After a Quidditch accident, Draco Malfoy falls into a permanent coma. This is because his soul is no longer in his body. Where is it? It's haunting the only person that can see or hear him: Harry Potter.
A/N: This story is set in fourth year, but there isn't any Triwizard Tournament: just a nice little FYI. Based off of Just Like Heaven.
Just Like Hell
I. Hermione Writes Love Letters To Snape
"Oh God, what do I do? I can't get caught like this!"
"Merlin, just get your bloody Invisibility Cloak on! They're about to do it!"
"Stop ordering me around!"
"Shut up, Potter. I can and I will and I'm not going to be killed just because you're too much of a pussy not to have a panic attack right now. Just get your damn Invisibility Cloak on! You know I'm right! Please!"
I huffed in annoyance, but finally did as Malfoy ordered. He was right, as usual. And he had said please, which wasn't something I had heard too often, even if it was full of venom and mockery. With the Invisibility Cloak over me, I knew Malfoy couldn't see my expression, so I let my mask fall, allowing my face to grow soft as I looked at the boy. He was frazzled, and his cheeks were flushed with excitement and ever-growing fear.
"Now grab me!" Malfoy snapped, leaning over the bed with a frantic urgency.
"What? You can't get under here!"
"Not me! Me! Him! Whatever! Just grab me, Potter! Do it, you disobedient sod! Get me under the Cloak with you!"
The adrenaline running through me hissed in my ears as I grabbed the warm body I had longed to hold for what was too long and pulled it towards me. The boy obliged willingly, just as I expected. Well, there wasn't much else to expect: he was sort of in a coma. I adjusted the body in my arms, panting slightly with exertion from picking up the dead weight, regardless of how much lighter it was than I expected. The light outside was fading rapidly – the sun was almost gone, and I knew I had to hurry.
Just as I began to cover the boy with the Cloak, a yell of "Harry!" echoed from outside the Hospital Wing, and the door slammed open.
Two months ago, Draco Malfoy was hit in the back of the head with a Bludger during a Quidditch game against my team. It was an accident, and I was sure Fred Weasley wasn't aiming for Malfoy's head, but that's sure where the Bludger landed.
It wouldn't have even been a big deal if Malfoy hadn't fallen into a coma shortly afterward. But, as it was, he did and was supposed to never wake up from it. It wasn't easy to fall into a coma, especially without the use of magic. In fact, it was, at least before this incident, damn near impossible, as it had never happened before. Physical head traumas could be cured quite easily with magic, so when Pomfrey couldn't help Malfoy, all of us were surprised. She said she would stabilize his condition with healing spells, but there wasn't much else she could do as she had never seen a case like this.
I couldn't help but feel guilty, but it was nothing compared to Fred, who, although he thought Malfoy a slimy ferret, felt even worse. He ruined the git's life, and that was something he could never make up for or repair. I consoled him later after the match, telling him I sometimes felt responsible for my parents' deaths even though there was nothing I could have done to stop what happened, but he rejected my condolences. I think I just made him feel worse.
I knew there wasn't any way I could really make him feel better, since, no matter what happened, Malfoy would still be locked in a coma that was induced by Fred's Bludger, but I didn't want any of my friends to feel bad.
I went to bed feeling pretty shitty about the whole situation, but I tried to push away the queasy feeling in my stomach the best I could.
The next morning, as I headed down to breakfast with Ron and Hermione, Malfoy and the match were both in the back of my mind, nearly forgotten. I had spent enough of the night before thinking about how terrible the entire situation was. Even I wouldn't wish a fate almost the same as death on Malfoy. He may have been an arrogant twit, but I didn't want him dead.
"Have you finished Trelawney's assignment yet?" I asked Ron, who was currently eating the morning's bacon with great gusto. Hermione observed him with mild distaste.
Ron struggled to swallow before letting out an amused snort. "No. I'll just make it up during our free period today before class. That old bat'll believe anything as long as you predict something to do with death or chaos."
"This is true," I agreed. Trelawney was a nutcase.
"Honestly, I don't understand why you two don't just drop that course. It's utter rubbish, if you ask me," Hermione said.
Ron and I looked at each other briefly before shrugging in unison. We both knew how Hermione felt about the subject, so there wasn't much we could say to placate her. Ron, though, turning to look at Hermione beside him, said, in a rather untactful way, "It's a blow off class, and no one was asking you."
Hermione rolled her eyes and was about to retort, but she never got the chance. "Is that Malfoy?" I squeaked. For, at the entrance of the Great Hall, was Malfoy, still garbed in his Quidditch uniform from the match the day before.
