A/N: I know I said there would be at least two more chapters, but I realised, while writing this – that the last chapter would be extremely short if I would divide the remaining events into two chapters. Therefore, this is the very last one. Glued has officially come to an end. And I do feel quite sad.
You have all been so very amazing during this journey and I am so happy for all the alerts, favs and reviews you have given me due to this story alone.
I've grown much as an author, my english has become so, so, so much better and I'm so thankful for all the support you have given me.
This story has been a much bigger success than I could have ever expected it to be. I have, as of now, 516 reviews. Five hundred and sixteen. That's quite insane.
It also has 640 Story Alerts on Glued. Along with 362 favourites. Say whaaaaat? That's crazy! Thank you so much. My ego is insanely big right now and also a little fragile, since I hope this last chapter will live up to your expectations. I would be so disappointed in myself if you would feel let down by this last chapter.
I hope you like it.
Also, as I publish this chapter I will also publish the prologue to my new story: Keeping up with the Malfoys. In case you would like to keep reading stories by me, that's where you should go! I'm quite happy with how it has progressed so far.
So...this is my very last A/N for Glued. How strange. For a while I felt like this story was never going to end and now we're there. Thanks for staying with me. This chapter is for ALL of you. All. of. You. No exceptions.
I'm so grateful for everything that you have given me. You guys are the best, without a doubt. Here goes...
CHAPTER 16 - SO DID YOU TELL HIM YOU LOVE HIM YET?
Our nights are over,
There's just a long flight home
The last touch in the morning is forever gone
Oh baby, I want to hold you once again
It will never be the same.
it's time for me to go
You don't have to say a thing
'cause we will always know
Oh baby, we were lovers with a smile
We had it all for a little while
Never again will I look into your eyes,
- Never again – Tomas Ledin
Draco was not sure of how many sunrises he had seen since he had returned to the manor. Harry's voice calling for him still repeated itself over and over in his head as soon as he tried to get some sleep. It was all a little blurry to him still. He remembered running, of course, and how unfamiliar it had felt to once again stand in front of the entrance to the Slytherin common room. He felt like a stranger there, something he had never experienced before.
And then he had thought about going back, because maybe there was a way they could work this out, Harry and him, but he had soon given up on the thought, as he remembered that the arch would only open for their combined touch and it did not exist anymore.
Snape had seemed quite surprised when Draco had turned up outside his office in the middle of the night, but he had not asked any questions, only offered his fireplace and a handful of floo powder for Draco to make his way back to the manor. Back to his mother and father. Home.
And here he was now, sitting on the edge of his bed that felt strangely empty to him without another person in it. He found it fascinating how quickly he had adapted to something so intimate as sharing a bed with someone so quickly, and how hard it was to get used to the change when it was all gone.
They had asked many questions as he had returned but, as Draco claimed that he did not want to talk about it, his father had stated that he had surely suffered from some sort of trauma. His mother had not seemed as convinced, but she had not said a word about it since. For this, Draco was grateful.
With a sigh, he cast his third warming spell on the cup of tea that was placed on his bedside table. It had been there for hours, but it was the same flavour Harry had been drinking every morning the past two and a half months. The mere smell of it caused his to eyes sting.
He took the cup in his hands and rose to stand beside the window. The grounds of Malfoy Manor were covered in a thick layer of sparkling snow. He tried to push the memories of that Christmas Day on the Quidditch pitch away but failed miserably.
The tea burned his lips and tongue, as he took a big gulp in an attempt to wash away the feeling of Harry's lips against his.
He missed the sound of Harry's breathing as soon as he closed his eyes at night. He missed the smell of Harry's shampoo. He missed the way Harry had cuddled into him for the first time. He missed everything. Most of all, he missed the snorts. The irritating, not-nearly-an-acceptable-answer snorts.
Yeah, Draco missed him. All the time.
He let out a shaky sigh, as he reached into his pocket to pull out a small, plastic square. Every night he placed it on his bedside table, and every morning he put it as deep as he could into one of his pockets. Somehow it felt a tiny bit reassuring when his knuckles grazed against the plastic, like a reminder that it had been real. The Z had started to fade, perhaps because of how often he used to rub his thumb over the square, just to make sure that it was still there. Some nights he wished that the memories would fade as quickly too, and others he clung onto them in desperation.
