Summary: A spell is cast on Harry which creates lots of angst. Draco comes along and creates lots of fluff. Hurrah. Not HBP/DH compliant. Slaaaaaash!
Disclaimer: Sadly Harry Potter does not belong to me.
A/N: I know, I know. I am useless and deserve to be fried in batter and hung upside down for bears to eat. Sorry.
This is THE FINAL CHAPTER. The end is seriously nigh. Well, there might be an epilogue if you guys can think of something you want to see happen afterwards (and because 43 seems like a terrible amount of chapters), but for all intents and purposes - this is it. Sad times. I'm almost reluctant to post it!
This definitely isn't the last you'll be hearing from me though. I've got a million and one new ideas to get started with. Oh! - if anyone is interested in being my beta for upcoming stuff and offering serious concrit and inspirationlyness, please let me know!
Now I leave you in the capable hands of Mr Malfoy and Mr Potter.
Safely ensconced in the deserted common room once more, a stack of buttered crumpets between them and invisibility cloak at the ready to throw over Draco should any early-rising Gryffindors wander through, they sat in the furthest corner of the room from the doors. Draco looked around interestedly, taking in the tall windows and squashy armchairs. This was very different to the Slytherin house common room.
"I think I could get used to coming here."
Harry felt a pleased flush spread across his face, smiling reluctantly. "Yeah? Even surrounded by Gryffindors?"
"Well, they'd have to go. And the colour scheme too. Scarlet and gold - terrible. But it's a lot more comfortable than Slytherin. More windows. And cushions. Better than our little hospital room, too."
"I think I could quite happily never set foot in that room again," Harry muttered.
"Why were you just standing outside the door earlier?"
"Because I was late - I didn't know if there would be anyone in here. What would I give as an excuse if half of Gryffindor saw me walking into their common room on a Saturday morning?"
Harry nodded. "I thought you'd come earlier," he said softly. "I fell asleep waiting for you."
"Me too - I mean, I meant to. But I fell asleep."
They were sitting facing each other near a tall narrow window spotted with raindrops, Harry on the ledge sitting with his legs crossed and Draco on an armchair beside him.
Harry swallowed the last bite of breakfast, setting down his flask of pumpkin juice. It was surreal, sitting in the Gryffindor common room eating breakfast with Draco Malfoy. Everything that had happened between them, the arguments, confrontations, fights, tender pre-dawn moments where Draco had cleaned his wounds and held him tight, the kisses and even the occasional laugh - Harry felt like it was all building towards this moment and he had no idea what might happen next. It was not just that Draco was a different person. He felt like he, Harry, was a different person too.
"So," he said nervously. "You wanted to talk?"
Draco gazed up at him, half a crumpet raised towards his mouth. He set it down thoughtfully, rubbing crumbs and grease from his fingertips, looking down at the carpet.
"Yeah," he said. "I suppose… what I wanted to -"
"Someone's coming!" Harry hissed suddenly, yanking the cloak out so quickly it startled Draco. Harry threw it over him as the distant thud of feet on stone steps grew louder behind them. Harry panicked for a moment and then ripped up the cloak to squeeze underneath himself, grabbing the flask of juice too just in time.
Ron stumbled down the last stair from the dormitories, clad in jeans and a maroon Weasley sweater, stifling a yawn. Harry let out a quiet, shaky breath, his heart pounding. He and Draco were squeezed together in the armchair, Harry practically sitting on his lap. He could feel the thud of Draco's heartbeat, feel every inch of their bodies pressed together. Scarlet heat flushed his cheeks.
"Probably looking for you," Draco breathed, watching Weasley scan the seemingly-deserted common room. He gritted his teeth and did his best to ignore the fact that Harry was all but sitting in his lap. Ignore ignore ignore ignore.
Harry watched Ron meander through the tower, praying he would not come over, praying he would leave, wondering what on earth he would do if he could somehow know who was sitting twenty feet away from him under an invisibility cloak. Harry wanted to move but he didn't dare. His face was buried in the crook of Draco's neck which was maddeningly inviting. Draco had grabbed him to steady him when he first pulled the cloak over them and now somehow Draco's arm was still around him, hand at the small of his back. He heard Draco whisper "sod off, Weasley," under his breath and had to fight the urge to burst out laughing.