"What? Where?" Hermione asked, leaning back in her seat to look where I was looking. Ron copied her.
After a quick scan, the pair turned back to look at me. My gaze was still on Malfoy, who was now slowly walking down the aisle in between the Slytherin and Ravenclaw tables, looking rather concerned as he gazed around at the students. In fact, no one else besides me seemed to even notice him. Not even Parkinson, Crabbe, or Goyle. It was strange, considering the fact that he had just awoken from a rather serious coma. And why on earth was he in his Quidditch uniform? He looked like a right ponce, standing around in his gear while everyone else was happily eating in their school uniforms.
"What are you talking about, Harry?" Hermione asked me, an eyebrow raised, and I tore my eyes away from Malfoy. "Malfoy's in a coma." Even Ron looked at me as though I had grown another head.
I looked back and forth between Ron and Hermione. I let out a little chuckle, realizing they were joking. "Good one, guys." I scraped a bit of scrambled egg off of my fork and into my mouth, swallowing.
Ron and Hermione exchanged another confused look, which began to annoy me rather a lot. "He's standing right behind you," I said agitatedly, gesturing with my fork to where Malfoy was now standing behind his friends. He seemed to be saying something to them, but I couldn't hear it over the rustle of the Great Hall. None of the people he was talking to were responding. "Wonder what he's still doing in his Quidditch uniform." I shook my head in wonder, returning to my food. At least Fred wouldn't have to feel guilty anymore since Malfoy had apparently made a full recovery. Well, I thought, looking up at Malfoy, who seemed to be growing more and more agitated over something by the second, physically. He was still wearing his Quidditch robes, which was rather strange, so maybe the blow to the head affected something.
"Are you feeling okay, mate?" Ron asked. He sounded legitimately concerned for me.
I nodded, confused. Hadn't we stopped this game? "Yes, of course."
"There is no Malfoy behind us," Hermione said in a soft, soothing voice, as though explaining to a two year old that two plus two equaled four.
I set my fork down to stare at my friends, who were looking at me with bewildered eyes. Even Ron had stopped eating. "Yes, there is. He's right there." I pointed to Malfoy across the Hall, and at that moment he looked up and caught my eye.
I froze, my arm stiff out in front of me, as Malfoy left his despondent friends and hurriedly made his way over to me, slamming through the Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff tables like they weren't even there. I flinched, dropping my arm, taken aback.
That's when I realized something wasn't right. Malfoy should not have been able to walk through the tables like they were air; like he was a ghost. But he looked solid; like he had for the past three and a half years.
"Harry?" Hermione asked, double checking over her shoulder. Malfoy was standing right behind her, mere inches away. "No one's there." I wasn't breathing, I was so surprised.
"Potter!" And there was his voice, slicing through the air scathingly, but there was a sort of panic laced behind it. His steel eyes looked at me desperately. I stiffened, breaking eye contact with Malfoy and looking back down at Ron and Hermione's worried expressions. I knew, without a doubt, that they were questioning my sanity in that moment.
"Oh, ha," I laughed nervously, deeply shaken by Malfoy's presence and the fact that apparently only I could see and hear him. Maybe I was crazy. "Just kidding. Bad joke, I know."
Malfoy began tapping his foot, fidgeting his thumbs around each other. "Potter, I need to see you… now!" I wished my friends could see him now. That, at least, might have mitigated my concerns for brain damage.
My friends' stiff expressions eased slightly with my words, although my heart began racing faster when Malfoy had spoken up once more. This was short lived, though, as Hermione raised an eyebrow at my next, unconvincing tone. "Oh! I forgot something… that… thing in my dorm. You know? Okay. See you in class." I stood up quickly, grabbing my bag and storming out of the hall before they had the chance to say anything.
I heard Malfoy's footsteps storming after me, and I led him through an empty hallway, never once looking back until I reached an unused classroom, closing the door behind me. I collapsed against a desk, my breathing heavy, as Malfoy walked right through the closed door.
"You can see me, Potter?" Malfoy asked. It was said hesitantly, as though he didn't believe it.
I nodded, dropping my bag onto the floor.
"Aren't you supposed to be in a coma?" I asked because I couldn't seem to form any of the other questions flowing through my mind.
"I am," Malfoy said indignantly. "I just… I am."
"Oh, well, that's just lovely because you're definitely standing right in front of me!" My voice cracked at the end of the sentence.
"Oh, quit you're hysterics, Potter," Malfoy drawled uneasily, leaning against the chalkboard. He was tense, his expression guarded. I snorted under my breath. It's not like I could hurt him. I was almost positive he was solid as a ghost. "I'm the one who's stuck in the coma. Not you!"