A knock on the door caused him to jump slightly and spill burning tea over his fingers. He put the cup down on the windowsill hastily and rubbed the burning skin on his hand, trying to make the pain go away.
"Yes?" he called, automatically straightening his shirt and his posture.
"You have a visitor, Draco," his mother's voice informed him.
And Draco's heart began racing behind his ribs, almost painfully. It could be Harry. It could be Harry coming for answers. It could be Harry coming to punch him in the face. It could be Harry... Suddenly the room seemed to have run out of oxygen, and Draco felt a tiny bit dizzy.
"Draco?" his mother's voice called again, anticipating an answer. "Pansy Parkinson is waiting."
For some reason, he felt both relieved and disappointed. He was terrified to meet Harry again. So terrified that he almost got an anxiety attack every time he thought about going back to school. But on the other hand, he still hoped to somehow go back to that night and do things differently. Stay in bed, for one thing.
"Alright, I'll be right there," he answered hastily, as he realised that his mother would soon start wondering if he had died in there.
Pansy was sitting in the library, legs crossed and with a bored look on her face.
"You never visit me during Christmas," Draco pointed out as he entered, and her head snapped up in surprise. She had clearly been somewhere else in thought.
"You have never spent Christmas glued to Potter either, Draco," she retorted, as she got up from her chair. "And you never suddenly got separated from him, weeks before you should have been, and you never suddenly went back home, even though you had decided to stay at Hogwarts."
"Fair point well made," Draco sighed and rolled his eyes. He should never have written her that letter just as he had arrived back at Malfoy Manor, panicked and terrified. He should have known that she would turn up in person when he refused to answer any of her too-many questions. "Let's go to my room."
She grasped his arm and stayed quiet for the short walk back. His cup of tea still stood on the windowsill where he had left it. Probably cold again, already.
"So, mind telling me what's going on?" she demanded, just as the door closed behind them, with hands on her hips.
Merlin, she was bossy.
"I don't know what you're talking about," Draco mumbled vaguely and seated himself in the armchair next to the window. He did not offer her a seat, knowing she would sit down whenever she wanted to, asked to do so or not.
Pansy tsked and glared at him but remained standing.
"Draco, I'm not blind. There's a reason I've been perfectly polite towards Potter lately, and you know it."
Draco wondered when that lump in his throat had come back. He already knew that she was not as daft as people thought she was, but he had hoped that she would let it all be. Somehow he must have forgotten how nosy she could be.
"It doesn't matter."
"Of course it matters, Draco. Do you know how sick I am of always being your last choice when it comes to your friends? Do you know how tiring it is to know that you'll always choose Blaise over me, even though he's been a complete ass-hat towards you lately? I'm trying to be a good friend, Draco, because I care." She was so mad – perhaps a bit offended – and she was right. Draco had always preferred Blaise's company and friendship over hers, even though she had proven to be a far more loyal friend than Blaise had ever been.
"I don't know what to say," he answered quietly but made eye-contact with her. She was not as mad as she tried to make him believe.
"I know that I might not have come off as the most tolerant of all people," she said and sat down on the edge of his bed, "but I also know that the last month or so, perhaps even more, after you and Potter stopped trying to kill each other – something happened. All of a sudden you were happier again, like you were years ago. And even though I've spent years hating Potter almost as much as you have, I also know that I very much want that Draco back. Because honestly, he was much more fun to be around."
Draco snorted and felt his chest contract unpleasantly, as he instantly remembered that Harry used to snort just like that.
"You don't have to tell me because I already know. You've always been lousy when it comes to hiding your feelings. You're a lousy pure-blood. And I've decided that I don't care, but I have also decided that I will start caring and make your life miserable, if you don't make sure that I get the fun Draco back."
Draco wondered if this was how friends usually showed their support. He had a hard time imagining Granger threatening Harry in a similar manner. On the other hand, this was probably far more amusing and less humiliating than any other heart-to-heart talk.
"Is this a threat?" he asked her instead.
"Very much so. When we get back, I trust you to solve this."
"Merlin, I had forgotten how annoying you are," he muttered, but he felt the corners of his mouth twitch in amusement. Trust a Slytherin to threaten their friends to do something about their misery.
"I'm so glad we had this conversation," she announced with a smile and stood. "Will you come with me to Diagon Alley?"
