Title: Remember Me

Author: Reiko Katsura

Rating: R

Pairings: Harry/Draco, Draco/OFC. Others.

Warnings: AU following OotP.

Word Count: ~19,230

Mental Health Issues: Early Onset Dementia, brief mention of Anorexia.

Summary: The war has ended, and just when Harry Potter begins to believe that his fighting is over, he's proved wrong.

A/N: This was written for HP Mental Health Fest, and was inspired by the song "Remember Me" by Josh Groban. To warn everyone, I had to stop writing several times because I couldn't see past my tears. This is not a happy fic. If angst/tragedy doesn't bother you, then read away. I hope you enjoy reading the story even half as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Much thanks to my wonderful beta songquake, whose thorough and insightful comments and suggestions, and quick beta-ing skill, never fail to amaze me. Also, my appreciation to tania_sings for looking this over before the submission date and for the heartfelt encouragement. Thanks, lovelies.

*UPDATE: This story is in the process of being revised. I'll put up a note when the entire thing has been republished. Until then, keep in mind that this fic was a major rush job, and even with two beta readers could not be at it's finest. I'm working on making it more presentable, and tying up all loose ends.


:Part One:


I look into the mirror. I'm in the bathroom and the lights are mute, casting the mirror into an obscure hue of iridescent blue. My ordinarily tanned skin seems ashen, sickeningly white in my shadowed reflection.

I'm panting above the sound of the dripping faucet; the heavy breathing is causing my torso to shake. My eyes narrow, squinting into the blurry parallel. I look almost as frustrated, almost as angry, as I feel. Questions are whirling in my head faster than flying pixies, rapid recollections of the things I've been considering for the past week, for the past month, for the past three months.

Where did I place my Firebolt? Where did I stash my Auror reports? Where have I put my wand?

I can't remember. I can't remember anything.

A wave of fury, so strong my knees nearly buckle, washes over me, and without thinking I clench my fist and send it flying into the mirror, into my distorted reflection.

The silver shards crack and crumble down to the sink, creating a piercing clinking sound that grates on my nerves. My knuckles are bleeding profusely, and I can see tiny pieces of glass embedded into my tattered hand, but I don't feel it.

Before long, I don't feel anything.

In an instant the sound of my name is being shouted from the outside, accompanied by urgent banging on the wooden door.

I slowly bring my hand down and stare at it.


"Are you sure?" Harry asked the Healer hoarsely, the lump in his throat threatening to choke him to death.

The Healer, a woman named Marcy Humberbeck, nodded gravely. "Yes, Mr. Potter. I'm sorry, but there is nothing further that can be done. The dementia has already spread too far—"

"And not even Wizarding medicine can help? Not even Muggle medicine?" Harry demanded, interrupting.

Healer Humberbeck shook her head, and her large brown curls folded and unfolded as she did. "I'm sorry Mr. Potter, but this is not some common illness. It's a mental deterioration. Even magic, as advanced as it is, cannot hope to cure all ailments of the human brain."

Harry exhaled an unsteady breath. All he could think was that this wasn't happening. This could not be happening. Of all things… Of all people. Christ, couldn't he have been given a fucking break? A break from the things that set out to destroy any of his chances of living normally? Of him being happy? Of having a life?

It was just too much—too fucking much.

"Maybe there's a mistake. Maybe you interpreted the symptoms incorrectly?" Harry pleaded with the woman. He glanced away when her look turned pitying.

"I'm so sorry, Mr. Potter," was all she said.

Harry closed his eyes. His hands started to tremble, and he quickly shoved them into the pockets of his robes.

"How long?" He forced out, and the words that escaped his mouth tasted nastier than bile.

Healer Humberbeck looked him straight in the eye and began to speak in a tone that made him believe she had memorized this information right from the brown board she kept glancing at every so often. "A few months, I'd say. These things can vary. It comes quicker to some people, and slower to others. Quite frankly, it's rare for a man your age, so there's not much to base calculations on. Judging by the progression of the disease in the past two months, and based on the information gathered from your scans, I can approximate complete regression in a manner of months—twelve to fifteen, more
specifically."