His hand was pinned to the chair under Draco's shoulder, starting to itch. For one horrific moment Ron picked up a newspaper and Harry thought he was going to sit down and read the entire thing - but he merely scanned the front page, threw it back down with a frown, and headed off out the portrait hole into the corridor beyond.
Harry let out the breath he had been holding.
"Ron never gets up this early," he muttered. He tugged his hand out from between Draco and the armchair, flexing his fingers. Draco pulled the cloak off them.
"Probably wondering where you are," he said softly. They looked at each other, eyes meeting, and the situation seemed to present itself all over again.
"Oh," Harry said, blushing. "Sorry about - I'll just…" he pushed himself up and off Draco, sitting on the arm of the chair. Draco resettled himself on the cushion, running the cloak through his hands, looking ruffled.
"S'ok," he muttered. Neither of them mentioned the fact that Harry did not go all the way back to his window ledge seat. He leaned back, facing the dark haired boy, their legs touching lightly.
"So," Harry said again. "You wanted to talk."
Draco stared at his hands, contemplating Harry's words. Now he was there, now the moment had arrived, he was not sure he could bring himself to say it. To confess… those feelings, seemed like an endless bridge he had never been taught how to cross. He scratched his arm absently.
"I really didn't know… about my father," he mumbled.
Rain tapped lightly at the windowpane, the faintest whistle of wind speeding round the castle towers. Harry blinked at the blonde haired boy before him. It felt so like before, like sitting in their tiny hospital room, listening to the world storming outside while their own troubles gathered around them.
"I know that," he said softly. He reached out and wrapped his fingers slowly round Draco's pale hand. "I don't blame you."
Gazing at their entwined hands, Draco nodded.
"Will he stand trial?"
"Doubt it," Draco said dully. "He hasn't got a chance in hell of being found innocent. Fudge was probably right, they'll give him the Kiss and chuck him in a cell to rot. Can't risk him breaking out again."
"Are you going to go see him?" Harry asked tentatively.
"Why? So he can try to murder me again?" Draco said bitterly, feeling his insides burn and his eyes begin to prickle and sting. "Let him rot."
Harry squeezed his hand gently. "Sorry," he said quietly.
"Well… he's your father. It's like… you've lost him."
Draco shook his head, throat tight. "I never had him in the first place."
They sat in silence for a few moments, hands still clasped, lost in separate thoughts.
"Anyway," said Draco in a barely audible voice. "I already made my choice."
He looked up at Harry, unsure. The dark haired boy simply gazed at him, waiting. Draco sighed.
"About… before. When I said we should stop seeing each other."
"Yeah," Harry said. Tense, tight hopefulness stirred in his chest.
"I thought I could make everything I felt about you… I thought I could make it go away. Once the curse was lifted. That's what we were supposed to do, that's what I've done for my entire life. Shut away the emotions I don't want to feel. Even though I knew the curse only created your feelings, not mine - it was still easy to blame it, somehow." Draco swallowed, avoiding Harry's eyes. "I convinced myself everything would go back to normal in the end."
"But you were wrong?" Harry asked softly.
Draco was silent for a moment, staring at his hands, trying to process the conclusion he had already come to, days ago. He nodded. "Yeah."
Harry gazed at him, not daring to speak, just waiting for him to continue. Every nerve in his body was tightly strung and the knot in his chest burned and twisted. Please, he thought.
The Slytherin boy stared down at his hands, fiddling awkwardly with the cuff of his sleeve, his fingers brushing Harry's. He drew in a deep, steadying breath. He could never remember feeling this nervous but he knew he had to say it, now or never.
"When I thought something might happen to you - when I thought he was going to kill you…" he swallowed, could not bring himself to look into Harry's eyes. He took another breath and admitted something he had never admitted to anybody in his entire life. "I was so scared."
Harry felt his breath catch.
"And then… when he came, we were fighting… and suddenly he disappeared and you collapsed." Draco shook his head. "I couldn't help you. I thought you were going to die."
"He pulled me back into the nightmare," Harry said softly. "It was real, wasn't it? What you said to me, when I was falling…?"
Draco looked up at him. "You remember?"
"Just hold on, come on Harry… just hang on…"
"Everything hurts," he whispered, his face screwed up in pain.
Draco leaning down to kiss him, the taste of blood and fear. "I know," he soothed, blinking back tears. "Just hold on, okay?"
"Because I need you."
"Because… I -"
Harry shook his head. "I thought it was a dream."
