mini random bit of fluff.
He blinked. What're you using my first name for, you git, you don't deserve-- "What are you doing here, anyway?"
Madam Pomfrey passed by with a smile. "He hasn't left your side since you came here."
Harry gave her the evil eye, then turned back to his enemy. "I'm sorry."
He was completely taken aback. "What did you say?"
"I said I'm sorry, Draco. I didn't know what the curse was. It was written in the margin of my Potions book--"
"A hand-me-down? You really have been adopted by the Weasleys, haven't you?" He smirked.
Harry sighed. Disdain came so easily to him, so naturally. It's pointless, Harry. "I just wanted to let you know that I really didn't mean to hurt you." He rose from his chair and turned to leave.
Something boiled in Draco's stomach. "Why not?"
"I'm not that kind of person."
"Bullshit you're not. You stood right by and watched Granger bust my nose up in third year."
"Yeah, but I didn't do it."
"You wanted to." His eyes were accusatory daggers.
"Yeah fine, so I wanted to. So what?" You always do this to me, god damn you--
"So what's changed?"
Harry turned fully. He took in Draco's pale, pointed features, the smug look on his face, God, I'd give anything just to wipe that smirk off his lips--
"Everything," he said, leaving him to ponder that.
"Draco, don't worry-- it's all going to be okay now. I've killed the Dark Lord. Your family's going to be okay." Harry's tone wrapped around him like a tight pair of arms.
"So I don't-- I don't have to--"
"No. You don't have to worry about killing Dumbledore anymore."
Draco let out a sigh of relief. "Harry, thank you, I--"
But Harry was suddenly close, so close that their noses almost brushed, so close that he could see the flecks of brown in his green eyes; emerald green, Slytherin green--
"Harry, what are you--"
"You said you'd give anything if Voldemort was killed." Harry's warm breath ghosted across Draco's neck.
He swallowed hard. "And-- and what do you want from me?"
Draco felt his heart stop and his sweater vanish.
He woke with a start. His pajama shirt was on, he was in the hospital wing, Harry was nowhere to be found.
"Why did you call for me?" Harry stood beside Draco's bed.
"I want to know why you apologized."
Harry chuckled. "Still can't understand, can you?"
Draco shook his head.
"Well, I'm a Gryffindor and you're a Slytherin. It's the difference between us."
"Slytherins can apologize."
"I don't believe it."
"I'm sorry for stepping on your face on the train."
He sat down on the edge of the bed. "I think I'm entering a state of shock-- Madam Pomfrey is going to have to get a bed for me--"
Despite himself, Draco grinned. "Shut up."
"I really mean it, though," Draco pressed, trying to let his eyes do most of the talking for him.
Harry's heart raced. "Hey," he said, "Madam Pomfrey wanted me to get you to take this." He held up a small vial of rather putrid-looking liquid.
"Ugh." Draco made a face as Harry uncorked it. "It would be a little better if Snape saw fit to mix it with some firewhiskey."
Harry suppressed a smile. "What is it?"
"It's supposed to help heal the cuts."
Suddenly, Harry's guilty conscience pressed down upon him. "Can I get you something? I could grab some pumpkin juice from the kitchens… I think there are some Chocolate Frogs in my room—"
"Why are you being so nice?"
Draco took the vial from Harry, and their fingers brushed against each other. Harry withdrew so fast that Draco nearly dropped the potion.
"I—well, I'm the one that put you in here, aren't I?" He managed a smile, but inside, his stomach was churning.
With a raised eyebrow, Draco gulped down the liquid and threw the empty vial on his bedside table.
"Sweet Merlin, I think I'm going to be sick—"
Just in time, Harry grabbed the wastebasket and held it up to the bedside, taking care to press his loose robes against his chest so that they wouldn't get caught in the line of fire.
There was a moment of awkward silence as Draco held a tissue to his mouth and stared straight at Harry.
"I think I'm going to go now." Harry ran from the room, red-faced, convinced that Draco had sensed the rise in his heartbeat, the eagerness of his fingers—
Damn. I'm in deep, he thought.
Three Hufflepuff Quidditch players and a first-year Potions student all slumbered peacefully around him.
Draco was wide awake, staring at the ceiling.
