AN: Hello all. Yes, surprising I'm alive isn't it? I'm ridonkulously busy so I will continue writing this fic until it's done, even if there are mistakes and such throughout the earlier chapters. That doesn't mean I don't read your feedback or take it into account! As I said I am planning on rewriting this once I'm done and making it all sleep and purdy, but for now I will get the rest of the chapters out so we can have ourselves a nice and complete fic. I like your feedback and I like hearing about how you guys feel about the story!
It had been quite some time since they had arrived at the hospital wing, yet Harry had barely moved an inch. He had been sitting next to the bed on which Draco laid for days on end now. Hermione had brought him homework from all of his classes for the first few days, but after seeing what state Harry was in she started just doing the work for him. Ron, although jealous that she refused to even help with his own homework, didn't complain about this. They both visited Harry and Draco regularly, though when they did the Gryffindor barely spoke and Draco's state remained unchanged. That wasn't to say that Harry was doing nothing. He spent every waking moment trying to think of a way to bring Draco back, and whenever he found an idea that seemed promising he'd tell Hermione straight away. She had a knack for finding information the quickest, and Harry felt he couldn't leave his mate's side anyway. It was frustrating to see her come up empty every time, and he had to fight hard to remember not to take out his disappointment on her. He was waiting for her to look another potion up, though he was starting to feel the disappointment of having failed again before she even returned with the news. There had to be a way. There just had to be.
"Harry" Hermione started, approaching him slowly and sitting beside him. "Anything?" he whispered, his voice hoarse, eyes turning slowly on to her. He watched her shake her head, then turned his gaze back to the blonde whose hand he had kept a constant grip on. "Harry. I'm not sure we might ever find a cure for this poison." she started slowly. She had tried so hard to find something, but there was nothing anywhere about treating something like this. " not poison" Harry mumbled under his breath, barely hearing himself. "What?" Hermione questioned, eying him with a confused expression. The boy didn't answer, and Hermione sighed and snapped her fingers in front of his eyes, drawing Harry's attention back. "You said it's not a poison. What do you mean? Can you feel it through your bond?" she asked. She had looked up all kinds of antidotes, but not how they affected a life bond. Maybe there would be a clue there. Harry was looking at her with a half dumbfounded, half exhausted gaze. "Did I say that? I can't...remember. I can't remember much." he sighed. "No wonder. Harry, you've been awake for days. You need sleep. You're no good to him if you can't even walk." she suggested. Harry shook his head slowly. "I'm no good at all right now." he added quietly. The girl beside him bristled at the comment. "Don't you dare tell me you've given up." she hissed, willing to start hitting some sense into him soon. It wasn't as if she'd been sitting pretty all this time either. Harry responded with a small but much more lively glare. "I will never give up on him." he told her, determined. Hermione nodded her approval, offering him a small comforting smile. "Good. Now tell me about the poison. You said something odd before."
It was another while before Harry answered her. He heard her question, but he had to figure it out for himself before being able to explain it to her. "He's just...so fragile. I can feel the bond straining more and more, and there's nothing I can do. But, I feel it's being pulled apart from two sides. And it just...the poison can only be one." he sighed. "I've been trying to figure it out. He's...he's slipping away." he heard himself say, though he refused to believe it. "He's being pulled away from me, but I can feel him less clearly too. It's like...a fog, that's shrouding him. And it's been growing. Every time I try to use our bond to get closer to him, it changes. Like it's alive, like it's mocking me...showing me I can't get him back." Harry mumbled, gritting his teeth at the last words. "I heard the snake when we first got to the hospital wing. I think it's still alive. Inside of him." Harry whispered, his hand tightening slightly around Draco's pale one. "Wait. Harry, that can't be right. It's a medium. Even if it's still alive, if it loses its body it's no longer a medium. It couldn't have talked to you. It's body was destroyed in the forest." she reasoned. Hermione sighed softly. It didn't make much sense. "I'll keep searching, keep an eye on him." she told Harry, though she knew the boy wouldn't move while she was gone. When she left though, Harry's thoughts were whirring lightning fast. Hermione was right. It's body was destroyed and yet the snake had sounded exactly the same, with that high voice that could only be Voldemort's. It really did not make sense. Unless.
