By Reiko Katsura
Pairings: Main: Harry/Draco, Side: Hermione Ron, Mentioned/Other: Kingsley/Bones, Draco/OFC
Warnings: AU following OoTp
Word Count: ~19,000+
Mental Health Issues: Early Onset Dementia, brief mention of Anorexia
Summary: The war's ended, and just when Harry Potter begins to believe that his fighting is over, he's proved wrong.
A/N: This is the final installment of this story. Thanks to everyone who reviewed! See you all at the end!
(P.S. I highly suggest listening to the song "Remember Me" by Josh Groban towards the end.)
(P.S.S. If you see any errors in my story breaks (missing, misplaced, etc...) please let me know so I can fix them. It can be confusing otherwise)
Upon stepping foot into the house, Harry heard the startling sound of something crashing. Alarmed, he slammed the door shut and popped upstairs. The crashing sounded again, coming from the room that held all of Draco's extra belongings, and Harry rushed to it and pulled the door open.
"Sectumsempra!" he heard Draco shout, wand pointed at one of the many wardrobe closets. The sound of wood crunching and snapping resonated loudly throughout the room, and the closet splintered open and came crashing down, bits of dust fluttering above it.
Harry called Draco's name, frantically, but wasn't heard. When Draco lifted his wand again, aiming at the window, Harry threw caution to the wind and rushed forward.
Draco's curse was cut off as Harry wrapped his arms around him, over his chest and arms. He heaved him back roughly, causing both their wands to drop to the floor, and shouted his name again.
"Get off me!" Draco screamed, and struggled manically against him. It was only his years as an Auror, apprehending his enemies physically when his wand had been irretrievable or discarded, that allowed him to keep hanging on to Draco as he thrashed and kicked about.
"Get off me, Harry! Get off!" he screamed again.
"I don't think so, Draco. You need to calm down!"
"Get off! Let me go!" Draco continued to shout, his heaving and thrashing never ceasing.
"Calm down, Draco!" Harry cried. It was difficult keeping his arms locked with the vehement fighting, but he refused to let go. Harry didn't know what was happening. He understood, however, that Draco would hurt himself as soon as he let go. That was enough reason to keep hold of him.
The struggle persisted for a while—Draco flailing wildly in his arms and shouting to be let go, and Harry struggling to do the exact opposite of what Draco demanded. When Draco, finally, began to grow tired, and his movements began to calm, Harry only squeezed tighter.
After a few moments, Draco stilled completely.
"Let me go, Harry," he asked quietly.
Harry hesitated, unsure if that was a smart idea, but chose to loosen his grip. He didn't unlock his arms, however.
Draco sighed, tiredly. "Let me go," he said again.
"Alright, Draco," Harry granted, and slowly brought his arms down.
As soon as he let go, Draco's knees gave out and he slumped to the floor. Harry rushed down, frightened.
"I'm alright," he interrupted. He sniffled, and Harry grabbed his arm.
"You're not alright," Harry insisted, and grabbed Draco's chin. He lifted his face up, and tensed when he saw fresh tears rolling down his cheeks. "You're crying, Draco."
"I'm not!" he argued, and sniffled again. Draco turned his face, moving away from Harry's hand, and ducked his head so that his gaze rested on the floor.
Harry didn't let that dishearten him. He simply grabbed Draco's arm and forced him to turn around fully.
"You are," he breathed.
"I'm not," Draco said brokenly.
"You are," Harry reiterated, sighing. "Draco, I don't remember what I—"
As if Harry's words had been the trigger, Draco let out a sob so deep it shattered something inside Harry. He shifted over, closer to Draco, and pulled him into him. Draco buried his face into the crook of Harry's neck, crying and hiccoughing, and Harry wrapped his arms around him.
"That's the problem!" Draco cried, and his grip on Harry's back grew so tight it was almost painful. "You don't remember! You don't remember what you ate for breakfast yesterday morning, or if you visited Gringotts, or that you promised to take your godson out this weekend! You've even forgotten Porter, an actual person!"
Draco pulled away from Harry, eyes red and wide and frightened. "How long will it take you to forget me, too? How long will it be until I've been cast out from your memory? Until you give me the same confused look you gave Porter and ask who I am?"
Harry watched, wretchedly, helplessly, as Draco's arms came around himself and he began to shake.