"Well, then why are you here? Go… back," I said, not really understanding the whole situation. All I knew was that I didn't want to have to deal with a Malfoy no one but I could see or hear.
Malfoy rolled his eyes in annoyance. "You don't think I tried that already? I can't wake up because I'm wandering around Hogwarts and apparently you're the only bloody one that can see me!"
I took a deep breath, trying to steady my heart and gather my thoughts. Stranger things had happened, right? Thinking back, I decided not really, but I could handle this. If anything, Malfoy was more of an annoyance than a threat.
"Malfoy, I don't know how to fix you."
Malfoy rolled his eyes. "Well, that's bloody great and all, but I was actually going to… ask… for your… help," he choked out, obviously horrified at the prospect of asking for my assistance. I didn't blame him; however, that didn't make my victory any less sweet.
I smiled smugly. "Well, then, what do I get in return?"
Malfoy glared at me before looking down and away at some floor tile sullenly. "I don't know. What do you want?"
I clicked my tongue, contemplating the situation. I wanted many things: my parents back, Sirius free, a friend away from the bickering of Ron and Hermione… "Nothing that you can give me, Malfoy."
Malfoy's head snapped up, his gaze fierce as he stared at me. "Why'd you ask, then?" I shrugged. I didn't say anything, so Malfoy continued. "So you won't help me?" I could tell he was pissed, but I could also tell he was rather hopeless about the whole situation.
I shouldn't help him. He was always a great bloody prat to my friends and me, and he definitely didn't deserve my assistance. But, looking over at the stuck-up Slytherin, I felt awfully guilty. I just couldn't leave him to rot in a coma as his soul meandered around pointlessly. "I'll think about it," I said. I picked up my bag from the floor, not wishing to surrender to Malfoy quite yet. I'd let him squirm a bit before I gave him my answer. Malfoy's head snapped up.
"Yeah, but don't get your hopes up or anything. I'll think about it," I repeated, adjusting the heavy bag on my shoulder. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go to Transfiguration."
With that, I swept out of the room, not sparing Malfoy a second glance even though I was sorely tempted to just to see his reaction. I closed the door behind me, but that didn't stop Malfoy from barging right through the wall and walking in step next to me.
I was going to be early, I knew, but I wanted to get away from Malfoy and his impossibly obnoxious drawls and sneers. Even if he was in a coma, that didn't mean I had to be nice to him.
I sent him a glare. "Are you going to follow me around all day or something?"
"Thinking about it," Malfoy drawled, trying to get a rise out of me.
I let out an involuntary growl of annoyance. "I'd appreciate it if you didn't."
Malfoy shrugged but otherwise ignored my request.
He followed me all the way to McGonagall's classroom, much to my great annoyance. He didn't say anything, as I was ignoring him to the very best of my abilities, but that still didn't help my temper much.
I was about to tell him to sod off, or I wouldn't help him reunite himself with his body, but Neville stumbled into the corridor at that moment, and I couldn't snap at Draco for risk of sounding as crazy as I did that morning.
"Hey, Harry!" Neville said.
I tried to match his enthusiasm as I returned the greeting. Neville and I talked outside the locked classroom door for a short while, me trying to ignore all of Malfoy's snide comments and remarks towards Neville.
"I lost Trevor again this morning. You haven't seen him, have you? Gran always gets in a right state when I lose him, since he always seems to end up in her handbag," Neville moaned miserably.
"His poor toad probably finds comfort in that, seeing as his grandmother and toad are remarkably alike: they croak, are positively ancient, and are both covered in mucus," Malfoy said. His arms were crossed, and he was smirking. My fist tightened around my bag, and my knuckles turned white, but I showed no other apparent signs of anger. I wouldn't let Malfoy get to me.
McGonagall finally showed up after a few more painful minutes of conversing with Neville and listening to Malfoy's rude comments.
I wished Malfoy was solid, so I could throttle him.
More students began to show up, and Ron sat in the chair Malfoy was currently residing in next to me, sinking right through him. Ron shivered.
"You filthy blood-traitor!" Malfoy snapped, standing up haughtily right through Ron's body. I could almost hear his "Wait until my father hears about this!" added on the end of his exclamation. Too bad that he wasn't in much of a state to tell his father anything. I snorted, glad that Malfoy was pissed. He was acting like a git. Too bad for him. Getting on my bad side wouldn't help matters too much.
"Are you okay, mate?" Ron asked. "You really freaked us out this morning. I mean, Malfoy? Poor idiot's in a coma."