A day in Diagon Alley was not exactly what Draco had planned for himself, but it kept his mind off of things, which he was grateful for. Pansy was perfectly able to keep conversation, and he even found himself laughing a few times.
When he came home, tired from the oxygen-filled air and cold from the weather, his mother was sitting on his bed, holding a tiny pair of shoes in her hand.
"Mother?" he said cautiously, almost expecting her to be crying. Instead she looked up with a smile.
"Your baby shoes," she explained as an answer to his unspoken question and held the shoes up for him to see. "Imagine that you were once small enough to wear these."
Draco only nodded. He had never seen her like this, even though she had warmed up considerably since the fall of the Dark Lord. It was not like her to be this nostalgic.
"I know that you are heavy-hearted, Draco," she said softly and patted the spot next to her, indicating for him to sit down. "I know something changed. Mothers know these things." She added the last part as if she had seen Draco's heart stop for a moment in fear.
He walked over to her slowly and sank down on the bed, staring down at his feet. His words were gone, forgotten somewhere at the door, but his mother merely smiled at him as she put the small shoes down on his nightstand. Then she clasped one of his hands in both of hers, as if she was warming his already warm fingers.
"Extreme situations can do strange things to us, Draco. Unexpected things. Things we never thought were possible," she said softly and seemed far away in thought as she gazed out over the grounds through the window. "Isn't it fascinating how the thin line between love and hate sometimes is so easy to cross?"
Draco swallowed and felt his cheeks heat. He was not ready for this.
To his surprise, his mother said nothing more, but kept rubbing her hands over his absentmindedly.
"How did you know?" he whispered. Because there was no use in denying. He could not lie to his mother's face.
Then she looked at him, like she used to look at him when he was younger when he had done something to make her proud. Except this time, Draco was certain that there was no reason for her to be.
"It has always been obvious to me that you and Mr Potter have a very intense relationship with strong feelings. Every Christmas and summer when you arrived home, the person you spoke most about was always him. It was jealousy, it was anger, and sometimes even hatred. In your last letter, you called him by his first name, and then you arrived home so suddenly, so crushed, and I just knew." She reached up and caressed his cheek gently.
Draco blinked, still awaiting the speech about him having to pull himself together and make the right decision. For the sake of his family name and all the other usual reasons.
"Are you not mad at me?" he whispered finally, as she made no sign of continuing.
"I cannot say that I am thrilled with your choice, Draco, but after the war, after all the suffering I have seen you go through, after what we have all gone through – the most important thing for me is that you are happy."
"I don't know," he said quietly. "I think it's too late for that."
"It's never too late unless you have given up, darling."
Draco wondered if she would still say such a thing if she knew how stubborn Harry was. Or if she had heard the breaking of his heart in his voice as he called for Draco that night. With a sigh, he nodded, thinking that at least his mother believed in him.
"Please don't tell Father." Even if Draco's mother had learned that perhaps they had to change their priorities of what was important in life, his father was mostly the same, and his priority had always been honouring the family name. Draco had a feeling that falling for Harry Potter was not his father's idea of how that was the best way of doing so.
"Let me handle your father, Draco," his Mother said and smiled at him. "He's not unreasonable."
Instead of disagreeing with her, saying that his father most likely was completely unreasonable, Draco only nodded. At least she would be the one to hold that discussion.
"Remember what I said," his Mother said and rose from his bed. "It's never too late unless you have given up." And then she left him there, his gaze falling on the abandoned tea cup on his windowsill. With a sigh he cast his fourth warming-spell and inhaled the familiar scent. Perseverance was the key to success, right?
Somehow Draco had forgotten that Harry had friends.
He had arrived to King's Cross and Platform 9 ¾ the very last minute and had barely made it onto the train in time. Thankfully, he found an empty compartment fairly quickly and sank down on the cushioned seat with a sigh. He should have tried to find Pansy or Blaise, he supposed, but searching through every compartment for them did not seem very appealing right now.
The last few days at Malfoy Manor had been unnerving as his father droned on and on about his work, and all Draco could think about was going back to Hogwarts and having to face Harry again. The nervous knot in him stomach seemed to tighten for every second that ticked by and for every field the train passed.
Merlin, how had he not foreseen that it would be so much harder to return after doing what he did?