"Merlin, I don't think I can do this," Draco sobbed. "Every day, you only get worse. I try to pretend I don't see it—see the signs, see the obvious—but I can't. Every time you repeat yourself, or ask the same questions, or inquire about something you have known—it's killing me, Harry. Killing me."
Draco looked away from Harry, and squeezed his eyes shut. "No matter what I do, or how hard I pray, it's not going away. You're getting worse. Bloody hell, you've actually forgotten a person! Who the fuck's next, Harry? Will it be Granger, or Weasley, or Andromeda? Will it be me?"
Draco buried his face in his hands and cried harder.
Harry sat there, tears running down his own face, frozen to the spot. The scariest thing about what Draco was asking him was that he didn't know. Couldn't reassure him that he would never forget Draco. Couldn't reassure himself. So he'd known Porter, then. Had known him, and forgotten. He wasn't oblivious to all the things he'd been forgetting in the past few months. The gaps in his memory were getting larger every day. Everyday Harry had to make excuses, or interject his own theories, to make up for the things he couldn't remember. Every night he lay in bed, staring up at the silver ceiling, and trying his hardest not to fall asleep, scared out of his mind that he'd lose another memory when he slept. What scared him the most was that he'd never know what he'd forgotten unless someone brought it up, or he saw something lying about the house, or at work, or at the Burrow, and couldn't remember the story behind it, or a story at all.
He played word games and puzzles every day. He even had a collection of small books, taken from Draco's library that he set out to read on a regular basis. But the disease wasn't slowing down. Sometimes Harry felt that there was something inside his brain, stabbing into it and cutting out chunks at a time, slowly picking away the entire thing.
"Draco—" he started, whispering.
"I can't do this anymore, Harry." He croaked.
Harry's heart felt as if it had been dropped into cold water.
"I don't think I can take this. I can't—"
"Please, Draco, please," Harry whimpered. He wasn't sure how he got his trembling body to cooperate in crawling closer to Draco, but he did. He clamped his hands over Draco's and squeezed as hard as he could, for all he was worth. "Please, don't say that."
Harry moved forward and pressed his lips to Draco's. It was nothing but a soft brush of lips, moist and salty from both their tears, but it gave Harry a little more energy to speak. He needed it, badly.
"You can't, Draco. You're the only thing keeping me sane. The only reason I have to wake up each morning. Please, don't leave me. I'll die without you, Draco. I'll die."
Draco gasped loudly, trying to take in the air he couldn't while crying. "I'm going to break, Harry. I can't stand this anymore, wondering when the day will come when you'll no longer remember me. This is killing me, Harry. Please—"
"Don't ask me to let you go, because I won't," Harry said fiercely, though his voice cracked. He wouldn't. He couldn't. "I can't make it through without you. You know I can't. Stay with me, please. Until the very end. Please, Draco. Please."
Draco shuddered against Harry's neck, violently. "You're so selfish, Harry Potter, asking me to do that. Asking me to suffer."
"I'm sorry." And he was. But he wouldn't take it back.
"And what am I going to do when you forget everything? What then?"
It hurt Harry so much to say, so very much, but he managed to say the next words without faltering. "You'll move on."
Draco tensed, and made to pull away, but Harry secured his body against his by tugging him closer.
"You will, Draco. You will," he promised against his lover's ear. It would hurt, but that's what Harry wanted. Needed. Draco had to move on when everything was over. It was the only way Harry would be able to get peace of mind, memories of his love forgotten or not.
"If… when," Harry amended, because both he and Draco couldn't lie to themselves any longer. "When I forget everything, you will forget about me, too."
Harry silenced Draco's protest by kissing him on his ear. "You'll move on. You won't need to care for me, then—I would never ask that of you. You can sell this house if you want. What's in my Gringott's account—most of it will be yours. You'll continue working where you are now until you become head of your department. You'll meet another man who will make you happy, and maybe adopt a few kids."
Harry had to raise his voice a little higher, to be heard over Draco's muffled sobbing. "You'll move on, and you'll be happy. All I ever want for you is happiness, love. You know that. You're so strong, there's no doubt you will be able to find it."
Draco shook his head against quickly, and Harry moved on hand to cup it still.
"You will," he said, forcefully. He would. Harry was sure of it.
