Pure Rhapsody

Pure Rhapsody

WARNING: sexual content

Epilogue:

It was so dark that Harry had to blink several times in order to see anything. He felt like he was standing on a hard surface, maybe rock or cement (he wasn't sure), but he could feel the coldness against his bare feet. He wondered why he had no shoes on. And why he felt cold. Raising his arms, he placed his hands on his body and felt that he had on his thin short-sleeve top and shorts, or boxers. He couldn't tell. Harry felt for his wand, but found he didn't have it. He tried to make out his surroundings, but all he could see were dark shadows around him. He took a step forward and then another. Maybe he'd find a light source if he kept walking. He took another step forward and suddenly lurched forward. Harry cried out and slipped, not realizing that his foot had fallen on air. His knee slammed to the ground and his upper body almost fell over the side but Harry grabbed onto the edges.

Harry scrambled backward away from the edge, feeling his way to make sure he didn't fall off. He stood back up and after a minute or two he caught his breath. Where the hell was he? There was a flash and Harry caught sight of something from a distance. A light of some sort.

"Hello?" Harry called out uncertainly. He hoped it was a person and not something else.

There was no answer. But the light kept coming closer and Harry squinted, trying to make out what it was. He didn't move for fear that he'd fall so he just stood there motionless. And suddenly from the darkness came a whisper.

"Lumos!"

The voice hissed it and suddenly Harry was blinded by light. He put a hand up to shield his eyes at first. The entire room, or cavern rather, was illuminated. It was a dark cavern with what looked like melted rocks, some of them charred and black. The cave ceiling rose up many feet but there was no opening. It was a slanted ceiling and everything around him was rock. He was standing on a tall rocky pillar and the pillar was in the middle of no where. There was a cliff only a few feet away that he could jump to, but the rocky cliff at the other end that seemed to lead to a tunnel was much too far to make the jump, at least without a wand to help levitate. And now Harry could see what was down below. It was a dark pool of water, at least a couple hundred feet down, but it was an eerie navy blue color and too murky to see what was beneath the surface. And parts of it bubbled and let off steam, as if it was boiling.

Harry had the urge to jump to the nearest cliff, but the figure approaching toward him, coming from the tunnel leading out to the cliff made him stop. It was a figure dressed in a black silk robe with a hood and seemed rather dirty, especially at the bottom. It was frayed and Harry felt goosebumps appear on his arms.

"Who are you?"

Harry was afraid to speak at all, but decided to in order to buy time. He had to figure out what was going on and where he was. Was he dreaming?

"Finally I've managed to get you here," the voice hissed.

And this time Harry recognized the voice. He stepped back but wobbled, glancing over his shoulder to make sure he didn't step back to far, but then quickly focused back on the looming figure. The figure was now at the edge of the cliff and Harry was trapped on the pillar. At least the pillar seemed steady enough and had enough standing room. The figure reached up its hands and Harry saw the pale bony hands and the long fingers and his heart pounded loudly. He searched around for an escape, but his eyes found none as the figure removed the hood.

Voldemort's luminous eyes gazed at him hungrily and his thin lips curled widely in a malicious grin.

"How foolish to think you could escape me forever, Potter," Voldemort hissed, pointing his wand at him.

Harry stood still with fear, knowing he was trapped. This couldn't be happening.

"To think I had you right where I wanted you and now I'm stuck here," Voldemort said, gesturing with his free hand. "This is only part of the terrain, Potter. I could have easily led you out toward the black pit or the miles of cliffs and muddy landscapes that have hungry parasites waiting to feed. Or any of the other places I've been to…I've learned much about parallel dimensions, Potter. How they keep people here, how they feed, how one cannot escape using magic. Even my powers here are useless to get me back! However, being as powerful as I am has kept me alive all this time. And now finally I have you, Potter. You are my escape!" Voldemort's eyes gazed at him hungrily, sending shivers up his spine.

Harry swallowed and tried to remain calm, but both fists were clenched nervously. "I'm not really here," Harry said aloud, trying to sound more confident than he felt.

Voldemort's cold laughter echoed around him. "You're here enough for what I need."

Voldemort waved his wand and Harry thought the killing curse would come at him, but instead the pillar began to move. Harry was shaken as the pillar began to advance closer to where Voldemort was standing.

"You can't keep me here! This is only a dream!" Harry exclaimed, searching around as the top of the pillar broke off and began levitating toward the cliff.

"I don't intend to keep you here, Potter! I intend to use your body to free me from this prison!" Voldemort hissed pleasurably as his eyes glowed with rage. "Ever since you sent me here all I can do is think about what I would do to you when the time came."

Harry knew exactly what Voldemort was going to do. He tried to get off the pillar, but Voldemort levitated Harry's body up in the air and brought him toward the cliff. Harry struggled against the spell but was soon trapped on the cliff, lying down on the rocky surface. Voldemort paralyzed him with a spell and stood over him. Harry tried to move but couldn't. His heart was pounding and all he could think about was how Malfoy would be in danger if Harry didn't help him. Harry tried to think of a way to escape as he was forced to stare up into the merciless face of his arch nemesis.

Voldemort sneered as he stared down at him, lowering his wand since Harry couldn't move.

"Once I possess you I can escape this place," Voldemort hissed as he bent down.

"No!" Harry shouted, trying to move. "You can't! It's not really my body!"

Voldemort laughed as his face came closer to Harry's—much too close. And Voldemort was leaning over him. Harry's scar was throbbing, but it wasn't the intense pain he usually felt, probably because it was his spirit or an astral projection rather than his real body being there.

"It may not be your real body, Potter, but it's a way into your mind," Voldemort said, keeping his wand pointed at him in case he moved. "And once I've gotten into your mind, you're going to take me out of this place and soon I'll have control of your body. Once you're under my control I'll make sure you free me properly so that I may have my own body once again. And then I can torture and kill you like I should have before! I see Tristan failed me as well!" he hissed and Harry felt discomfort in his muscles as he fought to gain control. "No matter…once I return I will make sure that you pay dearly, Potter. I can't torture you now because you wouldn't feel much pain, not in your astral body, but soon, Potter…soon I will show you no mercy. And all the loved ones close to you will perish as well."

Harry stared up at him with wide eyes and Voldemort's lip-less mouth smiled at him as the red eyes came closer.

"Get away from me!" Harry shouted.

He heard Voldemort's cruel laugh and suddenly a cold hand was on his arm. Voldemort pointed his wand at Harry's chest and Harry felt pain and discomfort in his abdomen. He tried to squeeze his eyes shut—he tried to wake himself up, but it wasn't working. Voldemort removed his hand from Harry's arm and suddenly pressed it down into his stomach. Harry made a noise in the back of his throat as he felt the horrible pressure and looked down to see Voldemort's hand sinking into his stomach.

"Soon you will be under my control and nothing will stop me!" Voldemort hissed in his ear. "No body defeats Lord Voldemort, especially not an insolent boy!"

Harry tried to fight him off using his mind, but he wasn't sure how. Harry felt pain in his legs and he looked down in horror to find that Voldemort's legs were sinking into his. Despite that Voldemort was much taller and yet thinner, he vanished within Harry until there was only his upper half left. Harry felt his body trembling from the invasion and he tried so hard to think of ways to keep Voldemort out. He heard the cold laughter and Harry's eyes unwillingly locked into the blood-red eyes that had haunted him throughout his adolescence.

"Now it is almost complete! It is time to surrender to me, Potter! You may have been able to trick me before, but you cannot defeat me! Just as your precious mentor couldn't!" Voldemort exclaimed, laughing.

Harry saw the pale hand coming toward him and it pressed against his forehead roughly. Voldemort grabbed his hair and forced his head back. Voldemort was going to push his face into Harry's and once that happened Harry knew Voldemort would be completely inside, but he still couldn't move! Voldemort's eyes came closer and he heard the victorious laughter echoing around him. And suddenly there was so much pain. Harry cried out, feeling his forehead burn intensely. It burned so badly he was blinded by white light. Until he realized that his eyes were open and the light was all around him. He heard Voldemort's hiss and felt the harsh, weighing pressure in his body leave.

Voldemort's body came out of his and he saw the dark lord holding up a hand at the light and hissing in Parseltongue. Voldemort was thrown backward and Harry realized that the blinding light was coming from his forehead. It must've been coming from his scar and the light had blinded Voldemort. Harry jerked his body and found he could move. He rolled over and scraped his knees as he struggled to get to his feet. Voldemort hissed and lifted his wand toward Harry. Harry could see the desperation and the hunger for his blood in the crimson eyes glaring at him. Harry's eyes were wide as he stepped backward, reaching the end of the cliff. Voldemort came closer, ready to shoot another curse.

"There's no where for you to run, Potter! Sooner or later I'll find a way into your mind!" Voldemort screeched. "You will be stuck here with me until I do!"

Harry threw himself to the ground as the curse flew over his head. Voldemort was trying to pin him down again. And he knew that if he didn't get away now, Voldemort would pin him down again and eventually find a way past his scar and then it would be all over.

"YOU ARE MINE POTTER!" Voldemort hissed angrily.

Glancing over his shoulder briefly, Harry took a look at the murky water. He saw the curse coming at him and in a second Harry made his decision. He jumped backward off the cliff and he heard Voldemort's cry of fury. Harry fell, his hair whipping around him and he saw Voldemort rush to the edge, staring down at him with an open mouth and eyes scrunched with such a horrendous expression. And Voldemort pointed his wand toward him and Harry saw a jet of light coming at him. And he knew Voldemort was trying to get to him before he hit the water. He felt the wind lashing around him, heard the gurgling below and saw the jet of blue light headed for him, but unfortunately gravity was pulling him down fast. Voldemort had been seconds too late in shouting his spell.

Harry plummeted into the dark water and thought for sure it would eat away at his skin. Even as Harry opened his eyes underwater, seeing dark scaly bodies around him and hearing hungry hissing sounds, the water didn't harm him. It was bubbling on the surface and Harry turned his head and opened his mouth in shock as he saw a rotting corpse nearby in the mouth of a huge scaly beast with layers of sharp death. The body looked charred and eaten away and not just by the beast, but by the water too. It was like the skin had been peeled away by acid. The beast's eyes seemed to look straight through him. He heard the hiss and turned his head to the other side to see another long, almost fifty or so foot serpent-like body coming toward him. The head was like that of a dragon only the eyes were shaped differently and the pupils were slits like a serpent. There was a sharp fin on its back and the layers of teeth shone brightly as its large mouth opened. Harry squeezed his eyes shut, screaming underwater.

Harry felt something hard and he lashed out with his hand. His hand collided with something else hard and Harry gasped. His eyes snapped open and he shot up, scared and on alert. Expecting to find Voldemort or some carnivorous serpent-dragon, Harry tensed but soon realized that he was on the floor. Looking around, he saw that he was in his bedroom. He scrambled to his feet unsteadily and felt perspiration dripping from his body. He had fallen asleep. He had fallen asleep and Voldemort had taken advantage of that. His arch nemesis had invaded his mind and brought Harry, or at least a part of him, to wherever it was Voldemort was trapped.