"You were covered in blood, you were shaking. I thought you were dying… I was so…" he looked up at Harry, shaking his head. "I think that's part of why I was so angry at you afterwards. I never wanted to be… so dependent on another person. I had to distance myself from it."
"What's the other part?" Harry asked. Draco let out his breath in a single, humourless laugh.
"I stabbed my own father. I thought he was going to die. I killed him… for you. I gave up on everything I was ever told, everything I was ever supposed to become, for you. You can't blame me for freaking out a bit."
Harry exhaled slowly. "I suppose not."
"But… I'm not… I'm okay now," Draco looked at him suddenly, hope sparkling in his eyes. "We could - if you still want to, I mean - we could… pick up where we left off?"
Harry stared at him, jarred not only by the words but by this nervous, hesitant Draco. "What?"
"Well - you said you wanted to… you know," Draco stammered, faltering. After everything, was Harry going to turn him down? "I thought maybe… I mean, if you've changed your mind -"
"Changed… my mind? You mean about… you? You and me?" Harry asked, feeling himself blush.
Draco nodded. "Yeah."
Harry stared, completely floored, at Draco. Was he being serious?
"Are you being serious?" he asked. "Changed - of course I haven't - Draco," he threw caution to the wind entirely. "Of course I haven't changed my mind!"
Draco's eyes were wide and hopeful. "Really?" he asked softly. His heart fluttered frantically in his chest, his skin tingling over frayed nerves. Harry smiled, blushing. Draco grinned. He reached out a hesitant hand and tugged Harry down, back into the seat, into his lap. "You really haven't?" he whispered. He cautiously reached up a hand and wound his fingers round Harry's arm.
They gazed at each other, Harry flushed and delighted. He shook his head.
"I really haven't," he whispered back. He wriggled closer, his hands curling into the fabric of Draco's sweater, feeling the familiar, wonderful, comforting sensation of being in the other boys arms wash through him. Draco pulled his legs up and Harry fell against his chest, chuckling.
"Nothing's changed," he said wonderingly. "When I'm with you I still feel… safe."
Draco tilted Harry's chin up with one free hand. He studied that face for a moment, green eyes and lightning scar and a half-smile playing across soft lips. This was different to frightened Harry, to the Harry who clung to his sanity with a thread that he had come to know. This was much better. There was so much more to be explored. He leaned down and pressed a soft, firm kiss to Harry's lips.
Harry let out a low sound of pleasure, his eyelashes fluttering closed. He kissed Draco back, hands working upwards to wind around the Slytherin boys' shoulders, fingers sliding into soft blonde hair. Draco tipped him back slightly into the chair and pressed on top of him, kissing him. It felt perfect to be trapped under that warm weight, bodies pressed tight, legs entangled. A soft moan of bliss escaped him.
"Draco…" he murmured into the kiss.
Desire built like a storm cloud inside Draco. He kissed harder, gripped Harry tighter. A distant noise barely registered in his mind, a startled "Ahem!" from somewhere behind him. He could only think of Harry, only feel Harry. The hands tangled in his hair felt so good, fingers sliding down to grip his arm, hold his waist. He never wanted this to end. Harry's lips were soft, tongue slipping into his mouth, surrounding him with the heated taste of desire. "Harry," he moaned.
Harry jerked backwards suddenly and the shock of loss was disorientating. Draco opened his eyes, staring down at the dark-haired boy, who was gazing across the room with a look akin to horror on his face.
"Erm… hi," he said weakly. Draco turned.
Weasley and Granger, standing in the tower doorway. Weasley looked like he had very recently been clubbed round the head with a blunt object. He gaped at the two boys sitting together and could not seem to find words or facial expression enough for what he saw.
"Well," Granger said pointedly. "You two made up."
Harry groaned, burying himself into Draco's sweater, his cheeks scarlet and a reluctant grin plastered across his face. "I can explain," he said, his voice muffled.
"I think we get the gist already, Harry."
"Oh, my god," Weasley groaned.
Draco scowled at this pair of interrupting Gryffindors. "A little privacy, please?" he snapped. Harry chuckled.
"Come on, Ron," Hermione said, an astonished grin on her face. "Malfoy - we'll be having words later," she promised, prodding Ron towards the portrait hole.
"Tetchy," Harry chuckled when they were gone. "I think I'm going to die of embarrassment."