There had been something about Potter that afternoon that he couldn't quite place. Sure, he was a goody-goody Gryffindor and he was sickeningly nice to everyone, but there wasn't ever a time when Harry had even been civil with him, let alone went out of his way to be nice to him.
He turned on his side and punched his pillow. Why should I even care? I just want to go to sleep. Shutting his eyes against the darkness, he tried to put his mind on other things. Time was running out, and the Vanishing Cabinet still wasn't mended—
His mind gravitated to the dream he'd had the night before. If only things were that easy to fix.
And Harry had wanted Draco to give himself—
Suddenly he knew what the odd knot in his stomach was.
Suddenly the memory of Harry's touch was much more poignant.
Suddenly, he knew that he'd never sleep again until he felt that touch for a second time.
"I didn't figure you'd come back after you were treated to my retching."
"I see you're feeling better."
"How can you tell?" It was an earnest question.
Harry smirked. "You're in a clean set of robes and your hair is immaculate."
A pause. Harry played with the frayed hem of his own sleeve.
"I didn't sleep well last night," Draco said after some time.
He chose his words carefully. "Just something I can't get off my mind."
"You want to talk?" He mentally slapped himself. "Never mind, you wouldn't, I—"
But Draco was silent, subdued. "Yes, Potter. I want to talk."
"Should I go find one of your friends—or—?" He shifted uncomfortably.
"No. I'd rather talk to you."
Draco and Harry sat facing each other, directly in front of the broken Vanishing Cabinet.
"I knew you were up to something," Harry said levelly.
Draco bit at his thumbnail. "Yeah. Sorry about Ron, by the way."
"So he's going to kill all three of you."
"Yeah. He's even got the order laid out. My dad first, because he figures it will be a torture to my mum. Then Mum gets it. Then me, because it's my failure, and he says I have the biggest weakness in my whole family." Tears welled in his eyes, but he held them back.
"What's the weakness?"
"The ability to love."
Tentatively, Harry reached out and put a hand on Draco's knee. "Dumbledore says that the ability to love is the greatest strength anyone can have."
"You really look up to him, don't you?" The edge was gone from Draco's voice.
"He's brilliant. And compassionate."
Draco cleared his throat and looked down. "Your hand."
Immediately, Harry withdrew it. "Sorry."
"No—" Draco sighed. "That's why I couldn't sleep last night."
Harry's heart wedged itself between his vocal folds. He couldn't make a sound.
"I had a dream that you killed Voldemort and saved me from doing this. And in return you wanted—well, you wanted me."
His voice was a hoarse whisper. "And—what did you say to me?"
Draco reached for his hand and set it back on his knee. "Yes."
Together, their eager bodies pressed against each other in the warm glow of candlelight, Draco and Harry forgot the world. Afterwards, when they were spent and trembling with the reality of it all, they pulled the duvet over themselves and stared at the flickering flames.
"Look at the colors on the bedspread," Harry said.
Draco laughed. "Bloody sentimental Gryffindor."
After several moments of glorious silence, Draco spoke again. "We can't carry on this way, you know."
"We could," Harry pressed, "if we really wanted to."
"Face reality, Harry. I'm going to try killing Dumbledore, and you're going to defend him—which I don't blame you for—and one of us is going to end up dead. This isn't a fairy tale where we can walk out of here holding hands and the whole world will just suddenly understand."
"Romeo and Romeo?" said Harry wistfully.
Draco raised an eyebrow, not understanding the Muggle reference. "You do understand what I'm saying?"
"I do," Harry said. "But you're going to have to understand too—I'm too much of a stubborn Gryffindor to give up so easily."
"The chase," Draco said, "is half the fun."
"I can't believe he did it."
Seeing the sadness in Harry's eyes made Draco feel ten times worse. "I'm sorry."
"It's not your fault, Draco. When it came down to it, you couldn't do it."
"I hate death." Tears spilled from his eyes and dripped onto his robes.
Harry pulled him into a hug. "Me too, Draco."
"I can't stand to think I might not ever see you again."
"Now who's sentimental?" Harry smiled at him, attempting to keep the mood light.
Draco pressed a square of folded paper into Harry's palm. "I have to go," he said. "Read this after I leave." He mounted his broom, and Harry watched him fly off into the distance.
He opened the note. Inside were written three words, in Draco's smooth hand.
I love you.