And Voldemort nearly took over him! If he had, Voldemort would've woken up in his body in the bedroom and soon would've found Malfoy, weak and helpless in the next room. Harry couldn't even think beyond that! He couldn't sleep until he had mastered the cloning spell and destroyed the link with Voldemort! Harry slowly walked out of his room, rubbing at his eyes and trying to calm his breathing and racing heart. He cautiously opened the guest room door and peered inside.

Malfoy was asleep in the bed, still half propped up and with his head to the side. He was breathing slowly but evenly. While he was still paler than usual, he didn't seem to be worsening. Harry had been caring for him for two days now, charming the food he gave to the blond to feed him since Malfoy was still too weak to feed himself. And the blond still had the button he could press whenever he needed anything. It seemed so far Malfoy had been sleeping for most of the two days. And Harry had been studying the cloning spell intensely. He must've exhausted himself and that was how he had fallen asleep.

Once Malfoy gained enough strength to talk and wasn't sleeping as much, he would no doubt want to talk about the Elder Wand. But first Harry had to deal with the cloning spell and get rid of the threat of Voldemort before it was too late. That was his first priority. After the cloning spell was through and the Horcrux was destroyed, Harry would take care of Theodore and hopefully any other threats against Malfoy and him too.

Harry went back to his room and dug through his bureau until he found an energizing potion. It was the last one. He gulped it down and felt the exhaustion slip away from his body. He had only a few hours before it wore off. The previous day he had been so close to making the clone successful. He had managed to get the charmed circle around him to stay and then a misty shadow had been called forth, but Harry had lost the energy to put more magic into the vapory cloud and soon it had vanished along with the circle. But he had been so close! And then…then he must've collapsed onto his bed out of exhaustion from nearly completing the most difficult magical creation.

However, he remembered how difficult it was to do a Patronus in his third year, but he had kept trying, even after he was ready to give up, because a Dementor had appeared again. This time, he just had to concentrate on how horrible it was to be in Voldemort's presence again and the fear of what would happen if he failed.

Harry found his wand on the floor and made some more room by moving his bed to the corner with a wave of his wand. This time, Harry decided to crouch down low toward the floor instead of standing. He wasn't sure if it would save energy, but it was worth a shot. Harry concentrated hard by shutting his eyes and murmuring the charm. As he slowly opened his eyes he moved his arms in the appropriate directions still chanting the charm over and over again. He wouldn't stop chanting it because it had to be done and it would be done right. It was his last shot. Harry circled his arm around his head and a dark blue light shot out of his wand and the bright circle began to illuminate the room as it appeared.

The circle surrounded him and Harry remained crouched in the center. He took several deep breaths as he held the wand steady waiting for the circle to become complete. There were sparks of blue power still coming out of his wand until the circle glowed brightly. It was as clear as the floor beneath him. Harry knew it was time. Holding his wand steady he slowly stood up and began chanting the spell necessary to complete the clone. After the blue sparks stopped coming out of his wand, he waved the wand around his body and a milky-colored mist came out of wand, encircling his body. Harry felt his arm tremble slightly, but Harry raised his wand up trying to keep it steady.

The milky-colored mist then soared away from his body about a few inches in front of him. It turned a darker grey and began to get a little thicker. Harry's arm trembled again and he felt the stiffness all the way down to his elbow. The misty blob floating in front of him was also surrounded by the circle. Harry's legs began to wobble and he slowly crouched down, trying to save energy. His eyes were so focused on the misty form in front of him, turning into a vapory shadow that he started seeing double. He blinked several times, inhaling deeply.

The vapory shadow began to grow larger and Harry concentrated on it. Although his arm was getting sore and tired again he kept his wand held firmly in place. He was trying to distract his mind from the pain by watching the vapory form grow and grow until it was a large oval shaped shadow. Harry clenched his jaw and felt his legs wobble until his knees hit the floor. But he kept his wand held up high. His hand was beginning to tremble now as well.

I won't give up. I won't give up.

Harry kept saying it over and over in his mind and kept his gaze on the vapory shadow that suddenly was taking on shape. Harry watched as dark blobs came out of the top of it, one on each side. And then at the end of one of the blobs Harry could make out what looked like fingers, and then a hand. Harry felt his neck stiffen and his arm began to go numb. Harry's knees ached as his weight was pressing heavily on them. And then he saw it—the outline of a body in front of him, still a dark milky shape. There was an arm now on both sides, with hands and fingers. Harry's grip nearly slipped on his wand but he clutched it for dear life.

Suddenly Harry cried out in pain as his scar burned like a hot iron. Harry's arm nearly dropped, but he forced it back up, squeezing his eyes shut from the pain. He breathed heavily through clenched teeth and then he was hearing whispering. There were threats in Parseltongue echoing through his ears and there was pain all over his body, but especially in his scar. And Harry knew it was Voldemort. He was sensing Harry's power and wanting him to not succeed. Harry struggled to open his eyes through the pain and he saw the vapory form. Its outlined body was shrinking slightly.

NO! I won't go back! I won't let him win!

Harry felt determination surge through him, but it wasn't enough to give him energy. So Harry shut his eyes, feeling his arm trembling violently and knowing that he couldn't hold on much longer. He imagined what it would be like to have power like Dumbledore, or like Merlin…and then he thought of Malfoy in the next room and all the dangers they faced, like with Mr. Diggory and the train wreck and the dragons…everything. Harry remembered how he had felt when he saw Malfoy lying in St. Mungo's barely breathing and rage consumed him. Harry's eyebrows furrowed and he was heaving for breath but he concentrated on that feeling. And then he thought back to where he had been with Voldemort, watching in terror as Voldemort tried to take over his astral body and get into his mind.

Harry's eyes snapped open and through the pounding pain in his scar he stared at the vapory form and wouldn't let his gaze wander. He then lifted his other hand and placed it on his wand arm to keep his arm raised steadily. Harry was still on his knees, feeling sweat dripping down the back of his neck and sides of his face. Harry's jaw was tight and his body was aching and his head felt like it had when Voldemort had tried to get into his head. And he concentrated on the anger—the anger of losing his parents, the devastation of losing Sirius, the shock and sadness of losing Dumbledore, the rage of nearly losing Malfoy to Theodore…all those emotions came surging forth. And the pain in his scar dulled, although there was still throbbing.

And Harry blinked and focused on the vapory form, which was taking on a more clear shape now. He held up his wand with both hands and watched as the transparent body became clearer. At first it seemed to have no insides or clothes and then it began to grow flesh. Its face was unclear until the swirling milky color began to dissipate, leaving in its place a short nose with a smooth rounded tip, a slightly pointed chin and then ears. Harry's body felt so heavy, but he kept his wand arm up, still holding it with his left arm. And then there was hair—black thick and messy hair that appeared. The skin was still transparent but began to fill in. And Harry watched with wonder as the same luminous green eyes that stared at him in the mirror came to life. It was as if he was staring at a floating, glowing version of himself.

The skin was still illuminating light, but it was no longer see-through. Harry could still hear the hissing, the cursing and the threats in Parseltongue in his head, but the pain wasn't so bad…it was weakening. And he kept thinking about all the sadness, anger and terror he had endured in his life and soon the figure of himself not too far away had clothes and began to slowly float toward the ground. But Harry wasn't through yet. A wand appeared out of vapor into the hand of the clone. The circle around him flickered as his arm began to tire and lower. With shaky arms, Harry raised it up again. The clone stared at him and Harry's mouth trembled as he opened it.

"Shoot…the…AHH!" Harry cried out as another burst of searing pain in his scar erupted. He stared at the clone, desperate for it not to vanish. "Shoot the…killing curse!" Harry spat out, feeling his lungs burning as he struggled to fight the pain throughout his body.

The clone raised its arm and Harry felt a flash of triumph. And then more pain. And the hissing voice.

"I will spill your blood until you beg for mercy! I will kill you slowly until all your organs are on fire and until you breathe your last breath! No body defeats me! You will surrender!"

Harry's wand arm was falling and the burning was coming back. Suddenly, Harry imagined Malfoy. He thought back to all the times they had fought and the times that they had been so close, touching…and the intimacy. A rush of emotions of both protection and caring filled him and the hissing voice screamed with fury and pain. The clone flickered but then became clear and said "Avada Kedavra!"

Harry watched the billowing and luminous green light heading toward him and Harry bit his lip hard to concentrate on that pain so his arm wouldn't collapse. The green light was so close to his face and Harry's eyes were wide, watching it with hope and fear. It erupted against his chest and the whole circle around him exploded with light. He heard crashing and a gust of horrendous wind pushed him off his feet. The light was such a harsh blinding white that Harry had to shut his eyes. He felt a harsh pain in his chest that became much more painful than the throbbing in his head. He couldn't see, he couldn't hear and there was light all around him and he was thrown backward.

There was a vague buzzing sound that seemed to be echoing through his head. Or at least he thought it was echoing. Feeling disoriented, Harry opened his eyes wondering if Ron's potion had exploded again. Harry blinked. Wait…he recognized his surroundings. It was his house, his condo. Why had he suddenly had a flashback to Hogwarts? He must've been confused. Harry struggled to lift his head up. What day was it? What time was it? Why was he on the floor?

For a minute, he panicked, wondering if something bad had happened. After he got half-way up to a sitting position, he saw the scorch marks in the floor. There was a circular scorch mark on the floor at least ten feet around. And then it hit him like a punch to the face. Voldemort, Malfoy, and the cloning spell. Had it worked? The last thing he remembered was being caught off guard by an explosion and then there was a blinding light. He must've been knocked down by the force, but how long was he out?

A sharp buzzing sound came and Harry jumped, startled. It beeped again and he realized it was coming from the door down the hall where Malfoy was sleeping. Harry got to his feet, swaying a bit, and stumbled weakly toward the door. He grabbed the knob and pushed on it, feeling his sore muscles strain to open the door. Upon opening the door, he saw Malfoy seated up in his bed with his finger on the button. The blond was still pale but he had a confused (and maybe also concerned) expression on his face.

"Potter, what the hell was that? Are you trying to blow up the bloody house?" Malfoy said.

His voice sounded stronger. Perhaps he was doing better.

"Er, sorry…I was doing the cloning spell. And…I don't know if it worked. I think it might have."

Malfoy took his hand away from the button and Harry could tell his muscles were more relaxed. He was relieved that nothing bad happened. But was he relieved that Harry was alright or was Malfoy relieved that he wasn't in any danger?

Harry put a hand up to his chest and waited. "I think the Horcrux is gone, but I'll only be certain after I sleep."

The blond's face scrunched with confusion. "Why?" he asked curiously.

Looking up into the blond's face, Harry stared into his silver-blue eyes and wondered if Voldemort ever sensed Harry's feelings about Malfoy.

"Well…I fell asleep right before I did the cloning spell and…," Harry paused. "Voldemort got to me."

Malfoy's eyes widened.

"My scar links me to him," Harry said, pressing a hand against his forehead. "And it's only because of the Horcrux. The scar was created when Voldemort accidentally made me a Horcrux, which is how he's able to get into my mind so easily. It's also how I could get into his to see what he was planning now and again," Harry explained as Malfoy stared at him, surprised. "And he got to me in my sleep and almost possessed me. He was trying to escape from the parallel dimension I sent him to. And that place…," Harry said shaking his head.