For the last couple of days, he had tried to convince himself that Harry was not that important, that it did not really matter if their relationship would turn even colder than it had been before the Potions accident. But it had failed completely, because every night he only sensed a great loss. The smell of Harry's shampoo that was not there anymore, or the comforting heat from another body beneath the covers. How he regretted it now, leaving the way he had, letting Harry down completely. Because Harry would never forgive him now.
The door to his compartment banged open before his thoughts could stray any further into that painful place. He turned his head so quickly to the door that it hurt and found Granger standing there, looking as if she was ready to kill.
"Malfoy," she said in a way that sounded more like a threat than a greeting.
"Granger," Draco answered with as much calm as he could manage, but his voice wavered insecurely. He straightened up automatically and avoided eye-contact.
"I thought you didn't take promises lightly." Her voice was cold and, for a second, Draco had no idea what she was talking about. Then he remembered their conversation right before she had left for Christmas. His heart tightened painfully in his chest, and he swallowed loudly. Harry was not in one piece anymore, and it was Draco's fault.
"I don't get you," she continued and her voice wavered, as if she was trying hard to control herself. "I thought something had changed – that you had changed. The way you acted at the Quidditch game and at the party. The way you looked at Harry, for God's sake. I didn't even expect this from you. Not even from you. If I ever see you near Harry again, I won't care of what rules I might break or if I get expelled. Harry is my best friend, and I hate myself for trusting you not to hurt him. I'm such an idiot, but you, you are a disgusting person."
Draco stared at her. She was shaking with rage, and it was obvious that she meant every word. It hurt to realise that she had every right to be so angry with him. He was not even going to pretend as though he disagreed with her because seeing how upset she was told him what state Harry must be in.
"Aren't you going to say anything for yourself?" she burst out, and her face was growing redder with every second.
Yes, was he not going to say anything?
"I'm sorry," Draco whispered and stared at her feet. Lump in his throat.
"I'm SORRY?" she yelled, and Draco jerked back in shock of the harsh sound. "You're a bloody coward, that's what you are! Don't ever go near Harry again, or I'll promise you'll be sorry."
And then she was leaving, slamming the door loudly behind her. Draco heard someone yelp out of shock from the compartment next to his.
She was right, Draco thought. He was a bloody coward. He had always been.
His head bumped uncomfortably against the window with every move the train made, and the growing lump in his throat made it hard to breathe. His uneven exhales fogged over the cold glass, and outside the sky was blood-red and burning as the sun slowly set behind the horizon. It was beautiful, but seeing it only caused him to remember that he had no one to share it with.
Hogwarts was full of laughter and loud voices, as he walked down the corridors for the Slytherin common room a few hours later. He did not even bother to have dinner in the Great Hall with the rest of them because Harry might be there, and Draco was not anywhere near ready to meet him yet. He had a feeling that he would never be.
He felt panicked for a short moment, until his brain had recognized the voice as female. He let out a sigh of relief, as he turned and found Pansy hurrying towards him, and stopped to wait for her.
"I thought you decided not to come back," she said slightly breathlessly as she finally caught up with him. "I didn't see you on the train or at the platform."
"I almost missed it," Draco confessed and glanced over his shoulder, almost expecting to see Harry somewhere in the crowd of students. He was both relieved and disappointed when no messy hair or round glasses were in sight. "I got on a few minutes before it left the platform, and then I sat down in the first empty compartment I could find. I didn't want to search the whole train to find you."
"And you were afraid that you might run into Potter's minions?" Pansy said knowingly and grasped his arm, as they headed towards the Slytherin common room again.
"Perhaps," Draco answered coolly and tried to speed up their steps without looking like he was rushing. "Granger found me, however."
"Judging by your tone, she was all sunshine and flowers?" Pansy said sarcastically.
Draco could not help but smile slightly.
"I can't say that she was." And then he told her quickly about his encounter with Granger on the train, effectively leaving out that he had said that he was sorry and how he had fought hard not to cry as she had finally left him alone in the compartment.
"It's your own fault," Pansy pointed out. "If the situation had been reversed, I'm quite sure that I would have done something similar to Potter."
It felt strange to set his foot in the dungeons again. It had been so long since he had been there, spending time with his friends. It felt so crowded compared to the common room he had shared with Harry alone. He was sure that they were all looking at him, too, whispering about him being glued to the Gryffindor Golden Boy as soon as he turned his back to them. He was not sure that he wanted to know what they were saying, knowing that Slytherin had a way of not always choosing the nicest of words.