Harry shot up from his chair and shouted, "Twelve to fifteen months?"

The Healer didn't so much as bat an eyelash at his outburst. "Approximately? Yes."

"Bloody hell," Harry whispered, and fell back into his seat, feeling for all the world as if his bones had been removed from his body. He looked at the Healer imploringly and asked, "But isn't…this hereditary? Doesn't it usually start from something?"

Healer Humberbeck cleared her throat. "While that is the case for most, it is not always." She paused, and added slowly, "Though it appears, Mr. Potter, that your Mother's family has a history of dementia in—"

"Oh, that's just fucking great!" Harry exploded. "And no one ever thought to tell me about this, did they?"

"It is my guess that no one knew. Lily Evans was Muggleborn, and so her family records hadn't been filed in the St. Mungo's record division. It took quite a while for me to get those records myself, even with knowing what to look for."

Harry grunted, but otherwise didn't respond.

"May I suggest something, Mr. Potter?" the Healer asked cautiously.

Harry glanced at her from under his long, dark fringe, and snapped, "What?"

If she was about to suggest he kill himself now, then Harry didn't think he'd be able to object. Not when it sounded like such a damn good idea.

Apparently not taking any offense at Harry's attitude, the Healer cleared her throat. "Keep a journal."

Despite the nausea that was steadily rising to his chest, Harry somehow managed to feel curious, despite him, and quirked an eyebrow at her.

"A journal, Mr. Potter," Healer Humberbeck elaborated, "where you can write down things, like your feelings or your thoughts, or notes and reminders, or just memories. Things that will keep you calm, and you can use as a––"

"No."

The Healer frowned at him, and Harry shook his head stubbornly. "No, I don't need one. There isn't any use. What good will it do in the long run, anyways?"

"But Mr. Po––"

"I said no." Harry said firmly.

The Healer nodded, pursing her lips in obvious disapproval. Harry didn't care.

When the walls of the spacious office began to feel as if they were closing in on him, and Harry genuinely tired of being in the presence of the Healer, he asked the woman if he could leave. With a sympathetic nod and a reminder to return to the hospital for an appointment in two weeks time, she dismissed him with a tiny nod of her head.

Harry left the hospital quicker than his Firebolt could fly.


It was hours later when the sun had started to fall, and the sky had begun to darken with the looming night, that Harry silently slipped into his flat, a ridiculously large top-floor apartment in one of the more nicer buildings in Muggle London.

He hauled off his shoes and set them beside the door, then shrugged off his jacket and slung it onto the coat rack. He quietly shut the door, shivering at the cold air that seeped from the hall, and set the metal chain to lock.

Harry removed his glasses and rubbed at his tired eyes as he walked into the sitting room. He was so unbelievably exhausted. Thinking and wallowing in self-pity had turned out to be more time consuming that he remembered it being. He'd only gone to Diagon Alley in the first place to clear his head before venturing home to be confronted by his partner who he hadn't bothered to let know of his whereabouts. Harry'd wanted to avoid that for at least a little while, and so had settled for taking a short walk, which hasn't been so short at the end of things.

He'd been so focused on his thoughts that he'd gone right into Knockturn Alley without noticing. He'd Apparated out of there as quickly as possible, and into an empty alleyway nearly a mile from his flat, intending to walk the rest of the way. The way he'd figured it, he was already in trouble, anyway—there really was no need to rush it.

Harry returned his glasses to his nose and entered the warm, open room, all but melting at the oppressive reach of the hearth. And then he noticed Draco, who standing by the couch with his arms folded and a furious scowl darkening his face, and the heat stopped feeling quite as good.

Maybe, Harry thought tiredly, as Draco took a menacing step forward, I should have Apparated two miles away instead.

"Where have you been?" Draco snapped at him, accusingly.

