood to proof-read, as it was the case today... i just think having another beta would really slow me down and seeing as i'm not the fastest of writers (sheepish grin) i think it's best to just bow my head in shame in the face of my mistakes and be done with it, lol! -and you remembered correctly, my first language is not english. i live in vienna, but was born in greece :). hope that the info was satisfactory and you'll stick with me for the last few chapters!
Darkness had long fallen over Hogwarts, the trees outside swaying slightly in the breeze as the moon, which was reflected in the lake, shone on the wet grounds.
Tom's even breathing from the bed did little to calm his troubled mind. Time was running out, but he was still no closer to a decision than he had been hours ago. What Sirius had told him earlier today- or make that yesterday, seeing as it was already well into the morning- had thrown him completely off guard. He had expected to simply get more detailed information of what the invocation of his powers entailed, before Sirius would help him to successfully awaken it.
Of course fate had spit him in the face once more. Instead of being able to follow the path already laid out for him, Harry was standing in front of another crossroads. He could- no he actually had to choose what to do. Once again the whole weight of the wizarding world lay on his shoulders, only this time...
His eyes wandered over to the bed again, taking Tom's still form in. The Slytherin was still exhausted, Harry knew. For Tom to sleep through the night so restlessly and soundly was a clear sign how much strain travelling into the mirror-world had put on the other boy.
Sighing, Harry turned his eyes back to the window. As much as he just wanted to cuddle up to Tom under the warm covers, he needed to make a decision. Tonight.
"I'll do it."
Sirius head snapped up, the grasp he had on the book he was currently reading slackened and it slipped from his hands, making a dull thud as it connected with the rug on the floor.
Harry breathed in deeply and straightened up further, his spine almost as stiff as Tom's usually was when in the presence of anyone but him.
"I said: I'll do it.", Harry repeated, "I want to invoke the power, Sirius."
Sirius still looked completely caught of guard. In an obvious action to buy himself some time, his godfather retrieved the fallen book and placed it on the table in front of him.
It was sometime after nine and Snape was holding his morning classes, leaving Sirius to do as he pleased, which was obviously disregarding the Potions Master's orders. Snape had told him more than once, that it would be best if Sirius stayed in his Animagus form as much as possible. The head of Slytherin should have known what Sirius would think about orders from his archenemy.
"When I said you should think about it Harry, I actually meant longer than one night.", Sirius said slowly.
Harry's whole posture slumped as the sleep deprivation caught up with him. Making his way over to the sofa his godfather was currently occupying, Harry let himself fall onto the empty space next to him.
"I know that, Sirius.", he said quietly, "But there is no time. I've thought thoroughly about this, one night or not, and I think if there is even the slightest chance of defeating Voldemort, then it's worth it."
Rubbing his eyes, Sirius suddenly looked older than Harry remembered. He was too thin and looked stressed. Haunted even. Which was probably not surprising, given the current circumstances.
Startled, Harry's eyes snapped back to his godfather's blue ones.
"Alright?", he echoed in disbelieve.
Given the serious discussion they had had about this topic only yesterday, Harry had come down here steeled for an argument. The sudden compliance of his usually rebellious godfather left him utterly stunned.
Sirius' eyes were solemn as he placed a gentle hand on the boy's shoulder, giving it a soft squeeze.
"Of course it's alright, Harry.", he said gently, "I admit that I'm still anything but fond of the idea, but this is a decision that is entirely yours. As the key I have to follow some ground-rules, the most important one being not to influence you. So if you tell me you really want this, I have to comply. So,…is this truly what you want?"
Harry sat up straight, covering the hand on his shoulder with one of his own.
When Harry returned to their room, Tom had finally woken up. The other boy looked much better than the day before, Harry observed with relief. He was still in bed, though sitting upright, a book lying in his lap.
Harry had difficulty reining in the flood of affection that flooded him.
Approaching the bed, he was careful not to tip the mattress too violently as he sat down next to the Slytherin.
Tom's attention had shifted from the book to him as soon as he had entered and, in familiar fashion, he marked the page and cast it aside.
"How are you feeling?", Harry asked softly, reaching for Tom's hand.