"Aren't you coming to dinner?" Pansy asked him, as he shrugged the bag off of his shoulder and sank down in the nearest armchair. The students began to make their way to the Great Hall to fill their empty stomachs, but Draco did not feel hungry at all.
"No, I think I'll stay here." He tried to smile at her, but he was not sure how convincing it came across.
To his surprise, she did not sigh and nag him about not accompanying her to dinner, but only nodded as if he had confirmed something she had suspected from the beginning.
"Alright, I'll bring something back to you."
As she left with the rest of the students, Draco wondered if this was how it would always be. Him running away from any situation where he risked running into Harry. And if it was always going to feel empty now, somehow. A small piece missing. Like the Z to Harry's Scrabble game.
As he went to bed that night, curling into a ball on his side, he glanced towards his trunk that still stood untouched at the foot of his bed and realised that he would have to unpack soon. Just not yet.
It went almost a week until the unavoidable finally happened. Blaise had come around nicely as soon as he realised that Draco and Harry did not spend their days together any more. He did not even ask why Draco refused to look towards the Gryffindor table during meal time. It was obvious that Pansy had been right about being the one that actually cared for something else other than his snarky comments about stupid Hufflepuffs.
Draco was heading towards the Potions dungeons, accompanied by Pansy. His heart was beating painfully behind his ribs, and he felt as if he was about to faint, cold sweat trickling down his back. Harry had not showed for their mutual classes all week but, according to Pansy, he had been in the Great Hall for lunch for the first time today. Draco had refused to look, but he had instinctively known that she was telling the truth.
It was fascinating how all the things to say he had come up with, just for this one moment, hastily disappeared from his mind as he walked into the dungeons, immediately staring straight into a pair of startlingly green eyes. Draco's chest contracted painfully, his throat burning when he noticed how pale Harry was and the dark circles under his eyes, as if, he too, had trouble sleeping. Draco could do nothing but stare back into the Gryffindor's eyes, reading all the effects of his betrayal there. And he wished that Harry would scream at him, hex him, hit him, to make Draco sure that he still felt something, anything but look away as if he was not worth any of it.
It was a miracle that Draco's legs did not give in right there, sending him to his knees on the floor, but he managed to walk all the way to his seat next to Pansy and sit down. He even succeeded with placing his books next to him, even though his hands trembled and the lump in his throat ached.
Pansy patted him on the arm, as though it would make him less aware of the Gryffindor on the other side of the room.
Draco sat rigid in his chair for the rest of the class, thoughts spinning in his head. He knew for certain that he had to say something, try to explain that he was a coward and that he regretted his decision to run away.
When Slughorn finally dismissed them, Draco's heart was pounding in his chest, adrenaline pushing through his veins. He did not even care about putting his books in his bag, instead clutching them to his side as he hurried after Harry, who was already halfway out the door.
"Harry, wait!" Draco called as he squeezed himself past a pair of slow Hufflepuffs, but all the adrenaline seemed to melt away as Harry turned his head, only to meet Draco's pounding heart with a blank expression in his eyes, before looking straight forward again and continuing down the corridor as if nothing had happened.
Draco almost dropped his books, as someone bumped into his side. He did not even realise that he had frozen to the spot until Pansy gently freed him from his books and grasped his arm.
"Come on, let's go to Muggle Studies," she said softly, as she guided Draco towards their next class.
He was still in some form of shock through the rest of the day. He had expected Harry to react, to be hurt and angry, perhaps even yell at him in front of everyone. Draco could handle that because he deserved it and Harry had always been useless when it came to handling his emotions. But the way he had barely even looked at Draco, as if he felt nothing for him anymore, was even worse.
Draco did not eat dinner that night. Or the next. Instead he went to bed early, staring blankly into the canopy above him and wondering what he would have been doing in this very moment, if he had not been such a bloody coward and had ran away. The hours passed slowly as he said goodnight to the other Slytherins one by one, as they went to bed. He sighed as his gaze fell on the trunk at the foot of the bed, in the silent darkness. He still had not unpacked it, but it was about time that he did. His muscles protested slightly as he got to his feet, shivering as they made contact with the freezing-cold stone floor. He tried to heave the trunk up on his bed silently, not wanting to wake the other boys that were already asleep, and closed the curtains around him.