"But right now, Draco, I need your support. I need to know that you'll stand by me. I need someone to stay by my side, holding my hand. I can't do this by myself, Draco. Please don't make me." Harry exhaled shakily. "It's so selfish of me, I know. But I need you to be there for me. Please."
A whole minute must have passed before Draco finally nodded.
"Thank you," Harry breathed, relieved, and kissed his ear again.
"I don't want you to forget me," Draco whispered.
Harry bit down the urge to reassure him. To reassure himself.
"I don't, either," he said honestly.
Harry and Draco sat there for long moments more, simply holding each other.
The next morning, when Harry was stumbling around for his wand, he came upon a brown box in a white paper bag.
"Is this yours, Draco?" he asked, curiously, and lifted up the bag so Draco could see from the bed.
Draco squinted his eyes thoughtfully, then shook his head. "No, I don't think so." He paused, and then said lowly, "Maybe it's yours… and you just forgot."
Harry sent his lover a small smile. Draco was acknowledging his forgetfulness, then. It wasn't a guarantee that Draco was comfortable with his condition yet—he didn't believe he could ever fully be, either of them, and anyway, Harry would never ask Draco that—but it was definitely a first step.
"Maybe," Harry nodded. He tried to think back to when he might have purchased anything that came in a white bag, but his mind was blank.
Shrugging, Harry moved towards the bed, plopped onto it, removed the box from the bag, and began to pull open the lid. There was another blank box inside.
He felt Draco move closer, probably more eager to see what was inside than he was. Harry chuckled when Draco made an impatient noise, and opened the smaller box.
He frowned when he pulled out a camera.
"I don't remember buying a camera," Harry murmured, playing with the thing in his hands.
Draco didn't say anything. He opened his palm out and gave Harry an expectant look, and Harry obliged him by placing the camera in his palm.
"It's been a while since I've used one of these," he murmured, and began playing around with the knobs on the large, black object.
"Ooh," Draco breathed delightedly, "It's a Wizard's Polaroid Camera! Instant development, you know."
Harry frowned, feeling deja vu.
"Harry," Draco called, suddenly.
Harry looked up quickly then yelped, clutching his eyes closed from the bright flash of the camera.
"Draco, you prat!" Harry snapped, rubbing at his irritated eyes. As soon as he was able to see again, he growled at Draco and launched at him.
Draco laughed, and moved quickly off the bed. When Harry made to go after him, he flashed the camera again, momentarily blinding Harry for a second time and causing him to fall off the bed.
"You're going to get it, Draco!" he threatened, blinking rapidly.
Draco laughed and taunted, "Sounds kinky, Potter!"
Harry lifted himself off the floor and began the chase again, careful to watch out for another onslaught of flashes, and grinned when he finally remembered he was a Wizard.
"Accio camera!" he shouted. The camera was ripped from Draco's hands in an instant, and in the next landed in his own palm.
"Say 'Cheese', Malfoy," Harry smirked.
Draco was too busy shooting Harry a confused look, no doubt wondering what the hell "Saying Cheese" had to do with anything, to defend himself against the flash.
They spent the entire day simply enjoying each other's company, and creating memories for the moment.
"You must be Draco Malfoy," Healer Humberbeck greeted him with a smile, "Harry's told me a lot about you."
Harry rolled his eyes as he walked past his Healer and Draco shaking hands. He was quite sure that he hadn't spoken of Draco that much around the Healer. He was also a bit sure that she'd never called him by his first name before.
Harry sat down in his usual chair, right across from the Healer's desk. He hadn't noticed that another chair had been set up until Draco sat next to him.
"So Harry's told you about his Dementia, I gather?" the Healer asked, looking pleased.
Draco nodded. Harry fiddled with his fingers.
"Do you have any questions, Mr. Malfoy?"
"Call me Draco," Draco asked.
"As for your question… none for the time being."
When the Healer quirked a brow at Draco, Harry explained, "For the past two weeks, Draco's been reading everything on Alzheimer's that he could get his hands on. I'm sure he probably knows more about it than you do, Healer."
He heard Draco snort from beside him, and gave him a small smile.
"Great job in keeping to your appointments as well, Harry." The Healer said.
Harry flushed a little. "Draco had to remind me today, actually," he admitted.
"I see. Well, Harry, I would like to run a few scans on you today, if you wouldn't mind."