"But Moony!" Sirius growled, making to stand up again before being pulled back to the couch gently by Remus. "Sit down, it won't help getting worked up. We're all trying." he mumbled. Sirius sighed heavily. "But Harry's so sad. I wanna visit, what if he's worse, what if his mate is worse?" he reasoned, looking to his own mate for advice. "Siri, we went to visit just a few hours ago, I doubt much has changed. We're all trying to find an antidote for the poison, but it's slow work. We just have to keep at it. You can't let yourself go mad over it." Remus Lupin told him, his fingers gently combing through the others black hair. "I know. He just...Harry's...family. I don't want him so sad." he added, leaning his head against the werewolf. Remus nodded slowly, wrapping an arm around Sirius. He glanced up when there was a knock on the door, and he just called to the portrait to let them in. They were sitting in the living room area of the chambers they now shared with Harry and Draco, and the sofas around the coffee table had become a prime place to come to. Hermione and Ron appeared through the portrait, looking rather passive as they settled on a sofa across from the two men. "I suppose this is where we all hang out now, when we don't have a clue what to do." Ron mumbled. He had been in a very sour mood since Draco had gotten injured. The moment Ron had finally come to his senses, Harry went and got himself hurt. Now, Ron was hurting for him...and his mate, though he wouldn't admit it to himself. Both of them were important to him.
"I suppose so." Remus agreed. "It's not a bad thing to rest for a moment though. If we can clear our minds, we'll be better off when we get the next lead on how to get rid of this poison." he assured the rest of them. Hermione nodded silently and started making tea for the four of them, a habit she'd picked up lately. The four of them chatted for a long while, though not always about the poison. They were all exhausted and worried, and it felt very relieving to have someone else to talk to who understand just how frustrating this felt like. They all needed rest, both for their bodies and their minds. It helped being in a place where no one else would think worse of them for feeling like they needed to take a break. None of them really knew how Harry was managing this, clinging to the bond and fighting the poison for so long without even an hour's rest.
Harry moved slowly, because he knew as soon as he was done he would have to leave Draco, and he couldn't bring himself to do so yet. His fingers took a long moment to release from the blonde's and then he slowly reached to the thin silver chain around his neck, pulling it over his head. The carved sapphire snake hung from it, glinting in the light reflected from a number of candles by the bed. Draco had given him this for Christmas, and Harry treasured it dearly. He let the pendant fall into his palm, inspecting it silently. "Help him find his way home." he told the gem. Harry held it for a moment before opening Draco's palm, placing the gem gently there and closing Draco's fingers around it. He took one last deep breath before standing up, leaning over the blonde and placing a soft kiss to his temple. "I will never leave you, and I will never give up on you." he told him before standing again, turning, and heading out of the hospital wing. He walked quickly without paying attention to the corridors, he knew his legs would take him where he needed to go. His mind was occupied with plans. How to face him, how to fight, what to say. The wand he owned was clutched tightly in his fingers, already prepared before he even reached the empty bathroom. He stood in front of the sink, hissing at it to open and watching it shudder and groan. It disappeared into the ground to reveal a narrow tunnel, the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets. Harry disappeared into it without looking back.
It was funny, how much the Chamber had changed since his second year. Or rather, how much he had changed. When he first entered this cavernous place, every step felt like it would be his doom. The crunch of the bones he stepped on seemed so loud that the teachers in the staff room upstairs would be able to hear, let alone the basilisk. Now, it seemed almost pathetically quiet. He heard his own footsteps as he made his way to the hall where the statue of Salazar Slytherin resided, but he didn't mind them. In fact, he wanted to be heard. He wanted it to hear him, see him, know just what hit it when Harry would tear it apart. It felt as if it took far too long to reach the main chamber, but when he did he was hardly surprised by what he found inside. His eyes drifted coldly from the ornate pillars carved with snakes, along the marbled floor walkway to the figure by the statue.
"So." a voice drawled, amused. "You've found me. Bravo. That was quite quick, I must say. I expected you to whimper and cry over your lost animal much longer." the man told Harry. Harry kept his expression blank, though he could feel a muscle going in his cheek when Riddle referred to his mate as an animal. It was odd, how both times he was in this chamber, he was facing Tom Riddle. Tom looked infuriatingly familiar. He was dressed in the same sort of gray suit and tie, had the same unruly black hair and wore the same condescending expression. "How did you know it was me?" Riddle asked, though raising his wand already.
"I felt Draco slipping away, and all it reminded me of was how Ginny was slipping away while you were getting stronger the last time I was here. You caused all of this, didn't you? You are the medium...not the snake." Harry guessed, though he knew by Riddle's expression that he was right. "Correct." Riddle's voice drawled. "How very observant of you.
Harry raised his own wand, frowning slightly. "I do have one question for you though, before I fight you. Your soul was once in the snake, wasn't it? You are one of the horcruxes." he said, the last comment more a statement than a question. The smoky image of Tom Riddle before him holding a translucent wand looking much younger than he'd seen Voldemort use...it could hardly be anything but a horcrux he was speaking to.
"Yes." Riddle answered with a smile, though it was ice cold. "Nagini was the home for my soul for so long, until that veela ripped it apart. It was a good companion, but no matter. I cannot be destroyed so easily. Perhaps the snake has been lost, but I found a new home here. This chamber has always been mine, and I've found my soul is quite comfortable here. Does it hurt? To know you can't defeat me? That I will destroy you, starting with what is most dear to you." he chuckled quietly.