"Let me make one thing clear right now," said Draco, grinning. "I'm signing up for Harry, okay? Nothing more. No add-ons, no-one else in on the bargain. This does not mean I have to start being nice to your friends."
"I would never ask that from you."
"Good. And don't think you're going to start poisoning me with your Gryffindor sensibilities, either."
Harry kissed him to shut him up.
Harry squared his shoulders and studied Draco intently. He hated to spoil the mood, but… he had to say it. He voiced something that had been worrying him for a while now.
"Your father said Voldemort created that curse - what if another Death Eater knows how to cast it?"
Draco shook his head. "Now that they know what it is, they can understand it. They'll find a way to block it. You don't have to worry about that."
"Are you sure? I honestly don't think I could go through all that again."
"I'm sure. They'll get it out of my father, or Dumbledore will figure it out."
Harry reached out a hand and lightly stroked his fingers through Draco's hair, playing with the soft blonde locks.
"You know that all of this is nowhere near over?" he asked quietly. Draco looked up at him, a slight frown creasing his brow. Harry could not help but lean over and kiss him. "It's still dangerous out there," he said. "There's Death Eaters on the run up and down the country. Your father said they're rallying together, making plans. He escaped the Ministrys' hold and he probably won't be the last one to do it. Who knows what other plans or creations of Voldemorts they've got up their sleeves." He sighed. "You align yourself with me, you put yourself in danger. We've got another fight on our hands, I think."
He rested his head wearily on Draco's shoulder, closing his eyes. He had been foolish to believe the death of Voldemort meant the end of the wizarding war. He saw that now. He accepted it. If he had to fight, to try to make the world a better place, then he would fight. And keep on battling until they reached an end - of the war, of his own life, he did not know.
Draco's hand found his and pale fingers squeezed his tight. The white scars on Harrys hand from Umbridge, from Lucius, shone in the pale morning light.
"I know all of that," the blonde boy said softly. "I know everything you could possibly say to dissuade me. It doesn't change my mind. I still want…"
"I don't want to dissuade you," Harry said. "I'm not that heroic. I want you… here. With me. I just want to make sure you know we're not safe. Everything's still dangerous. We've got a fight ahead of us."
Draco smiled, leaned in and kissed him. "I'll take care of you," he whispered.
Harry smiled. He had missed this, this feeling of a shared solitude, of Draco and he together against the world. His felt his heart squeeze almost painfully tight and he wriggled sideways to whisper in Draco's ear.
"I love you."
Draco smirked. "Course you do."
Harry grinned. He could not resist cuffing Draco round the head with his sleeve.
"I'm exhausted," he said. "Let's go to bed."
He rose, pulling Draco by the hand up the stone steps to the dormitory, listening to the dual sound of footsteps on the granite floor, the distant sounds of pattering rain. Tumbling onto the bed together, tugging off shoes and trousers, the wonderful familiar feeling of being in Draco's arms. Harry closed his eyes, feeling sleep, unthreatening, soothing sleep pulling at him. Draco kissed the top of his head, nuzzling into his hair.
"I love you too."
For the first time in a long time, their dreams were peaceful.
A/N: They got a tiny moment of happiness, at least. Even if the big bad world is still turning. I wanted it to be semi-realistic, I'm afraid! I really hope you enjoyed. Feel free to bombard me with congratulations, hatred, demands… whatever you feel like!
Thankyous! Ridickulus101, Kitty Smith, madamadadanechibisuke, Kiraranekochan, evildictionaryninja, iggyluvjaz, Strawberry Danger, xXxDecemberxXxRainxXx, Caldonya, eleventy7, Secluded Angel 33, bittersweet, Cutechipmunk87, JoinTheDots, xkohleyesx, meghan7474, Wolf, Lady Sakura, Nagini Potter, TwIlIgHt-LoVeR24, Bethy Ann, Natasha AKA Tash, SwarmOfFanGirls and Dezra.
And… some extra special love and worship to the people who were there from the very beginning of the story, and whose reviews I looked forward to most: RikasGrayWolf, xXxDecemberxXxRainxXx, Secluded Angel 33, TwIlIgHt-LoVeR24, Nagini Potter, Dezra, TheGirlWithCheeseInHerPocket, forevrlostinme, and last but most definitely not least… Lady Sakura of the Fated. You guys rock my world. Thankyou!