Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any other recognizable characters. I make no profit from this story and no copyright infringement is intended.
A/N: This idea hit me originally as a way to give Harry and Draco a chance to finally clear up their conflict, not necessarily resolve it, just make it…understood. It kind of looks at respect and trust as values that should be strived for, anyway, that sounded preachy so on with the story. Let me know what you think.
Scars (make us stand firm on trust)
"If its human nature to care primarily for yourself, Potter, " Malfoy gave a small twist of his lips into an incredible likeness of his former sneer that, even with the effort, only gave birth to a small, distant feeling of anger deep within Harry's stomach, "then I guess you've gone and defied nature once again, haven't you?"
Harry gave a small fleeting flicker of a smile before looking back down at the stone he had been shuffling between his feet. The silence seemed to stretch on thoroughly for another few minutes - a lot longer than any of the others that had come had allowed - before the former Death Eater drew himself up and onto his feet, appearing all grace and nonchalance as he turned to face his former enemy.
"I…" for a moment it seemed as if he was struggling to say something, but the sudden clarity on his face and the way his mouth turned up just slightly at the corners for a single instant before smoothing back out into the pure definition of a stoic expression soon dismissed the thought, "…never mind, Potter."
Harry looked up at the former Death Eater for a moment before dropping his gaze, noticing the apparent clenching of a fist between the thin layers of expensive fabric that created Draco's jacket pocket. A small breeze ruffled the mess of brown hair on his head as he glanced up once more, green meeting grey as they searched each other's eyes silently for a moment, searching desperately before the fog coloured gaze was torn away and replaced by the view of a man matured many more years than his age should have allowed, drawing into the silent distance where the sun seemed to have set behind the events of the day.
"Malfoy!" Harry heard the sound, felt it tear through his throat as he legs moved forwards of their own accord at a faster pace than they'd seen in years, "Malfoy!"
The blonde stopped walking, turning his head slowly towards the small rocky wall he'd previously occupied with the former bane of his existence, only to see that same mess of brown hair and glasses hurtling towards him at some ungodly kind of speed for someone who had been seated without speaking for at least four hours, "Potter? What an earth are you do-"
The force with which he was hit was almost enough to send him tumbling in an ungraceful tangle of limbs to the ground, but the surprisingly strong grip of Harry's hands on his forearms kept him from unbalancing and causing the horrid fall, "Well done, Potter. You almost sent us both tumbling towards the whomping willow, and I can guarantee you that would've ended well wouldn't it?"
Draco twisted his nose up again and dusted his arms off, thoughts still dripping with sarcasm as he became mindful of Potter's release of his vice-like grip which he suspected had been the only thing keeping him from making the fall to the ground as well, "sorry," Harry took a few large breaths of air and then muttered out his apology, rubbing a hand over the back of his head before he made eye contact with Draco again, "and about this."
Within a millisecond Harry's left hand was holding Draco's wrist whilst his right deftly rolled up the sleeve of his jacket, startling the Slytherin who made only one appearance of protesting when Harry's eyes met his own and his right hand connected with the dark mark tattooed boldly on the elder's arm.
Draco started to scream as Harry's grip became harder and the blonde started to sink to his knees, Harry manoeuvring him as best as he could towards the ground as the mark beneath his fingers seemed to writhe around as if looking for an escape.
Tears of agony had started to form within the masses of fog that comprised Draco's eyes, and Harry remembered a day when he had heard some of the younger girls whisper unsuccessfully about how those same eyes had glittered like diamonds, whilst his own shone like emeralds against the paleness of their respective skins. But it seemed that not only had the ending of the war – for the moment at least – robbed each of their youth, but also of their romantic illusions of the world, perhaps even banishing the thoughts of others in relation to their supposed gems.
"Harry!" Hermione was screaming and from the corner of his eye, Harry could just make out Ron jogging up behind her to take a better look at the apparent spectacle he was causing below, "Harry!"
Draco's screams ripped through the air louder again as the pressure being forced onto his arm by the boy who lived increased. Sounds of more screaming, yelling and running made him fight his eyes to open and the flash of red from his right made the arrival of at least one Weasley incredibly apparent.
"I'll kill you!" echoed around and around Malfoy's head before the pain again became too much and he was forced to throw his head into Harry's chest, still hearing the murderous cries and screams of the remaining Weasley twin as he was wrestled back by the hold of his younger brother, made obvious by the shouts of said Weasel and his little girlfriend.
The loud shout of 'Potter' from McGonagall resonated throughout the small clearing they'd placed themselves on, and Harry found Draco burying his head further into his chest as the noise cascaded in its own fog like mist around the duo.
Draco gave one last scream and then collapsed against Harry in muffled sobs as the younger of the wizards released his hold on the others arm, wincing at the pain within his hand as he glanced down to see the faint burn of the dark mark reflected back in a slightly blistering red on the palm of his hand.
"Harry!" Hermione was crying herself as she arrived beside them, looking at Harry's hand before moving to touch it and causing the half-blood to flinch back almost imperceptibly, "Harry…"
Draco peeled his sweat soaked forehead away from his former enemies' shirt and fell back onto his backside, legs shooting out from under him to grudgingly shuffle him backwards enough so he could behold the whole scene.