"Out," Harry said, not in any mood to deal with his boyfriend at the moment. He meant to move forward and walk right past Draco, but Draco stepped directly in front of him, successfully making him stop.

"Don't you fucking dare take on that attitude with me, Harry," Draco hissed, his gray eyes darkening to the color of cooling coal. "I want to know where the fuck you've been for the entire day, without so much as telling me!"

The area just above his eyes was starting to throb, and Harry had to refrain from rubbing his temples. Draco would take it as him being annoying—which Harry couldn't very much deny at the moment—and snap.

"I didn't know I had to tell you everything I do, Draco." Harry narrowed his eyes.

If possible, Draco's face contorted more furiously. "You do, you prat, when you decide to disappear on me, not even bothering to send a note that you would be gone, and won't make it back in time for dinner!"

"This isn't the first time I missed dinner, Draco," Harry pointed out wearily.

Draco gritted his teeth. "No, but it is the first time you've missed it on our anniversary!"

Draco's words drifted into his ears, thundering, and Harry stared at him in shock. Before he had a chance to open his mouth—to say what, he didn't know—Draco had already stormed away from him.

The sound of a door slamming reverberated into the living room, and Harry closed his eyes.

Merlin, it was their anniversary. Their fifth year of living together, he realized, now that he could remember.

It was their anniversary, and he'd forgotten.

Harry buried his face into his arms and swallowed heavily.

And he knew it just wouldn't stop there.


When Harry slipped into his and Draco's room that night, Draco was already sleeping, curled onto his side and facing the wall—a position he'd taken to whenever he was upset with Harry.

Harry sighed wearily. He spelled off his clothes and on his night-robes, something he usually preferred to do without magic, and slowly walked over to the bed. He nudged the edge of the mattress roughly and watched Draco's form. When he was certain that his lover was indeed asleep, Harry slid into the bed beside him, pulled the green covers up to his chin, and stared up at the ceiling.

It had been a month since he and Draco had had sex. A feat, really, since just two months ago they were still shagging like hippogriffs in heat nearly every night, and sometimes more than once.

Harry grunted and removed his glasses from his face, then placed them onto the bedside table.

He just wasn't in the mood anymore. No, that wasn't entirely true. On more than one occasion he'd felt stirrings of arousal. And then he'd think about what was going on with him, the tests the Healer had ordered and why they were necessary, and his dick would deflate faster than an air balloon with a hole. Draco, eventually, when he wasn't getting any other answer from Harry except from him "not being in the mood," had stopped trying to have sex so often. After a while, he'd stopped trying at all.

Harry closed his eyes and clenched his jaw. His head was hurting. He wondered if it was a symptom of his condition, or simply stress. Not that he would ever research it himself. He figured that the less he thought of what was happening, the more time it would take to actually happen. Mind over matter, and all that.

Harry laid there for moments, watching the enchanted stars on the ceiling flutter around, and inwardly begged for sleep to come.


Part Two


Another shelf came crashing down, and Harry stared at it, panting. He tore his eyes across his and Draco's now-destroyed bedroom wildly, jaw clenched and ears tensed.

He couldn't find them. He couldn't find his glasses.

There were clothes—mostly his, since Draco kept the majority of his attire in one of the spare bedrooms—scattered on the floor, shredded to every inch of their materials' lives. Glass, from the silver chandelier that once lined the ceiling in an glistening web-like vine, laid shattered on the floor, its broken shards making the tanned-color rug beneath his feet look like sand. The mirrors that folded against the walls wore cracks, the walls all bore scorch marks and punctures from wildly fired spells. The room smelt of burnt plastic and spoiled mandrake root. The spells, having been cast in rapid succession, made the large space swell up in foggy air and tiny sparks.

They were there, Harry thought to himself, angrily. I put them right there.

After Draco had gone off to work—early, for a presentation— Harry had started getting ready to head in to the Ministry himself. He'd undressed in the bedroom, grabbed a towel from one of his drawers, and walked out into the hall fully in the nude, as he always did when there was no one home.

