Disclaimer: Yeah. I don't have a Harry Potter series to call mine sniff
PS: This is my first HP fanfic, so forgive me for any OOCness :P
Warning: SLASH and OOCness
Couplings ahead: HermionexRon, DracoxHarry
Other Warning: It's rated mature for a reason, kiddies
Harry stood over the blonde's limp body with concern writ on his face. The battle was over, leaving Harry unharmed along with most of Hogwarts. What had happened was a blur when he tried to recall the moment. It had all happened so fast that he wasn't quite sure it had happened at all. In the heat of the battle Harry had somehow walked into Draco and found that Draco wasn't firing any curses at him or at anyone, only defending. It was an odd and significant change in the blonde's fighting style, he was usually the first to throw a spell. In any case, they were back to back and Harry found it somewhat comforting that the other boy of fifteen years was helping defend.
Harry heard a familiar voice call out a curse, one he hadn't known how to repel, so he casted a curse of his own—one he didn't even hear leave his lips—when in a flash, Draco was in front of him with guarding arms, taking the spell for his own as the boy's father hit the ground, lifeless. Draco's body had collapsed after blocking Harry, and the Chosen One hadn't even noticed he had killed Lucius until he comprehended the voice's owner. Now that everything was over, though, he stood beside Malfoy's hospital bed, wondering why in all of Hell Draco Malfoy would sacrifice himself for Harry Potter's safety.
"Is he…going to be okay?" Harry asked the nurse softly.
She looked to him sorrowfully, replying, "I'm not allowed to speak about this sort of thing. We're doing all we can, but he's pretty unstable."
"What…uhm…can you tell me what curse hit him?" The ebony-haired boy implored.
The woman told him, "Honestly, I've never seen anything like it…I can't be sure, I'm sorry."
He sighed, "It's okay."
Harry fell silent again when very abruptly Hermione and Ron wandered in. Ron looked to Harry and inquired, "What are you doing here, Harry?! The whole bloody wizarding world is waiting for you outside the effing castle! You've got to go and talk about how you saved all of our asses!"
Hermione seemed a bit bothered by the lack of grace and etiquette in Ron's conversation, but said nothing. Hermione looked to the seemingly dead body of Draco Malfoy and wondered aloud, "Are you…worried about him, Harry?"
Ron scoffed, "Prat nearly tried to kill Harry, I'm sure. Harry's not one to gloat allowed, I'm sure he's here for a victory stare, eh?"
Harry didn't seem like he even heard the comment as he stared at Draco. He replied to Hermione gently, "Yes. I'm really worried."
"What happened? Voldemort isn't inside him too, is he?" Ron snorted; Hermione glared to him, successfully shutting him up.
Harry told them, "Actually, the nurse said they've never seen anything quite like it…" Harry turned to them finally and revealed, "He did it to protect me."
"What?" They both asked in incredulous wonder.
"Yeah…he blocked the curse with himself…and I…"
Ron perked a brow, "…you?"
"What the hell have I done in return, I killed his father!" Harry barked, surprising the two enough that they jumped.
Harry ran a tired hand through his sleeves of charcoal hair as he elaborated, "I killed him…and because of me, Mrs. Malfoy is not only a widow, but she may end up without her son! I've killed the man she followed, her husband, her son…what have I done to the Malfoys?"
Hermione looked sympathetic, although Ron looked angry at the very fact that Harry felt mercy for the family. Ron scoffed, "You know what Malfoy's done to you the past years, right?"
Harry glared at Ron, "I know full well what he's done…but I mean…when it all came down to the moment of choice, he chose to sacrifice his life to save me."
"A miserable life."
They all looked to the door where a dirtied Pansy stood. Her eyes were red, worn and tired. She looked eighty years older with the worry and dismay contorting her face into sadness. Their faces begged her to continue in what she had said, so she told them, "Every action his frail little body has ever produced, every nasty syllable that ever left his mouth, every little movement and sound was all in hopes of gaining his parent's…acceptance, I suppose."
"Acceptance? The Malfoys were proud of him, you know that." Hermione fought.