Molly and Arthur Weasley had taken to clutching at their remaining sons, allowing Ron to untangle himself and appear half a foot behind Hermione, with a readiness to act within a seconds notice if needed. McGonagall was looking down at all of them from the very top of the hillside, that presented much like a cliff as his parents drifted towards her, his mother wearing a look of sheer terror – possibly for him – and his father glided along beside her with a hand never straying from the small of her back.
"Harry," Ron spoke with a slight quiver as he spotted Potter's hand, and then looked back down at Draco on the floor, tear stains covering his cheeks and a shade of fierce ruby covering accompanying the sheen of sweat that radiated from his expression of pain, "Harry…"
Draco spared the red head a look, before swivelling his head to view Potter himself, noticing the intense and unmoving gaze the green eyed boy was giving him from his position standing nearby. For a moment their eyes locked, and in the silence of the place, with only near silent crying, heavy breathing and the small whispering of wind to accompany them, it seemed as if the world was unravelling something and time had stopped for too long, before Harry turned again and made to silently walk away.
"Your hand," the blonde choked out with difficulty as his voice crackled hoarsely over the words, "you're burned."
"So are you," Potter nodded quickly to his arm, and Draco looked down to see the angry blistering of a dark mark shaped burn, making itself known with its prickly texture against the pale white of his surrounding skin. With one more nod to McGonagall, Harry turned to disappear towards the whomping willow.
"Harry?" Hermione was crying again, and Ron was gently stroking up and down her arm to calm her as she leant into his chest, wiping frantically at her eyes so that no one else could seethe tears that were probably best saved for a later moment.
"Potter," Draco's voice cracked heartbreakingly again, and his arm burned like it was slowly filling with poison as he manoeuvred himself up and off the ground, "Potter!"
The boy who lived to defeat the darkest wizard of all time made no indication to turn, and Draco felt the earth beneath his feet began to lose feeling under the appendages, and his knees gave out to send him falling almost lifelessly towards the ground.
His shins felt the burn of the ground as they made scratches against the stone littered earth below him, and he winced at the thought of the rest of his body meeting the same fate, just before a pair of warm arms surrounded his frame and he found his knees making slowed almost pain free contact with the ground.
He felt the warm and watery trail of tears as they began to accumulate along his neckline and spill down the collar of his shirt, an almost identical warmth to that radiating from the delicate hands that had moved to hold around his shoulders and one his waist, allowing the quietly crying Granger to find the comfort she required.
"Hermione," the soft calling of the Weasel alerted the blonde to the fact that it had been Ron that had stopped his ungraceful collapse into the dirt with the hands that had reached below his arms to slow the fall, much in the manner in which fathers would hold up their sons if their walking had not yet progressed far enough to allow them roam the earth on their own, "Hermione, let him go."
For a moment the small brunette's hands hugged him closer and her face found its way into the crook made by his neck and his shoulder, sniffing loudly in a way he would have endlessly charged as unattractive only a few days ago, and probably even today if it hadn't of held so much meaning within the moment.
"I'm glad you're okay…" Hermione was whispering as she pulled back and searched the fog of his eyes with her own of melted amber, "…Draco?"
An almost tearful grunt was all the response he could muster, and Hermione raised herself from the ground to throw herself at Ron, clinging to him like a lifeline as the arms Draco had ghosted around her fell limp to the ground.
"Help me," Hermione was looking frantically at the Weasel again as she glued herself to Draco's side, moving to help him stand as Ron moved his right and raised him up as easily as if he was some child or common household pet. His parents were watching. It was almost a disgrace. Almost.
"Draco," his mother was crying as she wrapped her arms tightly around him, holding him up without realising as Ron and Hermione moved away from the blonde haired trio and over towards the schools entrance, guided by the hand of McGonagall as she turned back for a moment to search the grounds below the jagged drop, "come. Come inside."
Lucius gave him a brief nod and then pried away his mother, nodding towards McGonagall and whispering the soothing comforts to his wife that he'd never had to offer to his son before.
"You are extremely lucky, Mr Malfoy," McGonagall started softly, placing a hand gently over the young man's shoulder as they turned to look back out over the area that had brought Draco's most painful moments of the day, and obviously the most precious and important ones, "you and Mr Potter…You're two of a kind."
He saw her small smile from the corner of his eye, and remained standing at the top of the cliff, mindful of McGonagall's leave and the absolute silence of the surrounding area, despite the large expanse of dark grey clouds that had been occupying the sky for the afternoon, and the distant lightning that was seemed to stretch beyond the line of the horizon.
The sudden swaying of the whomping willow caught his attention, and for a second the panic set back into the silver of his eyes, and his pale hands whipped to his concealed pocket in search of the wand that wasn't there. With a bitter chuckle the hand moved back to rest by his side, and the figure at the base of the whomping willow, safely tucked within the inner circle the braches could not reach, looked at him. The untouchable wizard, branded from childhood by the lightning shaped scar, marked again by the blistering memory of the forever grateful.
"Fidens et constans," Draco whispered as the wind ruffled his hair to hang before his eyes, obscuring the young wizards' view of the overgrown tree for a moment. With a small shake of his head the strands cleared, and stone coloured eyes searched the willow for any signs of the other boy.
The curt nod of the other wizard seemed to quirk Malfoy's lips for a second, and as he turned away from the Cliffside towards the partially open doors of Hogwarts Castle, the wind missed catching him.
Harry Potter, the boy who lived frowned slightly, "Fidens et constans, Malfoy." Maybe one day, they could say it to each other face to face.
A/N: Fidens et constans means 'stand firm on trust'.