"Lumos," he mumbled and squinted as the bright light chased away the darkness around him. He could easily spend hours looking through the things in his trunk, he thought, as he placed school robes he had not been wearing for years on the duvet beside him.
Something soft suddenly whispered over his hand as he dug deep, hoping to find something from his first or second year that he did not even remember he had. Curiously, Draco grabbed a hold of it and pulled it out.
A sharp pain shot through his chest, as he stared at the invisibility cloak in his hands. A sob ripped out of him as the liquid-like material fell onto the bed, and Draco slammed his eyes shut to stop the tears. It was not possible. The cloak was Harry's, and Draco could not have misplaced it in his own trunk by mistake, since he had never used it on his own.
He breathed deeply, shakily, and opened his eyes slowly. The cloak was still there. Carefully, Draco held it to his face, inhaling the familiar scent over and over, even though his chest hurt in recognition. He had no idea for how long he sat there, just breathing, remembering every moment of being close to Harry, knowing that he had to give it back.
As he tried to fold the garment again, hoping to hide away memories and feelings inside it, he noticed two pieces of parchment on his bed that he had not noticed before. The first looked old and was folded multiple times, but it was completely empty, he discovered as he unfolded it and turned it over a couple of times, just to make sure. The other was a lot smaller and there were a few lines scribbled on it in Harry's left-hand handwriting.
Draco took a deep breath and swallowed, before deciding that he was going to read it and not throw it away, no matter what was written on it.
Since I didn't get you a gift in return for the book, I decided to lend you my cloak for as long as you like. It'll make it easier for you to come visit me in the Gryffindor Tower whenever you like. The parchment is a map, to make sure that you won't run into Filch on the way. Just give it a tap with your wand and say: I solemnly swear that I'm up to no good. It'll give you all the information you need.
A suppressed sob burned in his throat, as he turned the small piece of parchment over, noticing a single line there.
PS. Thanks for making this the best Christmas. DS.
It would not have been much if it had been written by anyone else, Draco thought, but Harry had never been good at expressing his feelings. Draco suspected that he had added that PS after thinking it over at least a hundred times.
Perhaps he was too late. Perhaps Harry already regretted leaving the cloak in Draco's trunk. But perhaps Draco's mother was right, that it was never too late unless one had given up.
He picked up the larger parchment, the one Harry claimed to be a map, and tapped it with the tip of his wand.
"I solemnly swear that I'm up to no good," Draco whispered, and stared as thin lines darted across the surface from the tip of his wand, creating familiar patterns. It was Hogwarts, Draco realised as he unfolded it further. Small dots moved in corridors and, as he leaned closer, he could see the names of the person the dot portrayed.
He could sit there forever and watch them moving from room to room, some going to bed, he suspected, others heading to the bathroom. But there was no time. This map was not his, and he had to find Harry to give it back to him, and explain. Most of all he just wanted to see the Gryffindor again.
Determination and adrenaline suddenly rushed through his body, as he pushed the curtains aside and got to his feet, covering himself in the cloak. He had no idea how he would get into the Gryffindor Tower when he finally got there, but he could deal with that then.
He held the map tightly in his hand and hurried out of the Slytherin common room. The floor was freezing, and he had forgotten to put on both shoes and socks, but it did not matter. He was afraid that he would change his mind, lose his determination, if he turned back to get them, so instead he hurried down the corridors. The map showed no signs of neither Filch or Mrs. Norris, as Draco kept watching his own dot make its way through the school, clearly visible on the map even though he was covered in Harry's cloak.
Draco nearly forgot to skip one of the fake steps in the last staircase because his heart was beating rapidly behind his ribs. It was even more frightening to be alone in the school at night, than it had been with Harry. Every sound the sleeping portraits made caused him to jump and his heart to forget a beat.
Suddenly, he was there, the Fat Lady yawning in her frame in front of him.
He glanced down at the map, and a small speech bubble had turned up next to his dot. He squinted and leaned closer, unwilling to light his wand in the open. Quaffle-pocking it said. Draco sincerely hoped that this was not a bad joke of some sort, as he walked towards the portrait, still covered by the cloak. He assumed that this was the map's way of telling him the password to the Gryffindor Tower, but he was not sure what would happen if he was wrong.
"Quaffle-pocking," he said loudly, and he noticed with a small tug of satisfaction in his midsection, how the Fat Lady jerked and looked around.