Pansy glared, "You think you know that family better than me, Granger?" The girl paused, sighing and continuing, "All he ever got was disappointment or a nod of acceptance while his parents took credit for
whatever he accomplished…he's so strong, but he only strengthened for them, and he's so smart, but he only studied for them…he's done everything in his power…even now, he's been promised to marry me since we were born, but he never argued…never tried to get rid of me or trade me. He never complained. Not once."
They all looked to the body with a new sort of admiration. Harry asked, "Did Draco's…I mean…did his parents…well…"
"Harry, I know it's hard for you to understand. I know you miss your parents terribly." The genuine care in the Slytherin's voice caused concern among the teenagers as she explained, "But, Harry…sometimes it's better off not having parents rather than…than having strangers."
Harry's eyes widened as he shot them back to the sleeping boy. His blonde hair was no longer sleeked back, it was much more feathery and soft, fanned out beneath him. Harry tried desperately to remember the color of Draco's eyes, but for the life of him could not remember. Had he ever looked into Draco's eyes? Of course he had, he had plenty of times. So why was it this way? Why couldn't he remember a sliver, a glimpse of anything…
The blonde's pallid features gave him looks of a vampire, as did his long canines that Harry often spotted when he'd smirk. That smirk usually meant that chaos was to ensue momentarily in Harry Potter's life. It usually meant that there would be trouble and drama and struggle ahead, but those lips simply stayed there now. They didn't smirk, they didn't pout, didn't frown, they didn't part they just sat there, lucid but stoic, unmoving, lifeless. Harry looked down at them and thought of how his lips looked as if they had never smiled at all. Perhaps Draco had never actually been happy.
Harry admired the boy's freckles, faded against his paled complexion. His lanky, but Quidditch-toned body was spiritless, seemingly never moved. Harry felt a very unfamiliar emotion rush over him when he heard a loud intake of breath. It was through the nostrils, that much he could tell; it was not a gasp. His eyes never averted their intent gaze as the youngest Malfoy's eyes fluttered open, slowly to meet the ceiling's stare.
"Draco!" Pansy nearly shrieked as she flew to him and wrapped him tightly in her hold.
He was sitting up now, encircled by Pansy. Hermione's heart melted at the concern drawn on Draco's face as he pulled her away to stare her in the eyes as he questioned desperately, "Y-you're okay? You're okay, r-right? You're n-not hurt, are you?"
She smiled, clearly touched by his concern as well as she shook her head negatively and told him, "No, Draco, I'm fine."
His head slipped, his chin hitting his chest as he sighed in relief, "Thank goodness…w-where am I, though?"
"You're in the hospital wing, Draco." She told him slowly.
He looked up to her and quizzed, "I…when did…where was…I…was…I was…" Realization dawned on Draco's face as he shot his covers off and yelped, "Oi! Potter, he's-"
He met Harry's emerald eyes with his own; Harry found himself ensnared by the stormy look in them. They were a powerful silver, a melted gun shooting through Harry's being; beautiful like a dark thunderstorm. He could almost hear the thunder that Draco's heart created, the lightening gone from him, though…the lightening was mostly likely snuffed out as the spark of liveliness emptied from him.
"He's…here." Draco finished as his expression calmed.
He rose from the covers and walked up to the raven-haired boy; his first few steps were very slow and somewhat wobbly, but he quickly regained his usual grace as he finally met him by a few inches of space. He looked Harry Potter in the eyes, devoid of emotion until he lurched forward and hugged the boy tightly. Harry's heart thudded against his ribcage as Draco's arms wrapped around his torso, encasing him in a chill that must be the sign of a cold-blooded Malfoy. Too shocked to hug back, Harry did nothing as Malfoy pulled away.
Hermione and Ron stood in shock, their faces jaw-dropped, awe-struck. Draco looked stoic, though, as always as he told Harry, "You…you saved me. Thank you."
"Sorry?" Harry uttered.
"I think…I think you saved me…"
"Your head must be bashed up, Draco, you saved Harry." Pansy stated matter-of-factly.