Harry scowled, and had half a mind to tell the Healer that yes, he did mind, but quelled under the stern look Draco shot him.
"Alright," he muttered, irritated.
"Healer Thomas," and as if on cue, the door to the office opened, "will be conducting your scans for today. While you're with him, it will give Draco and I a chance to talk for a little bit."
Harry opened his mouth to argue, because he'd rather have Draco with him than with the Healer, but shut it when a hand wrapped around his.
"Don't worry, Harry. I'll still be here when you get back."
He looked over at Draco sullenly. These days, he didn't like being apart from Draco for even a few moments. When Draco went off to work, Harry was always left with nothing to do, and feeling unusually anxious.
"Alright," he sighed, and stood up. He shot his Healer a suspicious look before he turned around and walked over to Healer whatever-his-name-was. They left the room quietly.
Harry's scans were over fairly quickly. Healer Thomas (who had to remind him what his name was no fewer than three times) simply performed Harry's usual analyses, plus a few that he'd never done before, jotted everything down on a white clipboard, helped him get dressed—much to Harry's annoyance—and escorted him back to Healer Humberbeck's office. Harry knocked on the door twice before he opened it.
As soon as he entered, Draco's head snapped back, and Harry noticed that his eyes were red and puffy, as if he'd been crying.
"What's going on here?" Harry demanded, rushing towards Draco.
"I'm alright, Harry," Draco said, rubbing the palm of his hand over his eyes. "We just talked, is all."
"You were crying, Draco!" Harry argued.
Draco shot him an irritated look.
"I've been doing that quite a lot the past few weeks, haven't I?"
Harry sighed. He knew he wasn't going to get anything else out of him.
Healer Thomas gave Healer Humberbeck the chart he'd been writing on, nodded at her, and all but rushed out of the room.
"Hm," she murmured, raking her eyes over the report. "I see. Please, Harry, take a seat. We should discuss your latest scans."
Harry hesitated, suddenly tentative. He glanced at Draco, who shot him a thin, reassuring smile, and slowly sat.
When Draco slunk his hand into Harry's and squeezed, Harry felt as if a bit of the weight that had fallen on his shoulders had fallen off. He squeezed back.
Harry had been right. Telling Ron and Hermione had been a lot better—not easier, but better—with Draco beside him, holding his hand.
His two friends had taken it… well, a bit like Harry had expected them to. Ron had been so angry that Harry hadn't told him—had lied to him, even, since he said that he'd only quit the Auror Division because he wanted a change of career—that he'd stormed to his room and slammed the door. He came back out nearly an hour later, face blotchy and eyes as red as his hair.
Hermione's reaction, on the other hand, had been a little more unnerving. She'd frozen on the spot, and both Harry and Draco had been so afraid that she was going to pass out that they'd carried her like a board to the couch. After almost ten minutes, she finally started asking questions—a relief, since Harry had been expecting that. The questions had been difficult to answer, and some of them even impossible, but Harry, and sometimes Draco, tried their best to answer them. When Hermione finally got it through her endearingly bushy head that there wasn't a cure for Alzheimer's, and that no amount of research or experimentation on her part would be able to cure Harry's dementia, she'd broken down and begun to cry.
Harry stayed with her the whole time, one hand rubbing circles on her back, and the other hand squeezing Draco's.
They'd spent the entire day at Hermione and Ron's house, simply talking and explaining, crying (on Harry's, Hermione's, and surprisingly Ron's part) and letting everything sink in. As soon as Hermione promised that she would be reasonable with her "research" (since Harry couldn't get her to knock that idea down completely), and she in turn made Harry promise to visit far more often than he was doing at the moment (at least five times a week, she ordered), they hugged each other and parted ways.
Harry and Draco Apparated home and began tearing off each other's clothes as soon as they'd closed the door behind them. They tumbled into the living room and up the stairs, in between snogging and touching and stripping, until they were both naked on their bed, rolling around breathlessly.
That sex session, one of many since the night after they dined out, was quick and desperate. They both came, the other's name on their lips, in less than fifteen minutes. They didn't even bother to clean up their mess as they shimmied under the covers, drowsy and content.
Draco woke up with a groan. His arse was aching, bruised from his and Harry's latest bout of love-making. Harry had been especially energetic last night, thrusting into Draco fervently, leaving marks from his mouth and fingers and nails on every inch Draco's skin.