He took a bath, washed his hair with Draco's very expensive shampoo that smelled of vanilla, brushed his teeth, dried up, and walked back to the bedroom to get dressed.

It was just after he finished buttoning his robes that he went to retrieve his glasses from the bedside table and noticed they weren't there.

Harry could remember placing them there, however. He could remember always placing them there. He wouldn't necessarily call it a routine, but he did follow a certain morning pattern. Harry would always take his glasses off right after he took off his clothes, and the placed them on the table next to his side of the bed. He remembered, quite clearly, doing the same that morning.

Only, he didn't really remember—not exactly. But he felt that he did, as he did every morning. And why wouldn't he follow his morning pattern? Where else could he have placed them?

Harry kicked at the lamp by his foot, and sent it skidding to the foot of the bed, where it thudded into it loudly.

It wasn't as if he couldn't see without his glasses; after the war, he'd gone to a Healer to fix most of his eyesight ailments. The glasses he wore now were mostly for reading and for very long distances. They were worn more out of habit than anything else. The fact was, he didn't need them.

That wasn't the point, however.

The point was that he couldn't remember what he'd done with them, the same way he couldn't remember if he submitted his Auror report to Kingsley, or what Draco's middle name was, or if he'd already cleaned behind his ears.

Harry let out a frustrated yell and stomped his foot. The plush-piled floor absorbed the impact, softened the sound, and it left him dissatisfied. He stomped again, and again, and again, until he could hear the stomping as loudly as he would have if the rug had not been there—no matter the pain it caused to the sole of his foot. When his foot began to tingle, and the muscles in his leg started to tire, Harry sank to the floor in an exhausted heap and buried his face in his hands. He stood there for a moment, allowing his erratic breathing to calm down, then sighed and scanned the disaster he'd caused in the room.

"Draco's going to murder me," he said aloud, then chuckled.

Not only was he sick, but he was going insane, too.

At least the Prophet would have something to boast about. They'd been speculating just when the famous Harry Potter, vanquisher of You-Know-Bloody-Who, would go around the twist.

He would make Rita Skeeter's year.

Harry sighed again, and lifted himself to his feet. The one he'd stomped with was already starting to throb. He rotated his shoulders backwards and made to move outside, when something caught his attention.

There, lying on the windowsill, were his glasses.

Harry froze. He could remember now, that it wasn't the bedside table he always placed his glasses on, but the windowsill. He'd always knock them down in the mornings, searching for his wand, and on more than one occasion had to get them replaced because they were cracked.

When his tears started to fall down his cheeks, he didn't even notice.


"Harry, have you already gotten Hermione's gift?"

Harry frowned at Ron, confused. They were sitting at the table in Mrs. Weasley's kitchen, eating mashed potatoes and gravy from the night before, and discussing the Chudley Cannons' recent advancement to the Quidditch World Cup, their highest achievement in more than two decades. Harry dabbed at the corner of his mouth with a mint-colored—and flavored—napkin, and asked what Ron was talking about.

Ron gaped at him. "Blimey, Harry! Don't tell me you've forgotten it's 'Mione's birthday this week!"

Harry frowned deeper. "But Hermione's birthday isn't until—," he paused, and glanced at the calendar on the wall. It read September 17th right at the top, in bold red letters.

Hermione's birthday was on the 19th.

"Bugger," Harry breathed.

Ron snorted. "That's an understatement, Harry."

Harry closed his eyes and stared into his cup of steaming butterbeer. He'd forgotten. He'd actually forgotten one of his best friends' birthdays. He wondered, miserably, what else he'd forgotten about.

"Are you and Malfoy having problems or something?"

Harry jerked abruptly, startled at Ron's sudden question. He shot his friend a perplexed look, and wondered what he had done to give him that idea.