"It was…really strange. The feeling, the rocks, the water and those creatures under water. I mean, it's nothing like we have here. It's just so hard to imagine that there are other magical places other than our world."

There was silence and Harry could sense that Malfoy seemed intrigued by the information Harry got from the parallel dimension. But Harry also sensed fear.

"So…if you go to sleep what might happen?" Malfoy asked, glancing at him.

Harry sighed and walked over to the bed. "Hopefully I won't see Voldemort or sense him at all. Unfortunately, that could mean he's biding his time…but…I'm pretty certain he's so desperate to get out that if he were still able to get to me he'd definitely take the chance. I barely escaped from it earlier so my chances of escaping again are basically impossible. You know, if you want for your own safety, in case I didn't do the spell right, I could send you back to St. Mungo's."

Harry was reluctant to suggest it, because in case the spell did work that would mean he wouldn't be around Malfoy anymore. And the likelihood of Malfoy just contacting him to hang out or talk about their unresolved issues was very small.

Malfoy stared up at him and Harry could see the uncertainty in his eyes. Harry couldn't sense what he wanted though. Slowly, Malfoy adjusted his position in the bed.

"How about this, Potter, since I don't feel like being moved around again," Malfoy finally spoke. "You put protection charms on your door to keep it locked and leave your wand with me. That way when you lock yourself in the room you won't have your wand to blast out of there, in case you're someone else," he added the last part quietly. "That way it'll give me time to call for St. Mungo's if necessary."

Harry's eyebrows furrowed. "Call for them?"

Malfoy gave him a look and rolled his eyes. "Yes, Potter. Wizards in emergency situations call for St. Mungos and one of their cars comes to get you."

"How long does it take for them to get to you?"

"About a minute, Potter. Once they hear a distress call they use their vehicles to trace the source and get to the person in a minute or two. It's called magic."

Harry gave him an annoyed look. "Ok, I get it. It's like the Knight Bus."

Malfoy just sighed heavily. "Go put all the charms you can on your door then give me your wand. And the Elder wand."

Harry gazed at him uncertainly.

Malfoy's eyes narrowed. "Please, Potter. I'm not even strong enough to try to use any wand let alone try to get my hands on that one. But trust me, we're not done talking about this. So if you survive the night we'll be having a long discussion tomorrow."

Harry nodded reluctantly. "Fine. But if I'm alright how will I get out of my room? You can't use magic yet."

"Easy Potter, if you're fine I'll put your wand under the door."

Feeling uncertain, Harry nodded and went to charm his bedroom door. Harry didn't feel ready to face this. If it didn't work and he went back to that place…he knew he was as good as dead. Voldemort would possess him and take him back to the Ministry where he would find a way for Harry to release him. If he couldn't, he'd just use Harry's body—become him—forever and kill all his friends and eventually take over Hogwarts like he planned. The whole world would be in danger and he wasn't ready to face that. Then again, if he was possessed and Malfoy went to St. Mungo's then the word would eventually get out to the Ministry and perhaps they could stop him—or Voldemort rather—before anything bad happened.

The protections were finished and Harry slumped back toward Malfoy's room and slowly approached the bed. The Elder wand was now in his other hand as well. Malfoy's eyes glanced at the unknown wand and then back up to Harry's face.

"Set them on the bed and then you can go to bed. And don't forget to close your door shut so it'll lock and the charms won't be for nothing."

"I know," Harry said nervously. He felt like he should say something to Draco…like a goodbye in case something does happen.

Carefully, Harry laid his wand and the Elder wand on the bed. "I guess I was wrong."

One's of the blond's eyebrows rose in question.

"It's just…when I told Dumbledore that I had gotten the Elder wand he seemed so proud," Harry said, feeling awkward so he looked down at his hands. "And he said that it would be safe with me…that I would die with it and no one would ever be able to get their hands on such a powerful wand and now…"

Harry trailed off not knowing what else to say. He still felt awkward about opening up to Malfoy, especially since he still wasn't sure how the Slytherin felt about him. There had been an attraction between them, but not necessarily true feelings (at least maybe not on Malfoy's side).

"I'll take the Elder wand to the Ministry if you become possessed," Malfoy said.

Harry glanced up at him in surprise. He felt emotions swell inside of him and he swallowed.

"No, Malfoy. I want you to keep it."

The blond's lips parted and his eyes widened. Harry moved closer to the bed and pushed the two wands toward Malfoy's hand. Draco glanced down at the wands just barely touching his fingers and then he looked directly into Harry's eyes.

"If the Ministry ever found out the Elder wand was real…someone there could take it for themselves. An auror or even one of the possible Ministers going through the elections, anyone! And since it was yours before me…I feel it only right that if something happens to me that you keep it safe. You are the only other person besides me and Dumbledore who knows the whole story about it and how it's dangerous. Others won't know or won't care. That's why I think it'd be safer with you," Harry said, gazing back at him.

Their eyes stayed locked together and Harry felt his heart begin to beat faster. Harry tried not to concentrate on Malfoy's smooth, fair skin (although still slightly off-color) nor his blond bangs hovering just over his eyes. Malfoy stared back and Harry could see his blue eyes moving slightly and examining Harry's face, trying to figure out what he was thinking. Once Harry felt the urge to kiss the blond he pulled back and gave Malfoy a slightly nod before he walked out. He breathed deeply as he went to his room.

As he walked into the dark room, Harry put his hand on the knob and pushed it shut. It clicked and Harry saw the shimmer of the charms and protections and knew it was locked tight. Slowly, Harry made his way over to the bed. He didn't even bother to change and just lay down. He was so afraid of what might happen that he lay there for quite some time, unable to fall asleep.

However, a knocking sound came and Harry opened his eyes. He jerked up from the bed, looking around. There was light coming from his window. Was it possible that it was morning? Had he fallen asleep?

The knocking continued and Harry glanced at his door. It must've been Malfoy. The blond was out of bed. At least he was strong enough to walk a short ways down the hall.

"Malfoy, is it morning?" Harry asked, approaching the door.

"Yes," the blond answered.

Harry felt relief flood through him. "I didn't see Voldemort. And I feel fine. The spell must've worked."

He waited but the blond didn't respond right away. "Malfoy?"

"What's our secret, Potter?"

"What?" Harry asked confused.

"What's our secret?" Malfoy asked through the door.

Harry swallowed, realizing Malfoy wanted to make sure he wasn't Voldemort. "Er…we had sex."

Malfoy didn't respond right away and Harry felt awkward. "What else?"

"We…er…went to the Embervale Academy."

"What else?"

Harry licked his lips. "We have the Elder wand. I don't know, what more do you want me to say Malfoy?"

He waited for a reply and heard something. Then the tip of something poked through underneath the door. Harry bent down and pulled his wand. He then murmured counter spells and opened the door. Malfoy was standing just outside clutching the Elder wand. He was obviously still uncertain. Harry gave him a weak smile.

"Er, I'm ok, really."

"So you didn't…see him?" Malfoy asked quietly.

Harry shook his head. "I don't even remember falling asleep. I guess I really must've been exhausted."

"Memory loss could also mean possession," Malfoy said, looking at him nervously.

"No, I would know. My scar would be acting up, you know, bleeding or I'd be in a lot of pain, probably acting very different. I don't feel anything," Harry said, reaching up a hand to his scar. "I can't believe it. It actually worked."

Malfoy's fingers loosened on the Elder wand. "Fine. Now that we know it worked it's time to talk."

With that Malfoy slowly turned around and headed back to his room. Harry followed. They got to the blond's room and Malfoy carefully got back into bed.

"Er…I see you're walking ok. That's a good sign."

Malfoy glanced up at him once he was settled. "Don't change the subject Potter. I'm still pissed at you for disarming me like that and taking this wand."

The blond then examined the Elder wand for a second. Harry, still feeling tired and groggy, sat down at the end of the bed.

"So…what do you want to talk about? I mean…you know I can't really give it to you Malfoy. It has to die with me."

The blond gazed at him firmly. "I get it Potter," he drawled.

"Look," Harry said, scooting closer, "I know you'd like to feel what it's like to have a powerful wand, but it's not that simple. That wand is so powerful that it controls whoever owns it. That's why Dumbledore didn't even use it. He knew what it could do. He saw one of his good friends become corrupted by it. And Dumbledore had to kill him. It only causes destruction so it's not worth it."

"Spare me your speeches," Malfoy said, reaching out to set the Elder wand on the bureau by the bed. "I never said I was going to try to take it. I just want you to get it straight that if you ever trick me like that again I won't be so forgiving."

Harry felt his stomach loosen and he nodded. Malfoy looked like he was going to say something else, but Harry caught sight of something on the bureau near the wand.

"What's that?"

Malfoy glanced at it. "It's a letter. It came this morning like an hour before I knocked on your door. It's for you."

Harry glanced at him and then got up and went over to it. Upon opening it, he saw that it was a letter from Ron's dad agreeing to Harry's help and wanting to get together to talk it over.

"Malfoy, this is important," Harry said, folding the letter and pocketing it. "I have to go meet with Ron's dad. I can summon anything you might need right now, but I have to leave for a little while."

"I'm not a bloody child, Potter. I don't need you to baby-sit me. Just summon me some breakfast and a Butterbeer."

"Are you sure you should be drinking that stuff right now?"

Malfoy rolled his eyes. "I'm bloody fine Potter. And what's so urgent that you have to talk to Weasel's dad?"

Harry opened his mouth then closed it. Malfoy saw the nervous look on his face and the blond's expression darkened.

"Does this have to do with your plan to trick Theodore?"

Harry swallowed. "Yes, but I promise it's for your safety Draco."

The blond looked surprised but then covered it up. Anytime Harry called him by his first name, Malfoy seemed either uncertain or surprised. It was strange to him too but he rather liked it.

"Look, I promise I'll explain everything when I get back. This house is protected with charms so you should be safe, but call St. Mungo's if you need to."

"I get it Potter," Malfoy said, looking away. "Just go."

Harry nodded, feeling reluctant to leave the blond. He summoned breakfast and a Butterbeer for Malfoy and then he took off by broom to Ron's house. He didn't have any Floo powder so he had to fly there. It was about twenty minutes away, even with his new and fast broom. Once he arrived, Mrs. Weasley opened the door. She squealed in delight and suffocated Harry in a hug. Then she invited him inside.

"Would you like some breakfast, Harry dear?" she asked, gesturing him into the kitchen.

"Er, no thanks," Harry said, smiling. He was too anxious to eat.

In the kitchen, Harry saw Mr. Weasley eating breakfast. His hair wasn't combed yet and he appeared to have just woken up.

"Ah, Harry my boy, come in," Mr. Weasley said, smiling. "Ron's still asleep I'm afraid."

"It's alright," Harry said, sitting down across from Mr. Weasley.

"Would you like something to drink, Harry?" Mrs. Weasley cooed, brushing Harry's hair with her fingers. She was still so motherly to him and Harry felt comforted by that.

"Er, sure. Do you have any energizing potions?"

Mrs. Weasley looked at him in surprise. "Why, no, dear. Why would you need that?"