Not that Draco could complain, since he quite enjoyed a feisty Potter.
He rolled onto his back, careful not to wake Harry—who was slumbering underneath him—as he moved.
The last few months had been a struggle, all things considered, with Harry's growing dementia. He'd been forgetting more and more things every day—places, names of things, events, people. Draco had even taken the past month off (choosing to work at home) to care for him properly. It was a setback in his goal to become head of his department, but it couldn't be helped. Harry needed him. Felt comfortable around him. He'd care for him as long as he needed to, which in this case was until the end of the week when the private Healer he'd hired would move in.
It hurt Draco, more than anyone could possibly know, to watch Harry becoming incapable, most days, of doing even the simplest tasks. Some days Harry couldn't even use the bathroom by himself. Some days he wouldn't eat, or sleep, or sometimes speak. When things got particularly bad, he could always rely on Ron and Hermione, or any of the Weasleys, really, to Floo over and assist him. But he couldn't call on them all the time, just as he couldn't continue working from home forever. It was essential that Harry have a Private Healer, Draco knew. He couldn't care for him by himself, as much as he would have liked to. Harry required certain assistance that no amount of reading would make Draco able to administer. They were needs that only a trained Healer would be able to provide for.
Draco sighed, and turned over.
Harry looked so calm sleeping. It wasn't as if he wasn't always calm—no, more often than not he was as good-natured as he'd always been. Lately, however, he'd been having mood swings; far worse than he'd had before. Those times, Draco didn't know how to handle him at all.
With another sigh, Draco reached over and twirled a rather long lock of curly black hair in his fingers.
It was out now, Harry's dementia, to the public. The first article published, not unsurprisingly by the Daily Prophet's Rita Skeeter, had been printed last week. Draco was amazed, however, that news hadn't leaked sooner. Harry's healer, Humberbeck, had taken great measures to try to prevent an outburst in the media. She'd done a great job at keeping the news secret for nearly thirteen months.
Harry groaned quietly, and furrowed his brows. Draco chuckled, amused, and continued playing with his hair. It was already ten in the morning, and it wasn't as if Harry had gone to bed late. He was often tired those days, though. Draco always teased him that he was becoming a bear; he had the hair to go with it, too, all fuzzy and big.
Harry suddenly hummed, and a small smile played on his lips.
"Feels good," he slurred, sleepily.
"I'm sure it does," Draco laughed quietly. His hand had moved further up Harry's head, and was now massaging the mass of hair above his scalp.
"You ready to wake up now, Harry? I think it's time for breakfast."
Harry nodded, eyes still closed.
"You'll have to open your pretty green eyes, then," Draco teased.
Harry smiled wider. He opened his eyes slowly until they were half-open.
His eyes furrowed slightly, and his smile dimmed a little, though didn't disappear completely.
"Morning," he said quietly, staring into Draco's smoldering eyes. "And who are you?"
Draco's world suddenly tilted, and crashed.
"Harry?" he whispered. His hand hadn't moved from Harry's head, but instead lay there frozen.
"Yes, that's me." He frowned, then added, "I think, at least."
Draco laid there, staring at Harry with wide eyes. No, he thought frantically. Merlin, no. Please, no no no no no no…
"Sorry, I don't think I caught your name. Who are you again?"
Draco and Healer Humberbeck had been preparing for this moment for months, been preparing for the exact way he'd react towards Harry if he ever forgot him. He was to pretend that everything was fine. He wasn't to go into hysterics and risk upsetting or alarming Harry. He wasn't to get mad and force him to remember. He wasn't to scream at him, or yell at him, or hit him…
"Draco," Draco whispered. "Draco Malfoy."
He wasn't supposed to have started crying, either.
But he did, and Draco couldn't have stopped even if he wanted to.
Twenty Years Later
"Where are you going, Draco?" Leila asks me as I shrug my robe on and pocket my wand.
"To visit Harry," I say.
She rolls her blue eyes upward. I know she wants to complain that I just visited him yesterday, but she doesn't. I let her know, before we began dating and before we got married, that I was in love with someone else. That I would always love someone else. Why she still married me, I haven't an idea.
"Right, right," she says grumpily, and waves me off. "Just be back in time to pick the kids up at the station. I have a conference today and won't be able to make it."