"Who's there?" she said loudly, looking around.
"Quaffle-pocking," Draco said again, even louder, and watched the portray swung open in front of him. The Fat Lady did not seem happy about this, however, he noted, as she started muttering about illusion charms and informing Filch that students were walking around school this time of night. He did not hear the rest because he quickly made his way through the entrance to the Gryffindor common room.
It was completely deserted. A sharp contrast to the loud and crowded party that had been pulsating against the walls the last time he had been there. A pair of shoes stood forgotten beside an armchair, and what looked like first-year essays were scattered over a few tables. Most likely to dry. Draco resisted the temptation to cast a drying charm on them, or misspell a couple of words just because he had the opportunity, and tried to remember the way to Harry's dorm instead.
It was really happening now. He was there. To turn back seemed so easy compared to walking up the stairs and trying to talk to Harry. He was not even sure how the Gryffindor would react to seeing him there. What if he asked Draco to leave without hearing him out? Or if he got really angry and woke the rest of his house? The whole school would know all about it by breakfast tomorrow, and Draco would be laughed at until school was over.
But there was still a small chance that Harry would listen to him, perhaps even forgive him. And that was worth the risk of being the school laughing stock. He folded the map carefully, wondering absentmindedly if it wiped itself clean or if Draco was supposed to do something, as he hurried up the stairs. He felt almost faint as he rested his hand on the doorknob, all worst-case scenarios replaying themselves over and over in his head.
Breathing hard, he leaned against the door and tried to explain to himself that he had put himself in this situation and that he had to try to fix it to the best of his ability. He was terrified, as he pushed the door open and was instantly met by the sound of someone's snoring.
He looked around, but there was no movement in the room. The curtains to Harry's bed were closed, and Draco hesitated for many long breaths before he finally walked across the room and nudged them aside.
Harry was sleeping soundly, his dark hair contrasting against the white pillowcase. Draco's chest contracted again, hard, and he felt like crying. He wanted to brush the hair from Harry's face, follow the curve of his bottom lip with his fingertip but, instead, he shrugged the cloak off of his shoulders and held it tightly in his shaking hand.
"Harry," he whispered and prayed that no one else would wake up. The Gryffindor stirred slightly, and Draco could see movements beneath his eyelids. He reached out, hesitating for a short moment, before gently brushing his fingers over the skin at Harry's shoulder.
The Gryffindor's eyes flew open, as if in alarm, and he stared at Draco for what felt like forever, and Draco stared back. He could see the light of recognition in Harry's eyes, followed by hurt, and then they started to shut him out, growing colder.
"Harry," Draco whispered hastily. "Please, let me explain."
"Go away," Harry said harshly and scooted away from him, disconnecting himself from Draco's hand.
"Just let me explain," Draco said again, sounding more like he was pleading than anything else.
"I don't want to listen. I don't care what you have to say." Harry held onto the duvet so hard that his knuckles whitened, as if he was afraid that Draco would rip it away from him.
"Please," Draco whispered and felt his heart sink in his chest as the Gryffindor shook his head stubbornly.
"Just leave, Malfoy," Harry said loudly, and Draco jerked.
So they were back to Malfoy all over again.
"What's going on, Harry?" Weasel's sleepy voice came from the bed behind Draco.
He looked over his shoulder in panic, hearing the rustling of sheets before the curtains opened and Weasel's ginger head popped out. Blinking at Draco as if he was an illusion of some sort.
"Malfoy?" Weasel said and looked more confused than during Transfiguration. Then his gaze wandered from Draco, who still held the curtains to Harry's bed open, to Harry who was clutching his duvet tightly against his body. Weasel's tired eyes finally noticed the cloak and map in Draco's hands, and something seemed to click behind his eyes. "Oh," he said and did not look half as mad as Draco had expected him to be. "So did you tell him you love him yet?"
Draco flinched, and he could hear Harry's sharp intake of breath behind him. Then, it seemed like Weasel actually woke up completely, realising what he had just said, his eyes growing wide and his ears turning pink.
"Any chance Neville's snoring drowned any of that? No? I'll just..." He trailed off and pointed awkwardly towards the pillows behind him, before letting the curtains close again, like a shield.
Draco's heart was pounding again, his lips trembling slightly as he turned to look at Harry, who stared back at him wide-eyed.