"I need to keep my energy up," Harry said, glancing at Mr. Weasley. "Er, to help Mr. Weasley."

Arthur's eyes widened and he seemed to get the hint. "Uh, Molly, why don't you just bring Harry some of that imported wizard tea. It's supposed to help energize."

Molly nodded. "Right away."

She waved her wand and tea poured itself in front of Harry. He took the cup, thanked Mrs. Weasley, and sipped it. It was tangy and warm and thankfully didn't make him feel sleepy. It was rather refreshing.

"Thanks Molly. I just need a word with Harry," Mr. Weasley said, smiling at her.

"Alright," she said, giving Arthur a kiss on the cheek. "You should visit more often, Harry. I'm sure Ron would love to see you."

Harry nodded. "I will."

Molly smiled and then disappeared, going back up the stairs. Arthur sighed and then turned to Harry.

"What's so urgent, Harry?"

"There are several Slytherins out there who still pose a threat. Their families are connected to Voldemort and I have a way of tricking them out of hiding," Harry said.

Mr. Weasley looked surprise and he swallowed. Then he leaned closer. "I assume you need the Ministry's help in catching them."

"Yes. I'll lure them out in a specific spot where the Ministry will be waiting secretly. Once given the sign the Ministry will come out and arrest them. You'll need to make an anti-apparation barrier though around the place first, but I can lure them out by myself."

"How are you going to do that?"

Harry sighed heavily. "Look, I don't have much time to explain, Mr. Weasley. I know who they're after."

"They're not after you are they?" Mr. Weasley asked, nearly dropping his fork.

"No, but they're after Draco Malfoy. I don't know if you heard about what happened…"

Mr. Weasley nodded. "Yes, I heard it from Caella who said she talked to Headmistress McGonagall. Is he ok?"

"Yes. I'm actually taking care of him right now, but please don't tell Ron. He won't take that well," Harry said quietly.

"But Harry…that boy could be a danger to you!" Mr. Weasley whispered harshly.

Harry shook his head. "He's not. I've done a lot of researching and it's a long story, but Draco Malfoy isn't anything like his parents. And he was attacked by other Slytherins because he wouldn't join with them."

Mr. Weasley turned a bit pale and set his fork down. "Merlin…And what Slytherin families are involved?"

"Pansy Parkinson's family and Theodore Nott's family," Harry said. "There could be others, but I'm planning to lure out Theodore. He's the one who attacked Malfoy in his condo. That's where we'll be and I'll set up a trap for Theodore there. And I'm certain once we catch Theodore he'll lead us to the others."

Harry explained the plan in detail, how he would go into the condo alone and how he would trick Theodore. Although Mr. Weasley didn't ask many questions, he seemed uncertain.

"Harry, I don't know if it's safe for you to go in there alone."

"Mr. Weasley, I know I can do this. It's the only way to get them out of hiding. If we don't, they could do something worse next time, or find a better hiding place. If we catch them all now there won't be any more threats to worry about. I know for certain now that Voldemort will never be able to come back."

Arthur choked on his milk and wiped his mouth. "You-Know-Who…he can't…you're sure?"

"Positive," Harry said nodding. "I talked with Dumbledore, er, his portrait at Hogwarts and we've stopped him from being able to come back. He's stuck in a parallel dimension for all eternity because he doesn't have the power to come back. And sooner or later he might even die. It's very dangerous there and the magic is different—it's like a whole different world. And there's so much about it we don't know or understand, but the important thing is that he's gone. And once we catch the rest of his supporters it'll be easier for there to be a smooth election."

Mr. Weasley's eyes widened. "Of course…they might attack on election day for the new Minister. Merlin, Harry, I didn't even consider that."

Harry waited, watching him. Finally Mr. Weasley nodded. "Ok. I'll alert Caella and other aurors, Harry. If you're sure you can do this."

Harry nodded. "It's our only shot. We've got to."

Mr. Weasley inhaled deeply and nodded. "Alright. I'll contact them immediately."

XXXXX

A few hours later…

Harry was crouched in the darkness behind the couch. Just being in Draco's condo brought back the memory of them sleeping together. It hadn't been that long ago…and they had both been drinking, but that time Malfoy hadn't denied it or told Harry he was disgusted. It had just told him not to make a big deal out of it. Perhaps that meant Malfoy was finally opening up to having a relationship with him.

Harry shook his head. He had to focus. That tea helped revived him a little, but if he didn't concentrate properly the plan could easily backfire. Harry's eyes narrowed as he thought about what Theodore did to Draco and he took several deep breaths. Then he murmured the same spell that had saved him from Voldemort. From behind the couch, a deep glow illuminated the living room and the charmed circle surrounded him. Harry concentrated hard, feeling his body trembling again. This time, he was prepared for all the sensations that he had to overcome. He realized that the second time around he wasn't in as much pain.

As he murmured the spell, another misty shadow flickered into the room by the couch. The circle reached out beyond the couch and Harry stared at the figure. He felt emotions stir as he saw a clear image of the silky blond hair and the bright silver-blue eyes. He tried not to falter as his legs became weak. The image of Draco became clearer until the misty clone stood in front of him. The circle around him glowed brightly and then slowly disintegrated, but Harry made sure to keep both hands on his wand to keep the clone of Draco from disappearing with it.

The magic should've alerted Theodore, if Harry's guess was right. He bet that Theodore and Pansy and them were keeping a close watch on Draco's place, probably hoping he'd come back there. And Harry was going to make sure that if they did, they'd pay dearly for what they had done to Malfoy. Harry waited almost painfully as he struggled to keep his wand held up. The clone of Draco stood there motionless, staring blankly ahead.

"Malfoy!" a voice hissed.

Harry's heart skipped a beat and he bit his lip. He had almost made a sound and at the same time his arm had jerked from being startled. The clone moved slightly because of Harry's arm movement, but very carefully, Harry gripped his elbow and moved the tip of his wand, making the clone turn around. A dark figure came from behind the staircase. Harry didn't know where he had apparated from, but he certainly hadn't sensed or heard him. As the figure came closer, Harry realized it was Theodore Nott only he had stubble growing on his face. It looked as though he had been in hiding quite some time. His eyes were alight with rage and something else…maybe fear.

"I didn't think you'd come back here. Unless…have you changed your mind?"

Harry realized he didn't know how to make the clone talk. His only option was to try to command the clone to speak. Harry thought about what to tell the clone and suddenly the clone's lips moved.

"Why?" the whispery voice echoed.

Harry was stunned. It was as if the clone had understood his thoughts.

Theodore's face darkened and he took a step closer. Harry saw he had his wand out and ready.

"You know why, Draco! Because you said you wanted nothing to do with Pansy, with us! I didn't want to hurt, but I warned you!" he hissed, sounding crazed. "There's not much of us left. Most of us were executed, like your parents and we're the only hope of getting revenge! You know how hard Pansy's family is working with the Greengrass family, the only Pureblood Slytherin family left that hasn't been caught, to find the Dark Lord! We have to undo what Potter did! But first, we need you! You're the one who knows where Potter is, right?"

"It's no use," Draco's clone said. "Voldemort is never coming back."

Theodore took several steps closer. "That's not true. He's invincible! He's immortal! He can't die! Why are you saying this? Are you afraid that he won't come back? Even if he doesn't, we can still make a new Death Eater group all together. We can continue the Dark Lord's work, Malfoy!"

"He's dead, Theodore, or hadn't you heard," Draco's clone whispered. "I overheard everything from the Ministry. There's no way to bring him back. He's trapped in a place where there's no return and only death. Even if he is immortal, he'll be stuck there forever."

"Don't believe what the bloody Ministry says!" Theodore hissed. "Either you come back with us or I'll have to take you by force! And I know you're still weak from those hexes I placed on you last time. I didn't expect you to be able to walk after all that, but you're definitely strong. And we need you on our team. So don't make me force you again!"

"You won't be doing anything to me again, Theodore." Harry made the clone say.

Theodore's gaze darkened and his lips curled with rage. He sent a hex flying toward the clone and it went right through it. Theodore's eyes widened with fear.

"You…are you a ghost?"

"Good guess," the clone said.

Theodore blinked, stunned. And Harry knew it was time to call in the Ministry. But first he had to get Theodore away.

"I have to tell you something important. Something about Voldemort—what he wanted," the clone said, walking toward the stairs. Theodore turned and Harry knew he had fell for the bait. Theodore's back was on the living room where Harry was hiding. Harry moved through the darkness, keeping his wand steady until he reached the window. Theodore's back was still turned.

"What? Tell me Draco!" Theodore hissed, clutching his wand tightly. "What did our lord want?"

Harry made the clone speak as he began to carefully open the window to throw out the signal. It was a smoke potion that would break once it hit the ground and release a blue smoke outside. If he kept Theodore distracted, the Slytherin wouldn't notice. And thankfully the anti-apparation was already set in around the condo.

"He wanted the Elder wand," the clone said.

Theodore's face scrunched in confusion. "The…Elder wand, like from the Deathly Hallows story? But that's just a myth!"

"Are you saying you know more than Voldemort?"

Theodore looked surprised at the challenge and his eyes narrowed. "No, of course not," he spat. "So…it's real?"

"Yes. And he knows of its location," the clone said, as Harry released the potion outside.

The blue smoke began to rise and Harry slowly shut the window and crept back toward his hiding place. Unfortunately, the movement made the clone flicker.

"Draco? Are you going away? What just happened?" Theodore asked quickly.

Harry sank behind the couch and held the wand steady. He couldn't hold the clone for much longer. He was tiring.

"Sorry…I can't…I'm too weak to keep my form," the clone said.

"What? What do you mean? Ghosts can't just vanish! Tell me where the Elder wand is!"

The clone stared silently and finally Harry made the clone take a step closer to Theodore. The Slytherin tightened his grip on his wand.

"It's in Voldemort's old house," the clone said.

"His old house? Where is that?"

"In a secret and protected area."

"How do I get in?"

Harry licked his lips, uncertain of how to answer that.

"You need the password, which I have."

"What is it? Tell me!"

The clone was silent and Theodore was getting anxious, looking around nervously. "Tell me, Draco!" he hissed.

"I'm already dead, what can you possibly do to me," the clone said. "I don't know if I can trust you with such valuable information."

"You can, you can trust me, I swear to our liege that—"

"Expelliarmus!"

Theodore's wand flew out of his hand. He wheeled around to see aurors appearing nearby and others entering. They were invisible as planned. Theodore fumbled with something in his pocket after he realized he couldn't apparate but he was paralyzed by a nearby auror who had remained invisible. Once Theodore fell to the ground unable to move, the auror appeared. It was Caella, the woman who had taken him and Draco to the train station. A supposedly very young, but powerful auror. Harry was familiar with her a bit and she seemed like a strong witch. In a way, she reminded him of Hermione.

"Give him Veritaserum."

Theodore was looking up at them with wide eyes. His eyes briefly went over to the clone of Draco who was standing there. Mr. Weasley came bounding in and looking around.

"Harry?"

Harry relaxed, bringing his arm down. The clone vanished and he came out from behind the couch and approached Caella and the others. Theodore stared at Harry and he could sense the Slytherin's shock. He hadn't seen Harry come from the couch luckily, because he was lying on his back.