I nod and walk over to her. She gives me a weary look before tipping on her toes and leaning toward me. I kiss her square on her mouth and cup her cheek in my hand.
"I love you," I tell her. It's not a lie. I love Leila very much. She's the woman I chose to marry and move on with. She's the woman who bore my children. I love her dearly.
"I know," she replies with a small smile.
And she does know—that no matter how many years pass, she will never have first place in my heart.
"Let's have dinner later, then? We can go to Wingardium. Bring the kids."
She nods, appeased, and shoos me off with a final warning not to be late.
I glare at her teasingly and leave.
The walk to where Harry's at is a short one, being only four blocks away from where I currently live. He still resides in the house we used to live in, living with his Private Healer and her family. I moved out just after I asked Leila to marry me. I didn't dare move too far, however, and settled for buying a house less than half-a-mile away. Sometimes I still think it's not close enough. If I had any less respect for Leila, I would have moved my family in long ago.
My magical signature is still embedded on the door to our old flat, and I walk in easily. I don't bother taking my shoes or robe off as I wont be staying long. I cast Tempus with my wand and nod. Twenty-minutes, then, and I'll have to be off.
I walk into the living room, taking in the small amount of changes made to it even after all these years. Though the house is mostly occupied by the Healer, who cares for Harry, and her family, they've only made the bare minimum of changes to adjust to the larger number of people. I can't say that I don't appreciate it.
I knock on Harry's door—which used to be our door—and walk in. Healer Evy cranes her head towards me, from where she's fixing Harry's bedding, and smiles.
"Draco," she greets me cordially. "Here again?"
I smile at her and nod. "Yes. How is he today?" I ask.
She rolls her eyes. "A right flirt today. I just managed to get him into bed an hour ago. Kept complaining that if I'd just dye my hair blond, or turned into a man, he could finally have some arsenal to go after me."
I chuckle despite the tightness in my throat.
"Would it be alright if I had a moment alone with him?"
Evy smiles at me sweetly and beckons me in. She nods at me a final time before slipping out and closing the door behind her. I face away from the door and look towards the bed.
The windows are open, casting Harry in a soft gleam of light. He's a bit paler than I ever remembered him being, but I know it's due to him not going outside most days. I move forward, until my knees are touching the bed, and smile down at him.
He doesn't look as if he's forty-five years old, especially when he's sleeping. He barely looks past thirty-five. His hair is still full and thick, matted dark and wild above his head. I lean down and brush the fringe from his forehead, then trace the outline of his thunderbolt scar with my fingers.
Harry. My Harry.
He twitches, but doesn't move. I continue to play with his hair, a habit I'd formed even before he became bedridden.
The day Harry forgot who I was, a recollection that still made my heart clench painfully in my chest, was only the first of many more days of memories to be forgotten. Shortly after that day, he began losing more and more people. First was Teddy, then Andromeda, then Kingsley. The last person Harry seemed to forget was Ron. Ironic, that.
He did remember them, sometimes, or at least past versions of their selves. Evy always tells me that whenever Ron and Hermione come to visit, which is quite often, Harry would always go into tales of their Hogwarts days. The last time the three of us—Ron, Hermione, and I—had visited at the same time (which was almost two weeks ago), Harry had shouted at Ron for leaving him and Hermione behind in a tent. I had only an idea of what Harry was talking about, since he only ever discussed with me a bit of what happened during our supposed seventh year. Ron had been shaken up, though, and wouldn't stop apologizing for it.
I continue to massage Harry's scalp, lost in thought, until the head underneath my hand moves.
When I look down, Harry is opening his eyes.
Oops, I think with a smirk. Evy is going to kill me for waking him up.
Harry opens his eyes, still as emerald-green as ever, and peers up at me. He simply stares, tiredly, and just as I'm about to introduce myself—a routine I repeat during most of my visits—he opens his mouth and speaks.
"Draco?" he asks, curiously.
My breath catches. I swallow heavily, and force my heart to stop pounding. So today's a good day, then.
"Good afternoon, love." I tell him, smiling.
He furrows his brows. "Why do you look older?" he asks suspiciously.
Well practiced, I reply smoothly, "I was hit with a misfired spell today. Don't worry. I'll return to my regular age in a few hours."