The other boy closed his own fingers around his and gave them a gentle squeeze.
"Better.", he said quietly, sincerely.
The Slytherin's gaze was locked with his own and Harry suddenly couldn't resist the urge to lean in and kiss the other boy.
Tom's lips were warm and pliant under his own, the hand that was currently not engaged, coming up to tangle in Harry's unruly hair.
What was meant to be a brief show of affection, turned into a rather passionate kiss as Tom opened his mouth to invite Harry's tongue.
Sinking down on top of the taller boy, Harry was careful not to crush him. He knew that Tom was still not fully back to normal.
The other boy, however, seemed determined to ignore the fact that he had almost lost his live and was still recovering, because he wound his arms around Harry, trying to get the Gryffindor's full weight pressing him into the mattress.
Gently, Harry drew back from the kiss, his hands caressing Tom's face gently.
"Tom", he chided gently, knowing that the other boy would understand what he was getting at.
Tom rolled his eyes, but relaxed back into the pillows and stopped pushing the issue.
"I won't break, you know.", he muttered, brushing the fringe from Harry's forehead.
"You are still recovering.", Harry retorted firmly, shifting his body so he was lying beside rather than on top of the Slytherin.
"I didn't sustain any physical injuries, Harry.", Tom interjected gently, embracing Harry as the smaller boy curled into him, "I was merely drained of energy."
The Gryffindor's fingers curled into the material of Tom's pyjamas as he buried his head in the other boy's neck, melding their bodies together.
"I nearly lost you.", Harry mumbled faintly, not really sure if Tom had actually heard him.
Wordlessly, Tom's hold on him tightened and Harry could feel the other boy's lips pressing into his hair, a hand caressing his neck, while the other lay flat on his lower back, holding him securely.
How Harry had missed this. It seemed so long since he had time to simply lie like this with him.
For several minutes, nothing was said between them. The silence a relaxing contrast to the tumult that their lives had been lately. Tom's breathing was even and Harry could feel, and hear, their hearts beating in unison.
It was such a faint, simple sound, Harry mused, but still it could fill him with such an amount of calm. It was the sound of live. The proof that Tom was well and with him. In moments like these, Harry could hardly bring himself to believe that there was anything else that mattered.
"Did you talk to your godfather?"
The question was quiet and unobtrusive, yet it brought Harry out of the bubble he had been in for the last few minutes.
Sighing, he shifted in order to be able to look into Tom's eyes. Their embrace, however, remained.
"Yes.", Harry said slowly, "I told him I would do it."
Tom tensed slightly, the caresses on Harry's neck faltering before resuming their previous rhythm.
"You know I don't like this.", he said quietly, but firmly, "If I would have known the details before, I would never have suggested that you should invoke your family power."
Harry closed his eyes briefly, he could already feel the peace of he moment slipping through his hands and there was nothing he could do to stop it.
"I know, Tom.", was all he said, his gaze having slipped down to the collar of Tom's pyjamas, watching his own fingers playing with the top buttons.
He was momentarily distracted by the creamy skin that was now clearly visible. Not able to suppress the urge, Harry's fingers slipped under the collar and sought it out. Tom's chest was warm and smooth underneath his fingertips and he longed to press his lips to it.
The hand that had been resting on his back suddenly covered his own hands, cutting the exploration short.
Letting out a somewhat frustrated breath, Harry rejoined the conversation.
"I am not thrilled myself, but, just like I told Sirius, if there is a small chance in this helping us defeating Voldemort, I am gladly taking the risk.", his voice sounded tight even to his own ears, "I'm tired of this shit, Tom. I want this all to be over. I want my life back and what I want even more than that is to finally be able to have a life with you."
Tom didn't answer him verbally, but instead pressed a soft, sweet kiss to his lips, their emotions melding together through the bond.
Sooner than either of them really wanted, the Slytherin gently drew back. Breathless, and left in want for more, Harry opened his eyes to lock his gaze with Tom's intense green one, knowing that his must look the same.
"So", his voice sounding slightly hoarse, Tom cleared his throat, "What did Black say?"
"I am to meet him tonight in the Room of Requirement and hold the ceremony, or whatever, there."