"I figured as much. This place always seemed like it should have been destroyed long ago. Figures the decision to leave it open would lead to another ruddy horcrux hanging around here causing hurt. But you've made a mistake, Riddle." Harry started, eyes fixed on the almost ghostly figure in front of him. Tom Riddle looked just like in his second year, and for a moment he wondered if all the horcruxes Voldemort made were living memories of him, of the part he most wanted to hide.
"Don't dare call me by that filthy muggle name." Riddle hissed in anger, raising his wand higher now. "I am Lord Voldemort, to you and to all." he declared, grimacing when Harry laughed.
"No, you aren't. You are Riddle. You aren't Voldemort, you're just a cast away piece of him, and a broken one at that. I will defeat you, and then I'll be one step closer to stopping the real thing. You are just a memory, one who's gone too far and one who I'll put an end to right now." Harry told him, all mercy gone from his voice. He wanted this to be over so badly, to be finally rid of the wizard that plagued the world he held dear.
"Really? And how will you do it? How will you vanquish me, Lord Voldemort. Perhaps with this mistake I've made. I assure you, I have done no such thing. I have carved away at you, taken away your strength and your happiness. I've left you miserable and alone and it is like this that I want to end you. I want you at my knees, begging me for mercy before I take your life." Riddle told him calmly, waving his wand once to close the stone hallway behind Harry, trapping him here.
Draco glanced at his palm, dumbfounded as to how the gem got there. One minute he was clenching his empty fists to keep from screaming as he saw Harry trapped in a graveyard with Voldemort, the next his fist was clenching around the pendant he'd given as a gift to his mate. It was warm and comforting. The scene in front of him lurched and changed again, but the pendant remained in his palm. It seemed to pulse, tugging him forward. He drew in a shaken breath, trying his hardest to ignore the new scene in front of him, starting to walk. Every once in a while, the pendant would shake and tug him in a different direction. He didn't feel like he was wandering aimlessly, but like he was approaching something. The closer he got, the harder the scenes were to ignore. It took everything he had not to turn around. He probably would have, had it not been for Harry. The closer he seemed to be getting, the more he felt Harry -the real Harry- and the more he felt his mate was in danger. He needed to fight through this, but it was getting harder and harder. Just a few more steps. There was a rift in the scenes before him, almost like an old muggle film was breaking. He sunk to his knees, panting as shadows from the world he was trapped in tried to pull him back. He could just take a moment, regain some strength. The pendant in his hand burned, and he hissed and wrenched open his palm. On the sapphire snake, blue glowing words appeared and he could almost hear Harry saying them. He smirked slightly, struggling to stand up and starting to step forward again, hand reaching for the rift. "Like I would give up on you." he hissed.
In a moment, he felt himself falling through the rift and the next time he opened his eyes everything was white. His first thought was that he died, and how stupid he must have been to walk towards the light and just kill himself. His next thought was that death looked strangely like the hospital wing.
"And that's your mistake." Harry shook his head. "You think that you can ruin me by hurting Draco? You think you've made me weak, and useless? You're wrong." he added, letting out an angry shout as he lashed out with his wand, sending a wave of red light towards the figure, who struggled to block it. "You're a twisted fool. First. I am not helpless. Even by myself, I am more of a challenge than you seem to think." he added, waving his wand again to send another curse at Riddle, dodging a few the figure retaliated with. "Second, I'm not by myself. You think that just because Draco's unconscious you've taken him away? You could never understand our bond. We're not just linked, were fused together. Our souls are intertwined." he was saying. He didn't know where the knowledge was coming from, but he knew instinctively it was true. "We are connected beyond what you can feel. One doesn't exist without the other anymore, that's what it means to choose our bond. Draco will always be with me and I with him. You can hurt one of us, but I still fight with the strength of both." Harry hissed, firing off another curse, moving through the room to dodge the wild curses directed at him.
Riddle was getting more and more uncontrolled, and he growled madly and he shouted at Harry to stay still. "Avada Kedavra." he was grunting over and over, trying to hit Harry with the curse. "You can't win against Lord Voldemort, I will kill you Potter!" he shrieked, and with his scream all of the carved stone snakes on the pillars shuddered to live and started to slither towards Harry.