He nods, satisfied, and smiles.
"I feel like I haven't seen you in ages," he starts rambling, "though I know we just went out to Wingardium yesterday. We should go again today, Draco. Do you think Porter will be there? I really want to buy that Envionope he invented, but he's being a right git about it. 300 Galleons is a bit much, don't you think? He's so unreasonable! I like his wife, though. Samanda, is it? She's a nice girl."
I listen to Harry go on and on about events that happened nearly thirty years ago, as if they took place just yesterday, and fight against my burning eyes.
Days like this—when Harry remembers who I am—are always the best. They don't happen often, though. Not often enough.
The wand in my pocket jerks, and I pull it out. The tip is shining red. My twenty minutes are up; it's time to go.
"I need to leave, Harry," I tell him softly, interjecting as soon as he takes a break to breathe.
His eyes widen. "What? Why!"
I exhale deeply, and come up with a lie on the spot. Anything to not confuse him further. Anything to keep him content.
"I have the Ministry function today," I say. "I probably forgot to tell you, though, since it slipped my mind as well."
Harry furrows his brows, apparently trying to think back to recall if I might have told him, then nods.
"You probably did," he agrees moodily.
I smile at him, and take a step back to leave, but stop when his hand moves out unusually fast and grabs for mine.
"Don't go," he says suddenly. Vehemently. "Skip it."
I frown at him. This has never happened before.
"Why?" I know I shouldn't press, should simply stress the importance of leaving and do just that. But I can't—not when he's looking at me so desperately.
He looks so confused for a moment. "I don't know. I just feel like you shouldn't leave. Like if you leave, you won't come back."
Something—everything—lodges itself in my throat, and I work fast to swallow it down.
"Don't be silly," I say tightly. My eyes are burning again. "You know I'll be back soon. Don't I always come back?"
He looks confused for a second more, then nods hesitantly.
"You do, don't you," he says, unsurely.
"I do." I don't need to make myself sound convincing, because I'm not lying, then. I'll always return to him.
"See you later, then?" he asks, and then yawns.
"Of course," I reply, and push him down onto the bed.
"Go to sleep, love." I order him.
He smiles, just a little stretch of his lips, and whispers, "Kiss me, Draco."
I don't hesitate. I lean forward and press my lips to his. The contact—only a slight brushing of lips—makes every inch of my skin ignite and tingle. It's a feeling I could never get with my wife. It's a kiss I can never share with anyone else.
He closes his eyes, and begins speaking gibberish to me.
I don't know what possesses me to ask, but I find myself blurting out in the spur of the moment, "And you'll remember me when you wake up?"
Harry smiles through his sleepy haze, soft lines of age that had never been before stretching around his lips, and says, "Of course, Draco. You know I'll always remember you."
I didn't expect him to answer. I wasn't even sure he'd heard.
But he did.
And he had.
"Harry," I croak, but he's already sleeping, snoring lightly.
I stare at him for a moment, tears gathering at my eyes, then turn around quickly.
I walk out of the room and close the door quietly, then move downstairs and to the door. I walk two blocks down, toward the empty alley, hands clenched in my pocket.
He remembered me. For that tiny moment, so short I didn't have the time to reply, Harry had remembered me. Not me from fifteen years ago, or twenty-five years ago, or thirty years ago; but the me of today. The us of today.
And somewhere deep in my heart, I know that it will be the last time.
I close my eyes, exhale shakily, then smile—and Apparate out.
Remember, I will still be here
As long as you hold me, in your memory
Remember, when your dreams have ended
Time can be transcended
Just remember me
I am the one star that keeps burning, so brightly,
It is the last light, to fade into the rising sun
I'm with you
Whenever you tell, my story
For I am all I've done
Remember, I will still be here
As long as you hold me, in your memory
I am that warm voice in the cold wind, that whispers
And if you listen, you'll hear me call across the sky
As long as I still can reach out, and touch you
That I will never die
Remember, I'll never leave you
If you will only
Remember, I will still be here
As long as you hold me
In your memory
Remember, when your dreams have ended
Time can be transcended
I live forever
~"Remember Me" by Josh Groban
And that is the end of "Remember Me". I hope the ride was as educational, informative, eye-opening, and watery as it was for me. Review, please, and tell me what you think (or thought, anyways)!
'Til Next Time,