Tom didn't look entirely convinced. Harry knew that now was the time to tell him something else that he had decided earlier. Dreading the reaction to what he was about to say, Harry tried to buy some time buy thinking his words through carefully.
"Draco will stop by after classes.", he said slowly.
Tom raised an eyebrow, but remained silent, even though Harry knew that a scathing retort was burning on his tongue.
"He'll bring me the notes from today and tell me what we've got to do for homework. I have to attend classes again after this weekend. Madame Pomfrey has given me more free days off than I thought she would. Maybe looking honestly sick had helped when I went to see her the other day.", Harry babbled on, trying to talk up the courage of finally telling Tom what he really needed to know.
The Slytherin was still being uncharacteristically patient, looking at him with a weary expression.
Harry groaned inwardly. Where the hell was his famous Gryffindor courage? It wasn't that bad, after all.
Just say it., his annoying inner voice demanded, trying to prolong it won't help.
"I've chosen Draco to be my key.", he blurted out suddenly.
Shit. That had sure as hell not been how he had intended to say it.
Once again you prove what a genius you are, Potter.
-Shut up self.
"You what?", the tone was quiet and controlled.
Harry cringed, shrinking into himself. The knowledge that this would happen didn't really make it any better.
Sitting up, Harry tried to shift into a comfortable position and faced Tom, who had sat up as well, his spine as rigid as the handle of a broomstick.
"What I wanted to say is that Sirius told me that I needed to choose a key of my own. The person must be present and also take part in the ritual.", Harry was more careful with his words again, trying to avoid anything that could set Tom off, "And I chose Draco."
Tom didn't move, his body so tense and tight as if he had been frozen in place.
"Please, Tom", Harry said softly, wanting to touch him but not quite daring to do so, "He meets all the requirements. He is my friend and I trust him. The key has to be someone not romantically involved with the Potter, but they have to share platonic love. You told me this yourself."
"Correct me if I'm wrong, Harry.", Tom forced out between tight lips, "But since when does Malfoy feel platonic love for you?"
Closing his eyes, Harry ran a shaking hand through his hair. Where had the calm and peace form just a few moments before gone?
"Even if Draco feels more than just platonic love, the point is that he is my friend and I love him platonically.", he said tiredly.
"Oh is that so?", Tom hissed sharply.
"For god's sake, Tom!", Harry shouted, having finally snapped and jumped up from the bed, "Even if, for some reason, I wouldn't want to choose Draco, who the fuck else could I choose? Sirius is already a key, you are the person I'm in love with and Ron and Hermione have slipped so far from me that I doubt they even know who I am anymore! So who else should it be?! Snape maybe?! Or even better, Dumbledore?!"
The silence that followed his outburst was almost suffocating. Harry, who had stopped flailing his arms around wildly, avoided Tom's gaze and once again dragged a hand through his abused hair.
Even as he heard the sheets rustling, Harry refused to look at the other boy until he stood directly in front of him, a gentle finger under his chin titling his head slightly up.
The apology was shining so clearly from Tom's green eyes, that Harry simply accepted it by winding his arms around the other boy's shoulders, pressing his face into the Slytherin's neck and closing his eyes.
Tom hugged him close, his grip tight.
Harry sighed. At least that was settled, he though sarcastically.
The knock on the door came soon after the afternoon classes had ended. Harry glanced at Tom, but the other boy made a show of being engrossed in his book, pointedly ignoring everything else.
Harry pushed his glasses up his nose and closed his own book as he got up. He had tried to catch up on some reading for his classes. Final exams were approaching and although Harry had done better this year than ever before, he still felt as if he didn't know the first thing about what was going on.
As expected, Draco stood on the other side of the door with his schoolbag still slung over his shoulder.
"Hey, Draco.", Harry said weakly, stepping aside to let his best friend enter.
The other boy obediently stepped into the room, placing his schoolbag next to one of the armchairs.
Harry closed the door and was promptly met by the familiar sight of the two most important Slytherins in his life engaging in a glaring competition.
Absently rubbing over his scar, Harry tried to ease the pain in his aching head. He wasn't sure if it was because of Voldemort or maybe, for once, simply because of the strain he was under.