Draco looked to Harry again, his stormy eyes augmenting as he said softly, "No…no, he saved me…that's…he's…no, he's saved me before. Even if he didn't save me tonight…what…"
He looked to Pansy, "Pansy…what…why do…why do I feel like I'm mourning…"
Her eyes curved in despair as she glanced to Ron, then Hermione, then finally Harry. She signaled to him that it was his job to tell the boy of his father's passing. The blonde turned to Harry and implored,
"W-what…what don't I know yet, Harry?"
Harry's face flushed; since when did Draco Malfoy call him 'Harry'?
"I…" Harry gulped inaudibly, "I…Draco…your…your father…he's…"
Hermione and Ron looked to each other, both clearly fearing the same thing as Harry; that Draco would pull out his wand and fire at them mercilessly in rage when the word would slip. Draco pressed for Harry to continue by stepping back. Harry finally sighed deeply, shakily as he finished, "He's…he's dead, Draco."
Rather than the infuriation or sullen reaction the trio thought would explode from Draco, the boy stood as if he had just seen a ghost—if that wasn't a normal thing to be seeing. His gunmetal eyes were wide, shocked and his face must have paled ten times more.
"Draco?" Pansy asked nervously.
Draco dropped to his knees, frightening everyone for a moment until they realized he was okay, physically. He looked ahead blankly, bewildered.
"Draco…I'm so sorry for your loss." Hermione nearly whispered.
Draco glanced to his side; he was acting like someone who had just woken from a comma with severe memory loss. Looking around at his surroundings as if he had never seen them before; acting in a way he never usually acted. Harry pressed with concern, "Draco?"
The blonde looked to him, his normally condescending glare replaced by a hunted, shock-writ expression. The open window of the hospital-wing allowed a cool rush of air to breeze through, pushing the long white curtains towards them and brushing through Draco's nearly matching hair. The lift of cool air picked up at the loose-fitting hospital clothes he was wearing; he was so white with the room and curtains and clothes, he looked like a phantom.
The pair of wounded eyes still gazed at him as his voice finally escaped, "My father…"
"I'm sorry, Draco." Harry told him sorrowfully.
Draco glanced down, then back to Harry as he implored, "So you…you killed him, Harry?"
Harry's heart thumped against his ribcage in agony, "I-I'm so sorry, Draco, you have to believe me, I had no idea wh-"
Harry was stopped by Draco's hands stretching out before him. Harry asked simply, "W-what?"
Draco stated as if common sense, "Help me up, Harry."
Harry blushed again at Draco referring to him as anything other than 'Potter' then leaned forward, gripping his thin arms and helping him to his feet. Draco smiled weakly, "Thank you, Harry."
"What is going on with you? Are you sure you're okay, Draco?" Harry pressed.
"I know you'd never use the killing curse on purpose, Harry. You're too good for that. I know it was a mistake. You don't have to apologize to me." Draco elaborated.
Harry uttered in amazement, "Too good?"
Draco smiled, "I'm just…glad you're okay, Harry…"
Draco seemed to lose strength in his knees, almost falling had Harry not gripped more tightly onto his frail arms. He brought Draco back to the cot and planted him down on the open sheets; Draco's metallic eyes only open as slits as he muttered, "That's all I wanted…it's all I've wanted…"
He faded back to sleep; Harry figured the shock must have been a bit much right after he gained consciousness.
Ron snorted, "Too good? Harry Potter is too good for the killing curse in the eyes of Draco Malfoy? Did he even call you Harry? That's too much! Think maybe he's gotten himself hit with a memory charm?"
Hermione glared to Ron, "Maybe it's the near-death experience that has given him a change of heart, you dunderhead."
He scowled, "The rat's hardly human; he's got no heart."
"Ronald! That's a god-awful thing to say!" Hermione scolded.
Ron shrugged, but all of their attention turned to Pansy and her sudden cascades of tears. She sniffed, wiping at her eyes and smiling sadly as she told Ron, "No, Weasley…it's not like that…Draco has a heart…" She looked Ron in the eyes, her brows curving into a desperately sad expression as she continued, "…it's just broken…"
Harry's curiosity only grew, so he implored, "Broken?"