As if understanding exactly what Harry was thinking—and Harry wouldn't have been surprised if he did; they'd been friends for so long—Ron elaborated, "Mate, besides Hermione, and probably George, you have the best memory of anyone I know. You don't forget birthdays—especially not someone as close to you as Hermione. That means you've been distracted lately, and since I know it's not because of work (me being your partner and all), the only other thing in this world that could make you forget one of your best friend's birthday is trouble with the boyfriend—" Ron paused, and then added, "or the regeneration of Voldemort. I think you forgot when Ginny's birthday was after he killed you."

Harry made a soft, almost strangled sound that could have possibly been taken for an amused laugh, and set his mug down.

"Thinking of quitting the Auror force to become a Psychiatrist, are you?"

Ron blinked. "Sychiowhat?"

Harry rolled his eyes. "A mind-Healer."

"Oh," Ron said, and brightened as soon as he was back on familiar ground, "No, I've just become more observant. I'm married to Hermione, after all. Something was bound to rub off."

"Definitely wasn't her brain," Harry quipped in an attempt to lighten the mood.

"Prat." Ron scowled.

Harry grinned.

"Really, Harry, what's up? Hermione's birthday aside, you haven't been acting like yourself these past couple of weeks. I mean—and you didn't hear this from me—but I heard from Bill who heard from George who heard from Ginny who heard from Fleur who heard from Hermione who heard from Charlie that you even skipped out on that reservation Draco planned for your anniversary last week."

Ron paused, and scrunched his brows. "Wait, did you get that?

Harry blinked and shook his head.

"Okay, well, Draco told Charlie who told Hermione who told Fleur—"

"I got it, Ron!" Harry interrupted, exasperated.

Ron looked chagrined. "Right."

They fell into a heavy silence, and Harry didn't have to look at Ron to know that he was staring a hole into his head, waiting for an answer.

Sighing, Harry shrugged his shoulders. "I had a lot of things on my mind. I took a walk in Diagon Alley to clear my head, and just forgot about the time. That's all, Ron, really." Harry wasn't going to mention that he had been so lost in thought that he'd somehow ended up so far into Knockturn Alley that all he could smell for the next few days was hag filth and dust. Ron would send him to St. Mungo's. He didn't want to be sent there any sooner than was necessary.

Ron didn't look convinced. "You know, Harry, that Draco and I don't get on that well, even with Hogwarts being so far behind us. Still, I could tell how much he bloody loves you. Maybe you haven't noticed, but he's been looking like right shit, Harry."

Harry's eyes widened at Ron's revelation. "What?"

Ron groaned and banged his head onto the table. His red hair, almost shoulder length, nearly fell into the plate of mashed potatoes when he did.

"Merlin's beard, Harry! Where have you been the last few weeks! How could you not have noticed?"

"Draco looks fine, Ron!" Harry argued back, defensively. He thought back to yesterday, when Draco was sitting across from him at the dining table, and tried to recall any change in his partner's appearance.

Harry chewed on his bottom lip and scrunched his brows. Alright, so maybe Draco had gotten a bit thinner in the last few weeks. He could have been on a diet, though. Draco always complained that he was gaining weight.

When was the last time you heard him say that, a small voice in his head that sounded suspiciously like Ron asked. How could you not know if the person you're living with is on a diet? How could you not realize that your own lover's been losing weight?

Harry shook his head, desperate to expel those thoughts. Draco was fine. So what if he lost a few pounds? It was hardly a health issue. Ron was being overdramatic again. He was over thinking things. If Draco was ill, he would have gone to Harry. He was never one to keep his mouth shut when he was sick.

Harry would have known if he was. Definitely.

"Draco's fine, Ron," Harry repeated, and brought his cup to his lips. He inhaled deeply, and the warm smell of honeyed butter that wafted to his nose made the tense muscles in his shoulders relax a little. "I would know if he wasn't."

Ron quirked his eyebrow at Harry and gave him an I-don't-quite-believe-you look, then shrugged one shoulder and returned to his mashed potatoes.

Harry fiddled with his cup for a few moments before he finally set it to his lips and took a drink.

Draco was fine. Ron was just overreacting. A few pounds lost was nothing, anyway.

Nothing compared to what he was going through.