He knew that the two boys didn't act like this to spite him, but Harry was sure that neither one of them actually knew how much stress was added to his life by them being unable to accept each other.
"Tom", Harry said quietly, hoping that he wouldn't be met with any more resistance, seeing as they had already had a fight before.
Tom didn't shift his disdainful expression away from Draco as he snapped his book shut and made a show of standing up slowly. A second later, he was gone, leaving the book to fall onto the now vacant armchair.
Draco turned around, rolling his eyes, muttering something along the lines of 'over-dramatic-bastard'.
"So, how are you?", Harry asked, fidgeting with his hands as he sat down stiffly in the armchair he had occupied before.
"I know there is something on your mind.", the Slytherin said, while gracefully falling onto the couch, "So why don't you just spit it out so we can leave out the lame small-talk attempts."
Harry relaxed somewhat.
"It's about the invocation of my power.", Harry said, getting straight to the point this time, "How much do you know about it?"
Draco frowned, bringing his feet up to rest on the coffee table in front of him.
"Not much.", he said thoughtfully, "Nothing actually, despite the fact that it runs in your family."
Harry ran his fingers though his hair, finally relaxing fully. Getting up, he walked over to the couch and sank down next to his best friend. Somehow being closer to him was comforting.
Drawing his knees up, he tucked them under his body, facing Draco fully while leaning sideways against the back of the couch.
"It's not quite as easy as it sounds.", Harry began slowly.
Draco's attention was focused on him as he listened intently as Harry explained the situation as best as he could. There were still things, after all, that he himself hadn't completely comprehended.
"And you want to do this tonight?"
"There's no reason for us to wait. The sooner I can face Voldemort, the better."
Draco was silent for a moment and Harry kept quiet as well, letting the other boy arrange his thoughts.
"So what do you need to do?", he asked then, "Did Black tell you anything?"
"Well, as far as I know the ritual itself is pretty basic, but there is one thing I still need.", Harry said slowly.
"And what's that?", Draco asked expectantly.
The Slytherin looked thoughtful.
"You mean 'a person you share a strong friendship with'? Like Black and your father?"
"Yeah.", taking a deep breath, Harry finally blurted it out, "Would you be my key Draco?"
Draco stared at him, his gaze completely uncomprehending. It almost seemed as if the Slytherin was waiting for Harry to start laughing and tell him that it had been a joke.
"What?", he finally forced out.
"I need a key or the ritual can't take place.", Harry answered softly, "And you are my best friend now. Maybe the only friend I have left."
Draco's eyes were wide as he stared at him for a long moment. When he moved, it was to lean forward and wrap Harry in a tight embrace.
The Gryffindor reciprocated, relaxing into his friend's arms.
When he drew back, Draco's eyes where overly bright, something he hadn't seen since the day his father had died.
"It would be my honour, Harry."
The Room of Requirement looked exactly like the last time he had been there, only that his time the light was dim and came mostly from the candles that had been set up in a strange formation on the floor.
Draco was close beside him as he greeted Sirius. The greeting between them was surprisingly civil, probably due to the fact that his godfather was still indebted to him because he had played an important role in freeing him from the mirror-world.
Harry caught himself reaching out for Tom in his mind, but quickly stopped when he realised what he was doing.
Sirius' orders on the subject had been clear. No one but the two keys and Harry could be present at the invocation or the whole thing would be for nothing. Tom, therefore, had had no choice but to stay behind in their room and draw up a mental wall between their minds.
The feeling was unpleasant and only resulted in remembering the horrible time after Tom's betrayal. Harry hoped that the ritual would be over soon. Since Tom having come so close to being taken from him during the veil-ordeal, their mental selves were all the more intertwined. Harry could not imagine his life without this kind of link anymore. He'd rather die than lose it.
The preparations for the ritual were surprisingly unspectacular. Sirius positioned them in the right places and took his own place.
Later, Harry wouldn't be able to recall anything that had happened after that, except for some murmured words, a blinding white light and a pain so intense that his legs had given out from underneath him.
The blackness that followed came slower than any other time he had fainted, almost as if the darkness was creeping up on him, taunting him until it swallowed him completely.