"There's something in his pocket," Harry said Harry felt Theodore's rage and hate toward him, but he stared down at the Slytherin fearlessly. Harry summoned whatever it was from his pocket and it floated up into the air.

"Don't touch it," Caella said, staring at it as she approached Harry's side. "It could be a portkey."

Harry glanced at her. "It could lead to the others and their hiding places."

She nodded. "We'll go immediately. I'm sure they're expecting his return. You two, bring this one to the Ministry and get some answers out of him. We'll see if this ring will lead us to the others."

Two aurors nodded and took Theodore with them. Caella floated the item behind her to get to the others and Mr. Weasley approached Harry.

"Well done, Harry. I can't believe you can actually do that cloning spell! That's a sorcerer's skill!"

Harry smiled. "Well, that's what I want to be."

Mr. Weasley smiled and patted him on the back. "We'll take it from here, Harry. Thank you."

Harry nodded and after they said their goodbyes, Harry flew back to his place to make sure Malfoy was alright. At least once Theodore and the others were sucked dry with information, caught and put in Azkaban, Theodore would most likely tell Pansy and the others that Malfoy was a ghost, or at least dead because he had seen him as a ghost and saw that he had vanished. That was a good thing, because believing that Draco was dead meant his friends wouldn't even think about revenge toward the blond. Not that it necessarily mattered since they would soon be caught, hopefully, but it made Harry feel better.

He arrived at the condo and knocked on Malfoy's door. He didn't hear a reply and so he walked in. Malfoy was asleep, with his food tray still on the table by the bed—a table Harry summoned for him before he left. The Butterbeer was only half gone, but Harry was certain it had relaxed Malfoy enough to put him back to sleep. Harry realized that the covers weren't completely over the blond's body so he went to fix it. He approached Malfoy until he was practically face-to-face with him. He saw the deep slow rise of the blond's chest and carefully brought the sheet up around his body. Harry's fingers brushed against Malfoy's shoulder and the Slytherin's eyes opened.

Harry stared at him surprised and cleared his throat, pulling away. "Er, sorry. I didn't mean to wake you."

Malfoy adjusted his position, glancing down at the sheet and then back up at Harry. "What happened?"

"Theodore's with the Ministry now and we believe that he had a Portkey in his pocket that could lead to Pansy and any others hiding out. He mentioned the Greengrasses too."

"No surprise there," Malfoy drawled. "Is that it?"

"For right now. Mr. Weasley said he'd let me know if they found any more. He said they'll all be questioned with Veritaserum and then sent to Azkaban. They won't be executed though, unless of course they try anything else."

Malfoy nodded, and Harry saw him purse his lips. He could tell Malfoy was unsettled.

"Er, there's something you should know."

"What?" Malfoy asked curiously as he stared up at him.

"Theodore didn't know you were involved, or on our side or anything," Harry said and he saw Malfoy's jaw muscles relax. "In fact, he thinks you're dead."

The blond's eyebrows rose up and then he looked away. After a few minutes of silence, Harry realized Malfoy might need time to let it sink in that he really didn't have any friends anymore. But Harry was certain that he sensed Malfoy's gratitude in Theodore thinking he was dead.

"If you need anything, ring the button," Harry said. "I'm going to go rest."

The blond nodded silently and Harry went into his bedroom. He sighed heavily and undressed until he was in clean boxers and then lay down. He hoped all the other Slytherins in hiding would be captured. And hopefully soon Malfoy would be stronger. Harry figured he'd wait a few days, let the information sink in and wait for Malfoy to get healthier before he talked to the blond about something he had been meaning to ask. Harry was a little nervous to suggest it, but hopefully Malfoy would be open to it. He'd just have to wait and see.

XXXXX

A week later…

Malfoy had been getting stronger and stronger each day. He was walking around more, eating more and most of all still being a nuisance at times. He would purposefully make Harry bring him things too often each day. But there was something about Malfoy's attitude that was different. And Harry hoped he could figure out why. News had came from Mr. Weasley by owl a few days after Theodore's capture. The ring had been a Portkey and it had led to Pansy and the Greengrass daughters Daphne and Astoria. Soon their parents were discovered and all of them were questioned and sent to Azkaban. They allowed the Parkinson family to be in one cell and the Greengrass family to be in one cell. Theodore had his own cell, since his parents had been executed and he was seeking revenge for their deaths. He was definitely unsteady mentally and had attempted to kill other aurors earlier (they found out after he was questioned with Veritaserum), not just Malfoy. Other stray Slytherins in hiding that they picked up had their own cells, but overall it had been a success. The worst of the threats was out of the way.

It had been discovered that Theodore and Pansy were planning to get Draco to join with them because they figured that he knew where some illegal items were in the old Malfoy manor. And they also believed that perhaps Malfoy's parents had left something helpful hidden somewhere and they needed him to get into the Malfoy manor. Not only that, but Pansy was planning to secretly give Draco a love potion so he would marry her instead of Daphne, whom he was supposedly set up to marry back in Hogwarts by Malfoy's parents. There had apparently been an agreement and an exchange of gifts and money by Malfoy's parents and the Greengrass parents.

Harry didn't know if Draco was aware of this deal or not. It made sense, being since the Greengrass family and the Malfoys had been the only remaining Pureblood Slytherin families and now the Greengrass family was the only one, but they were locked up in Azkaban. And they were told that one false move and they would be executed. A deal was made that if they did nothing for five years and behaved, the families could go on permanent House Arrest. That would mean they would still have no wands and they would be monitored by the Ministry constantly, but would be able to live in a protected house instead of Azkaban.

The best news was that Harry was still sleeping and his scar hadn't acted up at all. He had had a couple nightmares about Voldemort getting him, but he had never returned to that awful place and always woke up safe in his bed. The Horcrux had been destroyed. Not only that, but Harry was getting much better at sorcery. Ever since he accomplished the difficult cloning spell, he had been much more proactive about studying Malfoy's family book and a couple other ancient parchments about Merlin and other studies. He did a lot of research about Merlin's prodigy, whom no body knew the name of, and other things. And he had a test with the Ministry coming up soon and he was quite confident they'd be impressed.

Harry got up that morning feeling much more relaxed than he had in a while. He was nervous about what he was going to ask Malfoy, but he thought it was a good time to bring it up. So he went to Malfoy's room and after knocking he entered. Malfoy was rummaging through a small fridge that he had requested Harry buy. It contained various flavors of Butterbeer. Harry wasn't at all surprised. Malfoy took a vanilla-flavored Butterbeer from the fridge and went to lie on the bed.

The blond took a sip and then stared at Harry. "Have you got my breakfast ready, Potter?"

"Yeah," Harry said, levitating the tray toward him.

It landed right across Malfoy's lap and the blond picked up the fork and smirked. "You know, Potter, I could get used to you being my House Elf."

Harry ignored the comment and approached the bed. "Actually…speaking of that, I have something to…to tell you."

Malfoy glanced up at him, pausing in his breakfast to stare at him. "Are you sending me back to St. Mungo's Potter because you're sick of bending at my every will?"

"No, no, that's not it," Harry said, stepping closer. "I…want you to know…er…"

He hesitated and looked away.

"Spit it out Potter," Malfoy insisted.

Harry gazed up at him and nodded. "Er, apparently you're healing well enough. And in about another week you should be fully healed, according to what Dr. Chelke said. But…I want you to know that even after you get better, if you want…you know, to stay here you can. I mean, this place is really protected and it would also save us both money to have a roommate. And if you needed help finding a job—"

"I don't need your pitiful help, Potter," Malfoy said, crossing his arms. "I'd be perfectly capable of getting a job on my own."

"I know…I just wanted you to know that I don't mind if you stay here," Harry said quickly.

Malfoy stared at him uncertainly. "And why's that Potter?"

Harry sighed. "Look…I'm only trying to be nice and telling you that you can stay here if you want or if you can't find another place, ok? You don't have to."

Harry was feeling rather embarrassed.

"Just think about it," Harry said gently. Then he turned around again and headed for the door.

"There will have to be rules, Potter," Malfoy spoke up quietly.

Harry turned around and Malfoy also turned to gaze at him. He crossed his arms again.

"If I live here I have the freedom of coming and going as I please and doing whatever I want."

Harry nodded. "Of course. It'd be half your place too. Er, I mean, you'd have to pay half the rent."

"I know that," Malfoy drawled, looking somewhere between confused and tired. "I'll stay because it's convenient, Potter."

Harry nodded. He didn't want to ask him again about whether or not he'd mind dating, but Harry decided to just give Malfoy time to think about it. He knew it was a very hard decision for Malfoy, especially because everything he experienced with Harry was so different from what he grew up with. It was a hard change. And it would be even harder for Malfoy to drop his defensive act and admit when he appreciated Harry's help. Harry wasn't even sure if Malfoy would ever come to terms with their intimacy.

Malfoy might continue to make excuses about that, or not address it at all, if anything did occur between them again. Or maybe there was hope that eventually Malfoy would stop making excuses and just allow the two of them to have a relationship. But Harry was certain it would take time. He was going to give Malfoy space, but at the same time Harry wasn't afraid to stand up for himself. If things didn't work out and they continued to be intimate and Malfoy wasn't showing signs of commitment, Harry would break it off.

Another couple of weeks passed by and Malfoy had fully recovered from the hexes. After the Ministry questioned Theodore, they knew exactly what hexes had been combined to produce such harmful results so they had a potion sent to Draco to make sure he was fully healed. The potion was specifically created to get rid of any remnants of the hexes. Malfoy had stayed even after he was able to function by himself again. Harry hadn't seen him a lot because the blond had been out searching for jobs.

Harry hadn't brought up the subject of them possibly figuring out a relationship, because he figured that Draco would come to him if he was interested. Frankly, Harry was confused at Draco's behavior. If the blond was purposefully being rude and seemingly ungrateful to test Harry's loyalty, why had he slept with him? Harry decided to forget worrying about the unanswered questions he had. He studied his sorcery materials, getting prepared for the test that was coming up. And once it got to be close to dinner, Harry took a shower, dressed in his pants pajamas (without boxers) and put on a loose t-shirt. Then he went into the kitchen to prepare dinner.

While Harry was eating dinner and drinking a nice warm Butterbeer, Malfoy walked in the door.

"Lounging around like a hermit again, Potter?" Malfoy teased, opening the fridge. The blond took out a Butterbeer as well.

"I was studying all day, you know," Harry said, rolling his eyes. "Anyway, did you have any luck finding a job?"

The blond took a large gulp of the Butterbeer and then smirked at him. "That's my business. But trust me, Potter, with my talent it isn't that hard."

Harry watched the blond walk upstairs and he had a feeling that Draco must've gotten a job. He wouldn't have been bragging about himself if he hadn't. Harry had gotten used to Malfoy's sarcasm. It was actually better than the blond's stubborn attitude like the entire time at Embervale when Harry kept saving him then confessed he was attracted to the blond and still Malfoy had barely changed and had only made him more frustrated. As Harry finished his dinner, about twenty minutes later Malfoy walked down the stairs. His hair was still wet and he had no shirt on. The blond wore very expensive pajama bottoms made from something akin to velvet, but Harry wasn't sure what magical material it was. But it was charmed to get thicker in the winter and thinner in the summer. And it looked velvety. That was what he knew.