The first time Harry and Draco Malfoy kissed had been sheer accident. It has been the middle of sixth year, when Harry had been most suspicious of his archrival's odd behavior. Harry had followed him one day, to the haunted girl's bathroom on the first floor, and had caught him crying.

Draco had seen him, and soon after they'd tumbled into a magic fight. Harry wasn't exactly sure how it happened, but their fight had somehow turned physical. They'd gone from firing spells at each other from a distance, to throwing fists while scrambling on the floor.

Harry couldn't remember who kissed who first. All he could recall, when thinking back, was that Draco's tongue had been in his mouth, lapping at his own tongue, and Harry's very inexperienced hand had somehow slipped into Draco's trousers. It must have been the mind-rattling orgasm that had caused Draco Malfoy to spill all his secrets of the preceding months to Harry Potter.

Harry had somehow managed to convince Draco to tell Dumbledore, and in less than half a day Draco and his mother, Narcissa, were under Dumbledore's sworn protection. Draco left school—as it was no longer safe for him – and his mother fled from their Manor. They'd moved intoGrimmauld Place, safe under the Fidelius Charm. It hadn't been until the summer holiday, months after Draco left school, that they ran across each other again.

Harry could remember who kissed whom first that time, however.

It had been Draco.


"Happy Birthday, Hermione," Harry said, and leaned down to kiss her cheek. They were standing by the foyer of the Burrow. Harry summoned his jacket with his wand and slipped it on.

Hermione beamed at him, her dark brown eyes shining with absolute joy, and said, "Thanks, Harry. I love the present you and Draco gave me. I've been looking for 'Helgatha Emereth's Guide to Magical Theory as a Scientific Sequence' for ages! I didn't even know they had any copies left!"

Harry grinned. "It was all Draco's doing, really. You know how he is with finding valuable things."

Hermione nodded. She paused, and then said, "It's a shame he couldn't make it. I was quite looking forward to seeing him."

Harry fidgeted with his gloves, struggling to get them on.

"He wasn't feeling too well, apparently," he answered, finally.

Hermione frowned. "Is he alright?"

"He wasn't feeling too well, apparently."

Hermione blinked, and furrowed her brows. "Harry, are you alright?"

"What do you mean?" He asked, curiously.

"Well, you just repeated yourself."

"I did?" Harry asked, surprised.

"You did." Hermione confirmed, and the look she was getting in her eyes let Harry know that she was getting suspicious.

He gulped and said hurriedly, "I'm just tired."

"Are you sure?" Hermione pressed.

"Yeah," Harry lied.

"Right," Hermione said, unconvinced. Thankfully, she didn't push any further.

"How was Draco, again?"

It was Harry's turn to blink. What? But they hadn't been talking about Draco. Had they?

"I'm not too sure," he played along, unsurely. "He wouldn't tell me what was up with him—only that he wasn't feeling very well and wanted to stay home."

Harry left out the bit that Draco had all but hexed him to leave him alone, and absolutely refused to talk to him all morning.

Hermione's frowned deepened. "Harry, are the two of you alright?"

Harry narrowed his eyes. "What do you mean?"

Hermione hesitated. "It's just that—"

"Hermione! Mum's brought the cake out!" Ron's voice interrupted from down the hall.

Hermione glanced in the direction the voice came from and shouted back, "I'll be right there!"

Ron yelled something back, but it couldn't be heard over the sound of Mrs. Weasley yelling at George to lay his hands off the cake.

"Boys," Hermione rolled her eyes. She looked at Harry, who was dressed to leave, and asked "Are you sure you don't want to stay for a bit? At least until we cut the cake?"

"Sorry, 'Mione, but I really shouldn't leave Draco home alone any longer."

Hermione nodded. "Alright. I'm glad you were able to make it, Harry."

"I wouldn't have missed it," he smiled. They said a few more words and Harry kissed Hermione on the cheek again and Apparated out.