I forced a laugh. "Yeah, I'm fine. Don't worry about me." Ron gave me a look. "No, really! It was just the eggs or something. The cooks must have changed the recipe."
"If you say so," said Ron. He didn't believe me: I hadn't expected him to. Hopefully, though, my lame excuse got him off my case.
"You are truly a horrible liar, Potter," Malfoy drawled from my left. I jumped: it was easy to forget he was there. "Weasel, who's thicker than Hogwarts' stone, can see through it."
"Shove off," I said.
"What was that?" asked Ron.
I smiled sweetly. "Nothing."
McGonagall, Merlin bless her, began class at that moment, so I could refrain from awkward conversation with my best friend.
Hermione, as usual during this class, had taken a seat at the front of the room next to a studious Ravenclaw – Pamma or something. Hermione and she got on famously.
Today, the class was having an oral lesson. No wands out. Normally, I would object to this, as oral lessons could be quite tedious; but, as I didn't want to deal with Ron right now, oral required less socializing and therefore a happier me.
Unfortunately, I could barely pay attention to anything McGonagall said. Malfoy wandered around the classroom, peering into people's bags and sticking his ghostly hand them.
"It seems Granger's written a love letter!" Malfoy called. My mouth formed a thin line. As immoral as it was, I couldn't rightly stop Malfoy from peering into people's things without looking at least mildly demented. "For Snape!" My teeth clenched. "Oh, no, never mind. . . it's just the Mudblood's homework."
Determinedly, I stared at McGonagall's lips moving, trying to make sense of the words coming out of her mouth. It didn't help any, but at least Malfoy could think I was ignoring him.
Malfoy lay back onto my desk, across the parchment and books laid out. "Merlin, I don't think I've ever been near Weasley this close up before: he smells worse than he looks."
"You can't smell, you sod," I whispered, fingers clenched. I really wished I could punch him.
Ron sent me a look. I ignored it, looking back up at McGonagall: let him imagine me talking to myself. It was easier than confrontation with unanswerable questions.
"So? Just being this close up to him gives me the willies. How can you even bear to go into his hovel with all those other savages? I hear they share one bed – is that true? One big bed for the Weasels to–"
In a moment of idiotic rage, I made a wild swing out in front of me, my palm swiping right through Malfoy's nose and into his brain – or where it was supposed to be. It felt like ants were crawling all over my hand.
"Mr. Potter?" Professor McGonagall asked. "Is something wrong, Mr. Potter?" I withdrew my arm from Malfoy's head, looking down into my lap. My face felt like it was in an oven.
The class was completely silent and staring at me. Up front, Hermione had turned around and mouthed "What's wrong?"
"Harry hasn't been feeling well, Professor," Ron explained. He looked at me like I was a ticking bomb.
"Yes, Professor McGonagall," sneered Malfoy, "poor Potty hasn't felt well today."
"Yes, well," McGonagall began, "you had best be getting your friend to the Hospital Wing, Weasley. He looks ready to. . . well. You may go."
I decided it best not to say anything and let Ron lead me out of the classroom.
"Harry, what's up?" Ron asked as soon as the door shut after us. "You've been acting weird all day. Does this have something to do with the Malfoy thing?"
For one glorious moment, I envisioned myself telling Ron about how I could see a ghost-version of Malfoy. I saw him believing me then telling Hermione. Hermione would get me to tell Dumbledore, and then surely he would fix the situation. No more Malfoy.
But the scene changed, and I saw white walls and bars. I had cloth tightly wrapped around my waist, pinning my arms to my side. Beside me, Malfoy sat in his Quidditch robes, sneering. "Did you think they would actually believe you, Potty? You're crazy. You should have just helped me on your own. Now we're both screwed."
"No, Ron," I finally said. "It has absolutely nothing to do with Malfoy."
He seemed taken aback by the firmness I said that statement. "Okay. Well, whatever it is, I hope you get over it soon. I'm here to talk." I smiled at Ron. He was a good friend.
"Isn't this touching?" said Malfoy, strutting to stand right next to Ron and me. "It's like a little loser family." I rolled my eyes.
I wasn't going to get locked up because of Malfoy. I would figure this out myself. I would get the annoying sod off my back.
"Thanks, Ron. I'm fine, though, so don't even worry."
Ron smiled. "Chess?"
I laughed. "Chess."
"I take it you're helping me, Potter. Thinking done?"
I ignored Malfoy, but we both knew the answer.
I'd either help Malfoy or be annoyed to death trying.
A/N: "Isn't this touching? It's like a little loser family." Courtesy of A Very Potter Musical (Act I, Scene IV). That Draco Malfoy kills me.