Malfoy had obviously just gotten out of the shower and for some reason didn't take the time to dry off. There were still beads of water dripping from his hair onto his shoulders and slowly down his chest or back. Harry forced himself to not stare and distracted himself with sipping his Butterbeer. The blond took out another Butterbeer from the fridge, grabbed some food from the fridge (some left over fried dragon sandwich he had bought the previous day) and sat down at the table. Usually Malfoy ate up in his room, but for some reason he was eating at the table while Harry was there. It wasn't that they never spoke or interacted, but it was usually from a distance.

Harry wasn't desperate enough to invade Draco's space and he certainly wasn't going to initiate anything. In fact, Harry was about ready to give up on ever having a relationship with the blond, accepting that they had just had a fling, and move on and find someone else, but tonight was different. Malfoy was acting strange. He was wet, half naked and now seated at the same table as Harry. And as the Slytherin leaned back in his seat, allowing his muscular abdomen to flex, Harry wondered if Malfoy was doing it on purpose. Was he flaunting his body to show that he was in better shape because of whatever job offer he might've gotten (that he was probably going to rub in Harry's face sooner or later)? Or was the blond…

No…I doubt he's trying to seduce me. I mean…maybe I am desperate. It's just, usually he stays out of my way, and I do the same, but now that he's happy about something, I don't know…it sort of seems like he's trying to show off his body. And we've had sex several times before this so…if it is a seduction that means he wants to try to make me initiate the first move. Or maybe this is all in my head!

Harry inwardly sighed. Malfoy was too confusing sometimes. If the blond was in a very good mood it was plausible he wanted to do something beyond talking, but why wouldn't he go out to a bar? Why come back to the condo and perhaps try to seduce Harry? He hoped it wasn't because Draco thought Harry was easy. The only way to find out if he was imagining it or not was to pretend like he didn't notice and maybe subtly show signs. Harry was trying to think of an idea and adjusted his position in his chair, while pretending to be more concerned with eating dinner, but his knee bumped the table and his Butterbeer tipped over, splashing his shirt.

Harry jumped up, surprised as the front of his shirt was soaked in Butterbeer. He hadn't expected it and hadn't had time to use his wand. He picked the Butterbeer up, looking down at his stained shirt.

"Great job, Potter," Malfoy drawled, shaking his blond hair from his face. Droplets of water came down onto the floor and Harry pretended not to notice.

"Shut up, Malfoy," Harry said. He summoned napkins to clean up the spill then went to get a fresh Butterbeer.

As he grabbed the Butterbeer, glancing down at his shirt, an idea struck him. Harry hesitated before going back to the table and set his Butterbeer down. He was hoping Malfoy would say something so that way it wouldn't be obvious if he did what he was thinking of doing.

The blond smirked, after swallowing food. "You look ridiculous Potter. But it's a good look for you."

Harry inwardly felt victorious, but he just gave the blond an annoyed look. Then he casually took off his shirt, balled it up and threw it aside into the empty chair next to him. He glanced up to see Malfoy briefly staring at him, but he couldn't read the blond's expression. Harry drank some Butterbeer and pretended to concentrate on dinner.

"So, Potter, when are you going to tell your friends you're gay?"

Harry gazed up at him and saw the blond's smirk and how Malfoy raked his hand through his hair.

"I don't know. Whenever I feel like it. Why do you care?"

The blond shrugged. "I just want to see their reaction."

Harry gave him a look. "Well if I tell them anytime soon I'll be sure to let you know how they reacted."

Malfoy smirked again and took another sip of his Butterbeer. The blond moved in his seat and Harry could see that one side of his pants had slipped down and he could see part of his hip. Harry tried desperately not to allow his body to react. He wasn't wearing any boxers or anything beneath his pants so any arousal would be noticeable. Harry had to change the subject.

"So why are you so happy all of a sudden?" Harry asked bluntly. "Did you get a job offer or something?"

After setting his drink down, Malfoy adjusted his position again by propping up one leg on the chair and then he placed his hands behind his head.

"Actually, I did Potter."

"What'd you get?" Harry asked, ignoring the blond's bare chest and outline of his crotch which was more noticeable since he put up his leg.

"I got a Quidditch position on a very well known team, and no not the team you sent the letter to. A much better team that I got with my own skills which I showed in person," he said smugly as Harry raised an eyebrow. "And guess what position I got, Potter?"

Harry watched his smirk grow and then shrugged. "Seeker?"

"You got it, Potter. And I'm going to prove to the world that I'm the best Seeker there ever was, even better than the famous Harry Potter."

"First off, I doubt that anybody cares about Hogwart's Quidditch team. It wasn't a professional team. And second off, I really don't care because as much as I enjoy and respect Quidditch, my passion is in sorcery. So have fun with that career," Harry said standing up.

He really couldn't stay there any longer in case his body gave anything away. But at the same time, he really wanted to know if Malfoy was trying to subtly get Harry to make a move on him—to initiate more sex. Frankly, he didn't want to have sex with the blond again unless he was hopeful that Malfoy might want a relationship with him.

"Jealous Potter?" Malfoy asked smugly.

"No," Harry said, turning around.

Malfoy got up out of his chair and slowly approached him. Harry watched him but didn't move backward. The blond approached until they were inches apart.

"You sure, Potter?" Malfoy asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Yes," Harry said, looking him in the eye. He swallowed and stared into Malfoy's face.

Malfoy finally crossed his arms over his chest and yet Harry was still feeling hotter than usual.

"So tell me Potter, how did you manage to trick Theodore?"

Harry blinked with surprise at the change of topic. "I used the cloning spell to make a clone copy of you. He must've had the place charmed with something that could sense magic because he came shortly after. That's why he thought you were dead. He thought the clone was your ghost."

Malfoy's smirk had faded and he stared into Harry's face firmly. Harry was feeling rather uncomfortable under his scrutiny.

"You know, Potter, I'm still trying to figure out why you even bothered catching Theodore?"

"Because he would've come after you again," Harry said.

"I don't need you to be my mother, Potter," Malfoy said, sounding bitter. "I can handle myself."

"Well maybe not all the time!" Harry exclaimed. "It's not like anyone can watch their own backs all day every day, Malfoy. Look, just because I helped you out so you'd be safe from Theodore doesn't mean you owe me anything if that's what you're worried about. It's not like I ever asked for anything in return any of the times I saved you! I could've let you die when those beasts got to you, but I didn't! I risked my own safety to make sure you didn't die and on top of that I took care of you while you were on bed-rest, completely helpless, this whole time after your own Slytherin buddy attacked you! If you don't want me to help you anymore, fine! But stop denying that I saved you when I didn't have to!"

Harry wheeled around, once again frustrated by Malfoy's attitude.

"Why the hell did you save me, Potter?" Malfoy snapped. "From those beasts? Was it really because you didn't want me to die, or was it the fear that someone would find out you left me there?"

Harry stopped and turned back around.

"You have got to be bloody joking!" Harry shouted. "Haven't I shown you enough times that I'm sincere? I told you already a thousand times, but you're just not listening. I like you. I do nice things for people that I like. Is that simple enough for you? I wrote that confession and everything and saved your life and you're still asking me why?" Harry asked incredulously.

"People can say and do lots of things Potter," Malfoy exclaimed. "That doesn't mean anything."

Harry's eyes widened. It suddenly hit him. Malfoy was testing him…maybe he had been testing Harry's loyalty all along. Malfoy grew up in a household and environment of lies and cunning trickery. Of course words didn't mean anything to him. Malfoy didn't really know what truth was because his parents were always manipulating him and his friends were always telling lies. And the blond probably couldn't believe that Harry was really being sincere.

Perhaps everything Malfoy had done, from pretending he didn't owe Harry anything from Harry saving his life, to Harry's confession of liking him and Malfoy acting like a jerk, to even recently when Malfoy wanted to go separate ways before the Tristan incident and just forget about everything that happened. The blond had been struggling with whether or not Harry was being sincere and perhaps he had been purposefully acting stand-offish and like an arrogant jerk and didn't care in order to test Harry—to see if Harry was really being truthful.

Harry approached the blond and Malfoy still had his arms crossed. Harry walked until they were less than a foot apart. He gazed into Malfoy's face and the blond stared at him with furrowed eyebrows, looking uncertain and suspicious.

"I said that I didn't want you to leave me when we were out there and you were dying from the poison…because I didn't want you to die. Because I like you," Harry said softly. "And that's why I asked you to stay. If you don't believe me, you can find some Veritaserum and question me, I don't care. But I'm being sincere, Malfoy. I've always been honest. I haven't changed what I've said despite you acting like you didn't care that I saved you or confessed to liking you," Harry said. "But if you want me to prove it to you then I will."

Malfoy's eyes narrowed. "Go on then, Potter."

Harry walked toward him and Malfoy began to uncross his arms, watching him suspiciously.

"Don't try anything funny Po—"

Harry wrapped his arms around the blond's neck and pressed their lips together. Malfoy tried to fight him by struggling, but Harry noticed the blond didn't even take out his wand. Harry just kept their lips pressed together, even though Malfoy wasn't initiating anything. Malfoy needed to know that Harry was being sincere. After some minutes of Harry keeping his lips pressed to Malfoy's rather harshly, he began to move his lips slowly over the blond's. Malfoy didn't seem to be fighting him.

Harry kept his eyes closed, knowing that if he were to pull away and open his eyes it might ruin the moment. He wasn't going to let go unless Malfoy forced him to. So he kissed the blond multiple times and soon he was lost in the feeling. Harry's body was reacting quickly.

Harry didn't even become aware that the other pair of lips against his was moving until sometime later. Harry's lips moved in an intimate rhythm and the lips beneath his were moving as well. Harry kept his arms wrapped securely around Malfoy's neck, not intending to let go. However, Harry allowed one hand to trail down Malfoy's back, pressing his palm to the blond's bare back. Soon their mouths were moving passionately over one another's and Harry couldn't get enough. It was so much better to feel it when not intoxicated. And knowing that neither one of them were drunk this time made him that much more excited.

Pressing his body up against Malfoy's, Harry inwardly groaned. Harry continued to kiss Malfoy as he began to caress the blond's back. He did this for some time and Harry didn't realize there was a hand on his own back until he felt fingers on his pants. Harry didn't open his eyes, but was very aware of the rush of cool air that hit him as his pants easily crumpled at his feet. He was wearing nothing underneath that and he could feel his arousal and his naked body as the cool air touched his skin. And Harry realized that he was still in his kitchen.

Suddenly, Harry felt his body being led backward until his back hit something hard. He was pretty sure it was the counter by the sink. Harry led the hand that was on Malfoy's back down to the blond's silk pants and tugged on them. They slowly came off Malfoy's hips and the blond moved his body, helping so the material slid off his body. Harry realized though that Malfoy had boxers underneath. Harry didn't even have much time to think about going for the blond's boxers as he was pushed harder up against the counter. He felt a hand on his leg and Harry tightened his grip around Malfoy's neck as his leg was lifted up. He knew to wrap it around Malfoy's waist as the blond guided it there. Harry's fingers slid down Malfoy's back toward the boxers and soon realized the boxers weren't there anymore. His fingers slid across Malfoy's bare hip and part of his rear.