"Us!" Harry spat out. "But you won't kill us. And you aren't Voldemort. You're a memory, and one I'm going to step on to get to the real thing." he yelled out bitterly, his arm raised above his head. His wand traced a wide circle in the air around him and he muttered words he couldn't recognize, but that sounded close to the language Draco had used to speak to the dragons. Fire burst from his wand and pulsed from him in a wave, destroying everything in its path as it headed for the memory of Tom Riddle. He heard Riddle shriek before he was consumed by the flame. Harry only had a moment to register that before he noted that the entire chamber was engulfed in a wall of flames. It was shuddering and falling apart and Harry had no choice but to turn and run straight towards the fire blocking the doorway.
Draco didn't know where he was running to, only that he was nearing where Harry was. At some point, he must have run past one of their friends because they were all running after him now. He barely had time to notice them, however. His only thought was that he needed to get to his mate. The bond felt so strained that it made the veela fear it may break. He must have been unconscious for so long. He turned and ran down a different corridor, heading for moaning Myrtle's bathroom. Behind him Hermione, Remus, Sirius and Ron were struggling to catch up, all panicked and all with their wands drawn and ready.
Harry clambered through the entrance of the chamber, glancing up and glimpsing his blonde mate heading towards him through the open door. He scrambled to his feet and ran to met him, wrapping his arms around the Slytherin and hiding his face in the crook of his neck. They were both too exhausted to stand, and they sunk to their knees together as the bond started to repair its self.
"Harry!" both Hermione and Sirius shouted at once, gathering around the two. Remus and Ron checked over the bathroom quickly to make sure Harry hadn't been followed before joining the rest.
"We got another horcrux." Harry mumbled after a while, still breathing heavily, almost drunk on the blissful feeling of being in his mate's arms again. "Oh Harry..." Hermione said, realizing now what Harry had fought and how hard it must have been. "It's over now. He won't take us apart. And I'll die before I let that monstrous excuse for a wizard near you again." the dragon veela growled quietly. Harry sighed and opened his eyes. He caught a glimpse of the red wings, and he realized Draco must have flown part of the way from the hospital wing to get to him faster. He tightened his hold on his mate, drawing in a shaky breath. "Let's go back to our rooms. I have to tell you about the prophecy. I want you all to hear it, and now." he mumbled.
It took them a while to get back. Their bond still felt so fragile that Harry and Draco walked as close together as possible, not wanting to let go of each other. The other four were glancing amongst themselves, an uneasy feeling seeping over the joy they had felt just moments ago at seeing the two alive. When they reached their rooms, all settled on the sofas while Harry and Draco curled onto one arm chair, still intertwined. "Tell me." Draco asked his mate, gently but determined.
"The rumors are true. I am the chosen one. Voldemort can send his death eaters after me to hurt the people I care about, and to hurt me. But they won't kill me. In the end, it has to be him. In the end...either I kill him...or he kills me. In the end, I'm alone." he mumbled, closing his eyes again. He didn't want to see the others expressions as he told them this. They were all quiet. Even Sirius didn't have any words. "We...suspected something like that. But to have it confirmed...oh Harry." Hermione was saying, reaching out to hold Ron's hand. "You won't have to go alone mate." Ron told him. "Maybe the stupid prophecy said the last blow has to be you, but that doesn't mean we can't help. We'll all be there for you." he told him, and Hermione gave him a watery smile. Remus was the first one to stand up.
"Harry." Remus began. "Thank you for confiding in us. You know we all will do everything we can to help you." he said softly before turning to the other three on the couch. "Let's go. This prophecy will still be there tomorrow but look at them. They're exhausted, they need to rest and they need their bond to heal. We can give them some room to breathe for now." he told them gently, ushering them slowly out of the room. They all said their goodbyes, but Harry didn't answer them. He only spoke again after the last of them had gone thought the portrait. "I will be alone, in the end." he sighed. He'd known that for some time now.
Draco sighed and reached over to tilt Harry's chin up, locking gazes with him. "Like I'd abandon you." he mumbled with a small huff, placing a soft kiss to his lips. "If you have to face him and kill him, then I have to face him and kill him. With the bond we are one." he told him softly, reassuringly, capturing his lips in another kiss. "That monster won't get the better of us. I will fight by your side." he promised. "And I by yours." Harry answered, lacing his fingers with his mate's with a small sigh and resting his head against the blonde's chest.
"For now, we will write our exams, I will go with you to those pathetic muggles you're forced to stay with for the few weeks necessary, then we'll spend the summer enjoying ourselves, properly." Draco told him with a small chuckle. "We both need a break. And then, when the summer ends...I suppose we'll just have to fight him head on. But on our own terms. And we'll finally be rid of him." he promised.
"That...actually sounds pretty good." Harry added, managing a smile. "I want a break, and a happy summer." he mumbled, for the first time not scared of having to go back to the Dursleys.
"Oh, and Draco?" Harry mumbled. "Yes love?" the Slytherin answered. "You were right. If it comes from you, I am fire-proof." he chuckled softly, exhausted enough that he fell asleep not long after.