The morning air was crisp and cool as Draco and his teammates took the field. Shame, he would have preferred a slight overcast, but he certainly wasn't going to let it effect his plans. He didn't even bother looking the other captain in the eye when they shook hands. Instead, he contemplated the differences between them; Potter's fingers were rough and tanned, while he was thin and paler than usual. It would have been so easy to fake sick today, with the rest of the school down here at the match, and work on that ridiculous cabinet instead.
Except, he really didn't want to.
He was sick, he realized, as he kicked off from the ground. Sick of living like this.
He watched the game happen below him out of vague interest. Ignoring his seeker duties, he was floating lazily upward, higher than the stands, higher than he'd flown for any other game, until he thought he was level with the first turrets of Hogwarts Castle.
The first thing he noticed was that it was colder up here. Or maybe he was imagining that.
He wasn't frightened either, and that shocked him too.
But the emotion was short lived as he was once again enveloped by a sense of overwhelming calm, and he took one last glance downward before he let go of his broom.
While the blond drifted further and further from the match, the brunette below him watched his actions. What was he doing? He didn't honestly hope to see the snitch from up there, did he?
Harry followed him upwards a bit, trying to appear as though he wasn't watching. He glanced down at the game again, saw somebody score a goal – though from this height the action was all just a blur of red and green – and looked up in time to see Malfoy begin a rapid, uncontrolled decent toward the pitch.
Several thoughts hit him at once. Malfoy was – much as he hated to admit it – a great flyer. How could he have fallen off his broom in such good whether?
And then, seeing the abandoned broom simply floating there, Harry realized with a sickening lurch that Draco hadn't fallen.
He shut his eyes, waiting for the ground to hit him. But the crash never came. Instead, he was jolted from reality by a sharp pull in his shoulder, and opened his eyes in time to see Potter pull out of a steep dive.
"Stupid," he muttered, as he was laid gently on the grass. "Why would you do that?"
They brought him too the hospital wing, and attempted to talk to him, but he only rolled over in his little bed and stared at the blank wall. Trust Potter to ruin his perfect plans.
They chose to sedate him when they found his scars. He didn't fight it, but he did tell them that he'd never meant to kill himself that way. If he had, he would have cut lengthwise.
"May I see him?"
Madam Pomfrey looked up from her notes and raised her eyebrows. "Mr. Malfoy is sedated. You may come back later when he is awake."
She returned to her file, ignoring Harry. He turned to leave, but something he couldn't explain was keeping him from leaving the room. When he was sure the medi-witch wasn't looking in his direction, he crossed the ward anyway, and disappeared behind the divider they had put up around Draco's bed.
He sat there for a minute, and it occurred to him that even if he waited until Draco woke up, there was very little chance that Draco would tell him why he'd done that anyway. So he stood up again, and started to walk out.
"Nobel Gryffindors," he heard, and at first the voice was so faint he thought it was just the curtains shaking as he passed them. "Always have to be the heroes."
"I saved your life, Malfoy."
"I never asked to be saved." The blank wall in front of him was far from interesting, but he couldn't bring himself to look at the boy standing there with him.
"I don't understand."
"What isn't there to understand?"
Finally, he shifted and looked up into those brilliant green eyes. "I'm tired, Potter. I'm tired of living like this."
Those eyes bored into his. "You don't have to –"
"We can help you."
He didn't ask how he knew.
An hour later, and he doesn't know why, but he's told Potter everything. About that stupid cabinet, and the vow, about how he knew he was being set up to fail. There were tears stinging his eyes, and he turns away to wipe them on the sheets before Potter can see.
"So do you understand now?"
Harry nods, and reaches out to brush a strand of hair from his face. He jerks away from the touch, and retreats once again behind the icy walls he's created over the years.
"As if it's your fault." The snide remark isn't heartfelt, but he can tell the compassion in Harry's voice is.
And, still without knowing why, he turns so he can face Harry, throws his arms around the Gryffindor's neck, and cries.
Gently, Harry pushes blond locks aside and presses a kiss to the other boy's forehead. Draco is sleeping again, and Harry lays him back against the pillows. He still has one pale, thin arm wrapped loosely around his shoulders, and he feels no immediate need to move it.
Looking on Draco's sleeping form, he tries to match it against the boy he met in Madam Malkin's five years before. But Draco doesn't look anything like him; rather, the tousled hair, and slightly parted lips turned upwards in the slightest of smiles – he's never seen those lips smile before – make him look like a fallen angel. He smiles at the irony.
Gently, he lays his head down on Draco's shoulder. He believes that even the fallen can climb to the light.