The blond released a groan and Harry's leg was lifted up even as his back was shoved completely against the counter. Harry almost lost the rhythm of their kiss when he felt Malfoy's arousal at his entrance. The blond began easing himself inside without much warning and Harry tensed, feeling a slight throb of pain. The hand on Malfoy's hip tightened and Harry felt Malfoy's hand on the back of his thigh. And then there was pleasure as Malfoy went completely inside him. Harry groaned as he felt the blond move in, pushing Harry against the cold granite of the counter and then pulled back out. There were so many more sensations that Harry felt being sober: he could smell Draco's shampoo, his skin, and could feel the perspiration on the blond's skin as it became more moist with each thrust. And then there was the pleasure…

Harry instinctively slipped his tongue between Malfoy's lips as he felt his stomach quiver as the waves of pleasure came over him. It felt so good each time Malfoy came back in. Despite that Harry's back was constantly hitting against the counter, Harry had never felt so excited. It wasn't just the sex itself, but being aware and he and Draco were being intimate, and they were sober, and both naked in the kitchen…all of it was rushing through his head as Malfoy moved his hips, thrusting in and out.

As Malfoy continued to rock his hips forward, and Harry breathed heavily, groaning softly every now and again, Harry's back started to get a little sore. He thought about how nice it would be to lie on something soft. He grasped onto Draco tightly and suddenly they vanished from the kitchen. They reappeared upstairs, landing on Malfoy's bed. Malfoy released a deep groan and Harry thought perhaps that would make him stop, but the blond grabbed Harry's leg again and he wrapped it around Malfoy's waist. In less than a second, Malfoy was rocking in and out, gripping his legs while moving atop him. And Harry moaned with pleasure, feeling sweat trickle at the back of his neck. He could feel the soft sheets beneath his back as Malfoy continued to thrust. Harry soon wrapped both legs around the blond's waist, feeling the blond's back muscles move tightly with each thrust.

Harry's lips trailed up the blond's neck and toward his ear. Harry's fingers also slid up Malfoy's back and the blond groaned softly and pressed his body more firmly on Harry's. Harry's lips kissed the blond's face gently and sought out his lips. The second their lips touched, Malfoy parted his and slid his tongue into Harry's mouth, caressing his as he grasped Harry's leg tighter. The angle changed and Harry's neck strained backward as he felt his entire body quiver from the pleasure. He felt his excitement build until he thought he couldn't take it anymore. Their tongues clashed and Malfoy kept firm hold of his thigh as the thrusting became harder and soon the bed was rocking with the rhythm. Harry let out a gasp and then a groan as he felt his climax. Malfoy followed soon after and groaned by Harry's ear as he released his orgasm.

After a moment, Malfoy slid off from on top of him and collapsed onto the bed. Harry breathed deeply and finally opened his eyes. He turned his head just to make sure that he hadn't imagined anything. Malfoy's eyes were still closed but his face was flushed and his chest was heaving up and down. It was the first time they had really had sex sober. Harry didn't know how Malfoy was going to react, but he felt this proved that Malfoy was attracted to him. Now he felt he understood more of how Draco felt and why he had acted so frustratingly stubborn. He was testing Harry because the blond had never known anything but lies and manipulation.

It was a tense few moments but Harry heard Malfoy move eventually. Harry shut his eyes, breathing heavily as he waited.

"Potter?" he heard the blond's harsh voice near him.

Harry opened his eyes and turned his head. "What?"

Malfoy stared at him. His hair was still wet from sweat so it clung to his forehead messily and his cheeks were still slightly pink. He was still breathing deeply and his body was uncovered, like Harry's. Harry just stared at him without revealing any emotion on his face. If Malfoy started an argument Harry would just assume it was pointless to try to start a relationship with him. And if he made any excuses, Harry would have to accept that Malfoy would probably never admit to being attracted to him. He was prepared for the worst.

"If you even think about telling your friends any of this," Malfoy warned, without finishing the threat.

He didn't say it in his usual hate-tone and Harry just stared at him in confusion. Slowly, he got up and leaned on his elbow.

"Malfoy, if I had wanted to tell my friends, don't you think I would have by now?" Harry said. "Besides, I'm still even afraid to tell them I'm gay let alone that I've had sex with you."

"Good, Potter. And as long as they never find out about it, I won't have to hurt you," Draco said, staring at him.

Harry realized that this was a start. Malfoy wasn't throwing him out of his room or saying how disgusted he was or saying that it was all Harry's fault. At least this time, there was no denial of what they had done. And while Malfoy didn't exactly admit he was attracted to Harry, he certainly wasn't going to argue.

"Trust me. I don't want them to know," Harry said honestly.

"That makes two of us," Malfoy said, lying down.

Harry watched the blond get up and go into the bathroom. He lay there wondering if it was really possible that they hadn't gotten into an argument. And Malfoy had seemed to accept that they had had sex, sober no less. Perhaps there was hope after all.

XXXXX

Five months later…

The Weasley home was bustling with people, being since it was Christmas Eve. Harry managed to squeeze past Charlie and his wife, Cassandra, in order to find his friends. The table was laid out with Mrs. Weasley's feast of turkey, filleted dragon meat, mashed pumpkin potatoes, among all the other delicious foods she made. There were many different drinks and tons of people were there to celebrate. Ron was with his girlfriend Almira (from Ravenclaw, who he had been going out with almost eight months now) and Hermione was there (her boyfriend was on a trip with his family and couldn't make it) and Ginny was there with her boyfriend Cyrus. It made Harry feel almost disappointed at night being able to bring Draco, although he knew what chaos that would create.

Malfoy had decided to stay home and although they weren't exactly a couple—for Draco never admitted to being in a relationship—they had been living together for a while now. And though they didn't go out on official dates, they normally ate dinner together at the house and Malfoy wasn't shy about having sex regularly either. Harry didn't complain; he knew it would take a long time for Malfoy to come around and the fact that Malfoy was still living with him and acting decent to him told him enough. It wasn't perfect, but he couldn't expect that.

Bill, Charlie, and even Percy (who still hadn't gained all of his memories back and probably never would) were there. Bill and his fiancé Cecelia were due to be married the next spring. Harry was of course invited. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley had never looked happier. At least Hermione's boyfriend was absent so she was technically single like Harry. It comforted him slightly. It made him slightly envious that everyone had to think he was single because he couldn't tell them the truth. At least not yet…not for a long time.

There were others there that Harry knew, such as Remus and Tonks and some aurors that Harry had met. Hermione's parents were there along with parents of Almira, Cassandra and Cecelia. Altogether, it was quite a large celebration. Harry saw Hermione waving to him and he went over and sat down next to her.

"Alright everyone we can begin eating!" Mrs. Weasley announced. "And then we'll have dessert and give presents! Just remember not to open them until tomorrow," she said smiling brightly.

Everyone cheered and Harry smiled, feeling grateful that he had people to call his family. Fred and George were of course still up to no good. They were planning to expand their joke shop and go world-wide. Fred had a girlfriend with him, but George had just recently broken up with his so he was content to stuff his face with food and Butterbeer to forget. They still joked around like old times though. Hermione actually pulled out a fake eyeball from her plate, which Fred and George had planted earlier, and screamed loudly. Instead of being scolded, everyone just laughed it off including Mrs. Weasley. Although she did send warning looks down to the two twins.

Harry was happy to catch up with Remus, since he hadn't seen the older man in a long time. And he secretly told Remus about what occurred with Dumbledore and Voldemort and how everything worked out alright.

"I'm grateful you're alright, Harry," Remus smiled, putting a hand on Harry's head. "I'm sure your parents and Sirius are watching out for you."

Harry smiled weakly and nodded, not really wanting to think about Sirius or his parents. It didn't get him down too much. After they ate a lot of good food, there was a coffee and tea break before dessert and presents were to be served. Harry took that opportunity to whisper to Ron and Hermione that he needed to see them upstairs in a secluded room. They all got away and went upstairs to Ron's room.

"This is so exciting, huh? I can't believe you're going to move out on your own Ron," Hermione said as they shut the door.

"Er, yeah…I figure it'd be nice so I don't always have to go over to Almira's place. And you know, she might move in with me at some point," he said as the tips of his ears turned red.

Hermione smiled brightly. "I see. So what about you, Harry? Anyone special?"

"Er…actually that's what I need to talk to you about."

"There's someone?" Hermione asked curiously.

"Er…sort of, but it's not about the person more than…well, just something I have to tell you."

Ron and Hermione exchanged glances. Ron looked more uneasy than she did.

"It's not like…a vampire girl or anything, right?" he said, looking queasy.

"What? No, no, nothing like that, it's just…," Harry hesitated, looking up at them. "Er…it's about my, you know, preference."

Hermione's eyes widened and Ron just stared at him confused.

"Huh?" Ron asked, bewildered.

"You mean, you're…," Hermione trailed off.

Harry nodded slowly. "Yeah. I'm…er, gay."

Ron's eyes practically bulged out of his head. "You're…into blokes?" he asked hoarsely.

"Er, yeah," Harry said, looking uncomfortable. "Look, I know it's a shock. Trust me, it's a shock to me too."

"When? I mean…you never said…," Hermione trailed off.

"I know. I mean, I found out recently. It was when I went to the Embervale academy," Harry said without thinking.

He suddenly realized what he said and prayed that Hermione wasn't smart enough to guess. Hermione's eyes widened and her mouth opened into an 'o' shape.

"So that's why you didn't write much. It's because you found a…someone there, right?" she asked.

Harry licked his lips nervously and nodded. "Er, right."

"Oh good. I thought maybe something had gone on with you and Malfoy."

Harry's heart skipped a beat. "Er…gone on?" he asked.

"Yes, I was worried you two had started fighting again or causing trouble, but it was because you were dating someone!"

"Yeah…that's right," Harry lied. "Anyway, I thought it was time you two knew."

"I can't believe it," Ron whispered loudly. "I mean…I never thought you'd…I just…with Quidditch and everything…"

"Oh Ron, that's so stereotypical!" Hermione exclaimed, hitting him on the arm. She blushed and then cleared her throat. "Well…whoever he is, Harry, I'm happy for you. Really, you don't have to be afraid to tell us these things. We're your friends."

She gave Ron a look and he just nodded reluctantly. Harry could tell Ron wasn't taking the news as lightly.

"So…er…how come he's not here?" Ron asked uncertainly.

"Oh, well, it's nothing serious right now. I'm just dating someone, that's all," Harry said, waving it away. "Anyway, that's what I wanted to tell you."

Ron and Hermione both nodded and Hermione gave him a smile of acceptance. Ron looked like he had swallowed the eyeball from Hermione's plate, but Harry hoped eventually Ron would be comfortable with it.

"Let's go down for some dessert ok. And uh, Harry, you can tell us how your sorcery is going," Hermione said.

Harry was grateful that she was able to take care of the awkward silence and Harry breathed a sigh of relief. They went back downstairs and while Ron still appeared unsettled by the news, giving that he began chugging down a Butterbeer when they got back to the table, he quickly forgot it once his mom's famous double chocolate fizzing cake came floating out onto the table. That and Butterbeer, tea and coffee was being passed around. It felt good to finally have revealed something to his friends. At least they didn't suspect Malfoy was involved in any way.