The wards placed around the block of Harry and Draco's flat prevented Apparation, so Harry had to Apparate to an alley three blocks away. He walked through the streets quickly, his arms folded over his chest. It was cold for mid-September, and it didn't help that it was drizzling. If Harry had been in a more wizard-oriented area he would have cast a warming and rain-repellant charm on himself. As it was, with Muggles rushing down the blocks left and right, he had to make do by hurrying along with them.

By the time he reached the stairs to his apartment building it had already started to rain more heavily. He stepped inside the building and quickly began to remove his damp clothes.

The edifice they lived in had been chosen by Draco in the earlier years of their relationship, just after the war. He and Draco had spent nearly half a year looking at flats. This building, the last one they looked at of over thirty places, had been the only Muggle residence Draco had deemed acceptable enough to live in. The previous owners had designed it as a house for a single family, rather than a shared building. Draco had decided to keep it the same way, despite the largeness of it—and very much to Harry's displeasure. It had taken years for him to get comfortable in a place so huge. Now, Harry couldn't imagine living anywhere else.

He scanned the walls, all paper white with strips of mint green and silver, forlornly as he made his way to the living room. He wondered how long it would take for this place—for the only place aside from Hogwarts he considered his home—to be forgotten. How long he would have before he was no longer able to recognize the faces of the people in the portraits and frames hanging on the walls, or identify the small ornaments scattered around that he and Draco had picked throughout the years.

Would he forget Ron and Hermione and Dumbledore and all of the Weasleys? Would he forget all the things he'd accomplished over the years—the sacrifices he'd made, the things he'd gained?

He wondered if he would be able to remember his own name at the end of it. Or the name of his parents. Or that the man he loved more than anything else in the world was Draco Malfoy.

Harry hadn't even realized that he'd been moving until he was standing before his bedroom door, staring at the dark wood as if it held all the answers to his problems.

Harry closed his eyes and reined in the emotions that were threatening to overwhelm him. When he was sure that he wouldn't start crying at the sight of Draco, or that his voice wouldn't falter and break, he turned the knob and moved in.


Harry filled his plate with toast, eggs, and bacon, then poured syrup on everything. He served himself a glass of orange juice—extra pulp—and reached for his fork.

Before he began to eat, he took a glance at Draco from across the table, then at his plate, and frowned.

"Is that all you're eating, Draco?" he asked. There was nothing on his lover's plate besides half an apple and a piece of toast.

Draco looked up at Harry, and Harry flinched.

"Are… are you alright, Draco?" he asked, finally, when the lump that had formed in his throat moved down to a more bearable level.

Draco looked, to be honest, horrible. His skin was far paler than Harry could ever remember it being, which was something considering that Draco was the whitest person he knew. His cheek bones, now that Harry was studying him closer, were sunken, slanting into his face like the line on a snake. Even his hair, which had always seemed to shine, appeared dull and lanky.

Draco shot him an indescribable look and nodded slowly. "I'm fine."

Harry scrunched his brows. "Are you sure, Draco? Because you look—"

"I said I'm fucking fine!"

Harry jumped, startled by the sudden outburst, and his fork clattered to the table, loud in the sudden quiet.

Harry swallowed heavily.

"Alright," he said, still looking at Draco.

Something flashed across Draco's face, and for a second Harry thought he would start to cry. The look faded after a slow blink, however, and disappeared entirely when Draco dropped his head to focus on his plate.

The silence that ensued was uncomfortable. The only sound to be heard was of Harry's metal fork scraping against the glass plate every so often, and the crunch of the apple between Draco's teeth.

Before Harry was even a quarter finished with his breakfast, the sound of wood scraping against the floor pulled his attention away from his plate, and he glanced up to see Draco standing.

"I'm done," Draco said quietly and pointed his wand at his plate. Before it was banished to the sink, Harry saw that Draco hadn't even touched his toast.

"Draco," Harry started, but he ignored him. He walked past Harry silently, until he was out of the dining room altogether.

Harry stared after him, head craned in the direction of the door, long after Draco left.


TBC.