She laughed morbidly, "Harry Potter…you and your stupid friends…" she gasped to catch her breath from beneath her cries before finishing, "…could never understand him. You could never understand him…he's a mystery."
Ron interjected, "A mystery? He's as mysterious as a hippogriff standing next to a giant sign reading 'I am a hippogriff'."
She glowered, "You, most of all Weasel, could never understand him…his kindness, his beauty is subtle and uncommon…"
She held her pallid hands to her heart as she closed her eyes and told them as if reciting a poem, "He once saw me crying in my room because of an awful prank some Gryffindor girl pulled. He didn't give me any kind words, not even a glance really."
"Where's the kindness?" Ron interrupted. He was glared at by the group, thus silenced as she explained,
"But when I went to my room, sitting on my bed was a rose with dark, green petals and a blood red stem. A note lying beside it read 'You are wonderful' with a small dash and in his beautiful cursive he wrote 'Draco'."
Hermione laughed softly, "Draco…he couldn't have actually…"
She looked to Hermione and told her, "I would never have imagined it either…but he has always told me that although he doesn't love me, he thinks I am beautiful…he once told me that bravery is not in the stupid risks that Gryffindors take, true bravery is in the daring silence of Slytherins."
"Is he…somewhat of an older brother to you?" Hermione asked kindly.
She sighed, "I am so in love with him."
They all gulped inaudibly as she looked to him softly, repeating, "I love him so much. He doesn't love me, though. I sometimes think that maybe…his heart is too broken to love anything."
Harry asked again, "You keep saying his heart is broken, but…who broke his heart if he's always stayed loyal to your arranged marriage?"
Her expression etched into a deep seriousness as she murmured, "Do you know what kind of torture he has had to endure?"
Harry didn't know how to respond, so she continued, "You don't understand him…you never could. I never could…I can't either…he'll never let me in…although…"
Harry pressed, "Although? What?"
She smiled again, "He did…let me in…once."
Hermione asked casually, "How do you know?"
"We were sitting out by the astronomy tower in the first year." She began, "He looked at me and told me, 'I hate Potter.' And I told him as a joke, 'You hate everything.'…he told me, 'Not everything. I don't hate you.' …and I smiled…I asked him, 'Do you hate Voldemort?' and he told me, 'I hate being controlled.'…I asked him, 'So in a sense, you feel the complete opposite for Potter that you feel for Voldemort…you feel a type of love for Potter?'…"
She trailed off for a moment, keeping the group in a painful suspense until she finished, "And he told me, 'In a hateful type way. I admire him. He is going to do everything I want to. He deserves every happiness.' …I can remember the very look I gave him. I was disgusted at first, terribly confused, but then he looked at me and told me, 'I wish you every happiness too.' …it only reminded me of how much I love him…but that was the only time…the only time he ever really let me in."
Harry backed away a bit, telling her, "I'm sorry, I just…I don't think I can believe Draco Malfoy saying I deserve every happiness."
She glared at Harry, barking, "That's because you don't know the real Draco Malfoy! You never saw how he cried or how he screamed and writhed in pain! You never saw when he tried to protect your pride, your side of the story, your fate! You never saw him being kind or gentle, you never saw how broken he was because you were too distracted with the charade he put on to cover up all the pain!"
Harry flinched at the sound of anger in her voice, he asked, "How do I get to see it then? How was I supposed to know?!"
She shook her head in frustration, "Draco would tell me, 'I will protect you, Pan, from the darkness inside you. I promise.'."
Harry cocked a brow, arguing, "What does that mean to me?!"
She snapped back, "Deeper, Potter! Look deeper! Draco didn't just see me as the happy girl I painted myself to be, he 'knew' there was darkness there, he 'knew' there was sadness and he offered to heal me! He told me he would protect my heart, without ever having to ask a single question…without ever requesting anything…"
She smiled, looking to the sleeping figure again as she stated with a soft laugh, "My mother told me once that 'True love is the willingness to give without a thought of receiving anything in return.' …but I guess she was wrong."
Harry frowned, following her gaze to the blonde boy.
A deep mystery.
He wanted to know more.