During dessert, Ron looked at Harry and then looked away uneasily. But finally he leaned over toward him.

"Er, Harry, is it true that Malfoy is going to be on the French professional Quidditch team?"

"I think so, yeah," Harry said, glancing up at him.

Ron turned slightly green and then sat back in his chair, murmuring something inaudible. Hermione just shook her head and took a bite of her cake.

"So Harry my boy, tell us about your sorcery studies!" Mr. Weasley said loudly.

"Yeah, how bloody awesome is it? Can you turn cement to dust or blow someone's head off with one shot?" Fred asked.

Mrs. Weasley gave him a stern look, but many people around them laughed. Harry smiled and shrugged.

"Well, I passed my sorcery test so I'm an official sorcerer. Now I just have to keep up with my studies."

"That'll be so cool! Especially if another war starts coming around. All we'd have to do is send you out there and you'd kill them all in one blow!" George exclaimed.

Harry laughed and shook his head. "I don't think I'm that good yet."

The party went on for a while and Harry found out that Hermione's new job was working with muggle-born wizards and witches and helping them transition into magic. She traveled to do that job too, going to different parts of the world. And she enjoyed it a lot. Ginny had decided that she still enjoyed writing. And although she too was still living at home, she hoped to get a place with Cyrus in the next year. Mrs. Weasley was skeptical about it, probably since Ginny was the only female and she was the youngest, but everyone seemed to be doing good. Ron too was in a Quidditch program on a team, but he hadn't made it to the professional league yet. That was part of the reason Ron was probably upset that Malfoy got onto a professional team before he did. It would definitely be a war match if Ron ever did get onto a professional team and his team fought Malfoy's. That would be a very unique match…

After dessert and presents being exchanged, Harry said goodnight to all his friends and thanked Mr. and Mrs. Weasley and also gave Remus and Tonks a hug goodbye and promised to keep in touch.

"Yeah, no becoming anti-social and disappearing just because you're a sorcerer now," Fred joked.

"I won't, I promise. I'll only live in isolation for half my life," Harry joked back.

Fred grinned and ruffled his hair. He said goodbye to everyone else, including Ginny who gave him a hug too. And then he was off to his house with bags of gifts and food. When he got there, Malfoy was plopped in the living room with a Butterbeer watching old Quidditch plays on their new wizard TV. It was very different from a muggle TV because it could change sizes so if you wanted a smaller or larger screen. Plus, it could float and change channels by itself and do a number of different things. Malfoy looked up when Harry entered.

"How was the lame Christmas party at the Weasel's?" Malfoy drawled.

Harry just smiled. "Well, I brought home lots of great food. You hungry?"

Malfoy shrugged and stood up to examine what Harry had brought home.

"You could've come in disguise or something."

Malfoy snorted as he rummaged through the containers, levitating different ones out of the bag. "Please Potter. Christmas is such a lame holiday. The only thing it's good for is having a break from training and being able to sit and do nothing but drink Butterbeer or go to a pub."

"Which most aren't open on Christmas anyway."

Malfoy gave him a look and then chose the dragon meat and the mashed pumpkin potatoes. He levitated them out onto the counter, murmured a spell and they were steaming hot again.

"So…I told Ron and Hermione I'm gay."

Malfoy glanced up at him and raised an eyebrow. "Did Weasel keel over and die?"

"No, but he certainly looked like he wanted to."

Malfoy smirked. "Figures. And I take it Granger was all too supportive."

"For the most part yes. She was surprised, but not as overwhelmed."

Malfoy just shrugged as he sat down. "It's a shame no one died of shock."

Harry just shook his head. He waited a few minutes as Malfoy ate before he spoke again.

"I got you a gift," Harry said.

Malfoy had seated himself at the table and glanced up at him. "A gift, Potter?"

"Yeah, it's the spirit of the holiday. Getting free things," Harry said shrugging. "Do you want it now or do you want to wait until tomorrow?"

Malfoy rolled his eyes and sighed. "I guess just give it to me now. Might as well get it over with. Besides, I'm going to go practice Quidditch training in the nearby park tomorrow."

Harry just nodded and then summoned the present from his room. He then levitated it toward Malfoy. The blond opened it up and Harry saw his eyes widen. It was a small upgrade from the broom Harry had—the newest broom there was: The Elixir1000X. There weren't many copies of it, because it was still new and the most wanted broom because it could do all sorts of moves. It was protected from most hexes and jinxes, even the more powerful ones. And it was very easily maneuverable.

Malfoy seemed speechless and Harry was glad about it.

"I'm sure it'll help you while you're training."

Malfoy marveled at it and ran his hands down the length of it. Harry smiled, glad that he could please him. He knew Malfoy wouldn't be able to get the broom, because there were only so many made per year. And it was extremely expensive. It wouldn't be released completely until the spring because of how advanced it was. But that was one good thing about being famous. And it definitely awed Malfoy and that's what Harry was hoping for.

Malfoy glanced at him briefly and then looked away. The blond didn't know how to say thank you very well or show appreciation, but by the expression on his face when he saw it, Harry knew the blond was grateful. And he didn't want to put too much pressure on him.

"Well, I'm going to go to bed. I've had a long day and ate too much food. Feel free to finish all the leftovers. Goodnight."

Harry walked up to his room, sighing heavily. It was still a disappointment to see that Malfoy wasn't completely opened up. The blond was definitely improving and Harry had seen signs of it when he had saved his life, but he was beginning to lose patience. He went to sleep, since usually they slept in separate beds unless they had sex, which was still rather consistent. But that night Harry was too tired so he just went to sleep. And he slept in a lot longer than he planned.

When he woke up, he went into Malfoy's room to see that he had already left for training. Harry then trudged down the stairs, itching for some tea. He spent most of the day just lounging around and taking a break from studies. It was nice to have a holiday, though he wished Draco was there. The blond came home a few hours later and Harry prepared them some lunch.

Harry was content to eat with Malfoy's presence, asking him about his training and such. But soon after eating, Malfoy said he'd be going out for a little more practice and wouldn't be back until late. Harry nodded reluctantly and then went upstairs to take a shower. He took a rather long shower just thinking about things. And then once he was in his boxers, he went downstairs for a Butterbeer. He stopped suddenly in the kitchen when he saw an object covered with a sheet on the kitchen table. Harry approached it uncertainly. It hadn't been there before he took a shower. Had Malfoy put it there before he left?

Curiously, Harry lifted the sheet. What he saw made him gasp aloud. He stared wide-eyed at the beautiful white Ash Demon inside a large cage. There were instructions floating just outside the cage and in flashing charmed letters read: How To Care For An Ash Demon. Harry opened it up and read some things, like how the cage could expand to up to five times its size, about as big as Harry's bed, to give the Ash Demon a lot of space. Also, there were two parts to the cage: the land, with tons of plants, food, flowers, etc. and then the water side where the Ash Demon could go under about five or so feet of water and nest in one of their favorite flowers called Rozalindas. They looked similar to muggle Lotus flowers, only with longer, smoother petals and curled up automatically when the Ash Demon snuggled inside of it.

Harry was so overwhelmed with emotions. Draco had remembered that Harry loved Ash Demons and he particular had bought the ivory one that Harry had been attached to. The little dragon walked up to the cage and Harry opened it, allowing the creature to walk onto his hand. It made a sound and Harry pet its smooth soft head. This was definitely Draco's way of saying thank you for his present. Ash Demons were no tiny price either, especially because they were a very rare hybrid creature.

As Harry stared down at the Ash Demon, he knew that things would work out between him and Draco. It had taken time for Draco to open up this far, but he had shown signs of feeling the same as Harry did toward him. Harry would still have to patient, and it was possible Draco might never want to have anything to do with his friends, but he sort of liked having a mysterious side. If ever his friends wanted to know about his boyfriend, Draco could take on a disguise, if he wanted. It wasn't impertinent for them to know. Harry was just happy they were finally together. It wasn't perfect, but it was as close as it was going to get with someone like Draco. But there was definitely hope for improvement. And the Ash Demon was proof. Harry smiled, hoping that Draco was enjoying his gift. And perhaps when the blond came home, Harry would thank him properly.

Grabbing a Butterbeer, Harry took his Ash Demon up to his room happily. His life had never been perfect; in fact he had never truly been happy. But for once, after living with Draco and after everything they had been through, Harry realized he was happy. For some reason Draco was all he needed, even though the blond was still sarcastic and frustrating. They both had a lot in common. And even though Draco might not admit it, they needed one another. And Harry was quite certain that things would only get better from there.

THE END

Thank to reviewers:

Kai'sgrl—hey, aw that's so sweet that you don't want my stories to end. You know, I usually don't want them to end either, but I always feel too guilty when it takes me forever to finish them because readers want to know what's going to happen. So sadly that must end. Oh no! I would never kill Draco off, don't worry! I'm glad you liked this, thanks so much!

Momo Yuki—yes sadly an ending! I know Theodore's such as ass, but he got what he deserved, hehe! Thanks for sticking with me!

slytheringrl17—hey! Glad you're still enjoying it. Sorry it took a little while to update but finally I got it finished. Now on to other unfinished stories, hehe! Thanks again!

HyperMint—Wow, really? Starting college? Yeah, it's a big scary step at first, but seriously make the most of it. I'm actually afraid because I'm graduating mid August. School is relatively easy, I mean if you don't have to work and pay bills. I stayed at home for the most part to save money, but don't worry college is fun and that's where you meet a lot of new people. Hehe! Anyway, thanks for sticking with it! I know it's not the same sort of get-together ending like Captivation, but this story is a darker more realistic version. So they're still "together" just not as a couple who goes out together on regular dates and such. But it still ended on a good note! Thanks for sticking with me!

The Aqua Mirror—Aw, thanks so much! I'm very glad you think that I keep them in good character. I'm very relieved to hear that! Yeah, Draco's a very complex character and that's why I decided to write a darker and more realistic depiction of their relationship versus Captivation, which I think is more light-hearted than Draco would really be. So I'm glad you're not upset that this isn't a perfect happily-ever-after. And I'm very flattered that you enjoy my work. I am trying to finish the rest of my unfinished HP stories, so hopefully I'll be able to work on something new soon. Thanks so much for that compliment! I'm glad you stuck with me!

and Missy Padfoot—hehe! Yeah, I usually end most stories on a happy note and this is the happiest it'll get considering it's a darker version of Harry and Draco's relationship. But I think hopefully still realistic, considering Draco's personality and how he grew up. But yes, they still sort of "got together" in the end and there's hope that things will get better so unfortunately you'll just have to imagine what'll happen next. Hehe! But thank you for sticking with me and I hope you enjoyed it!

Thanks all for sticking with me to the end. Yes, this is it for Pure Rhapsody. Like I said, not a happily-ever-after like Captivation, but it is a darker and more realistic depiction of Draco and Harry, I think. Still, it ended on a good note, as usual. And thank you everyone for sticking with me through several stories, including this one, which I know took forever to finish, but thank you all for being so patient!