"By the way, Malfoy," Weasel's voice came suddenly, sounding like he was already half-asleep, and Draco glanced towards the still closed curtains of the other boy's bed again. "I have my wand right here, and I'm not afraid to use it."
Draco could not help but smirk as he noticed a wand laying on the bedside table next to Weasel's bed, but he did not comment on it. Instead, he turned back to Harry, who still looked terrified.
"I'm sorry I ran away," Draco whispered and stepped closer, half-expecting Harry to scoot away from him further to keep the distance, but instead he loosened his grip of the duvet. "I really am. I don't know what I was thinking. I thought about going back, but...I was too afraid that you would already be gone."
Harry looked away, a long, shaky inhale of air was the only sound that escaped him. Draco took this as permission to continue.
"I know that I'm a coward. I know I hurt you when I ran away. I'm so sorry." The lump in his throat made it hard to speak, and his voice wavered embarrassingly with every word. "I'm so sorry," he repeated, noticing how Harry swallowed but was still looking away.
"Harry, I-" he began, but someone cut him off:
"Silencing charm! I'm trying to sleep here."
He had no idea who had said it and did not know if that person knew who he was, but he did not really feel like putting up with a cranky Gryffindor.
"I guess I'll go," Draco said quietly and glanced down at the cloak and map. How he was going to make it all the way back to the Slytherin dungeons fully visible, he had no idea, but he had to give them back.
Harry seemed to hesitate, his mouth opening, but no words came out. As their eyes met, he could almost see how the Gryffindor's walls crumbled and fell.
"Just get in here," Harry muttered with a sigh and scooted away further, making room.
Draco hesitated for one short moment, but mentally slapped himself for his own stupidity and hurried onto the bed, afraid that Harry might change his mind. As the curtains closed around them, the tension grew thick in the air around them almost instantly. Harry was so close that all Draco had to do was reach out just a little to touch him. But he did not. Instead, he cast a silencing charm on the bed, shutting out Longbottom's snoring until all that was left were the sounds of two hearts beating rapidly, completely off beat to one another.
"I'm so sorry," Draco whispered and shivered as Harry looked at him in silence for a long while.
"I know," the Gryffindor said finally. "You should be."
"I know," Draco nodded and wondered if he dared to hope. He reached out slowly, to give Harry time to move away if he wanted to, and took the other boy's hand in his. A warm rush of satisfaction rushed through him, as Harry sighed and closed his eyes as his fingers closed around Draco's hand.
Instinctively, Draco leaned forward and brushed their lips together, praying that Harry would not push him away. For a long moment, the lips beneath his were completely immobile, and then with a small sigh, Harry seemed to give in and responded to the kiss.
Relief rushed through him, as he pushed himself against the Gryffindor, craving the familiar sensation of his body against his own.
"I thought you knew," Harry whispered breathlessly against his lips and moved back slightly, his eyes boring into Draco's. "I-I told you right after we...you know, but you didn't answer. I assumed that you had fallen asleep, but then you ran away from me."
Draco was not sure that he knew what Harry was referring to, but then a small grin spread over his lips as he remembered Weasel's words just moments ago and a vague memory of Harry mumbling something to him just before he had fallen asleep the last night in their dorm.
"You love me," he mumbled triumphantly, letting Weasel's words sink in, and he felt like crying and laughing at the same time, when he got a snort in reply.
"You love me too," Harry said finally, one corner of his mouth quirking upwards.
And as they fell onto the bed, tangled in each other, kissing like there were not four other people in the same room, it did not matter that their hearts were completely off beat, that Draco was a complete coward or that Harry never seemed to realise that his snorts were not nearly an acceptable answer, because it all made sense somehow.
And I never was smart with love
I let the bad ones in and the good ones go
But I'm gonna love you like I've never been hurt before
I'm gonna love you like I'm indestructible
Your love is ultra-magnetic
And it's taking over
This is hardcore
Ooh and I'm gonna love you like
Like I've never been hurt before
I'm gonna love you like I'm indestructible
Indestructible – Robyn
Story end notes: Wow. So now it's all over. I hope that I did not disappoint you and I hope you have enjoyed this adventure as much as I have. Again, I want to thank you for every single review, for every single fav and story alert. It means the world to me. Thank you for staying with me. Reviews are, of course, loved.