AN: Written for HP_Kinkfest on livejournal, 2010

The One Where Ron and Hermione Find Out

Ron Weasley knew they were in trouble the moment they Apparated to the abandoned house in Herefordshire. It was dark and seemingly lifeless, but that is not what they expected. A reconnaissance team should have been on site with information regarding the amount of people and the types of wards they were dealing with. Being met with stony silence was not a comforting sight, even in the peace of the midnight air.

"Let's go and get back-up," Harry said, pulling out his Auror Communicator to alert headquarters of the problem and let them know they were returning.

"But, Harry! They've got those muggle kids! We don't have a lot of time before something happens to them. Just tell Kingsley that we need back-up now and let's go in," Ron said, drawing his wand and advancing on the seemingly empty house.

"And they probably have our men, too," Harry said, and Ron saw the steely determination flit over Harry's shadowed face. He was on board. They were going for it.

Ron cast a Revelio spell, revealing all of the spells currently in place around the old shack. There was a number of disguising spells, including one to make the home look empty and unused. After casting a few whispered Finite spells at these security measures, Harry and Ron could clearly see the shack buzzing with activity. Upon seeing the property in its true form, a large, black barn was revealed to them. The barn was barred shut, but the barred and wooden doors opened and closed periodically to let large wizards and witches in shapeless black cloaks through. Ron felt Harry grip his elbow as the barred doors opened again, and a dark figure could be seen levitating a small cage with a very young little girl in it.

The little girl was crying uncontrollably, shaking with fear and cold. She was dressed in rags, and the bitter February wind was slapping against her exposed skin. The man guiding her cage paused and waved his wand as the cage shook incessantly. The shaking stopped when the girl stopped crying. After that, she just sat there, her little fingers wound tightly through the thin metal slats of her cage. Ron felt his dinner rise in his throat, and his entire body shook with rage.

"The informant was fucking right!" Ron whispered through clenched teeth. "They are kidnapping little muggle children to test potions on!"

"They must keep them in the barn and then conduct the experiments in the house," Harry said, Ron saw his knuckles were white; he was gripping his wand so tightly.

Ron thought of the little children currently nestled in his quaint home, and rage rippled through him again. He wanted his babies to be safe, to not have to worry about things like this, and here he was, still trying to stop immeasurable cruelty. He could see by the way Harry was holding his wand that he was thinking roughly the same thing. Lily was still brand-new, and Harry was most likely picturing the raven-haired baby girl as they watched another caged child being carried into the house.

Ron still hadn't fully forgiven Harry for ending it with Ginny, especially since Ginny had been pregnant at the time, but Ginny kept insisting they both wanted it that way. He couldn't fathom the reasoning behind their split at all: they had dated for two years after the war, and then married, rebuilt the house in Godric's Hollow, and created three children. Even with all of that, they apparently had realized one day that they were together for the sake of being together, and not because they were in love. Harry desperately wanted a family, and Ginny cared for Harry so much that she desperately wanted to give it to him. How that didn't mean being in love, Ron would never understand. He loved Hermione more every second of every day, and when they moved in together, got married, and had children … well it only made Ron even more in love with her. It wasn't until Ginny brought Oliver Wood to one of the Sunday dinners at the Burrow that it really sunk in for Ron. He still didn't understand any of it, but he accepted it as fact.

However, Ron couldn't stay mad at Harry, since Ginny still seemed amazingly happy and James, Al and Lily were loved children. Ron resolved to scratch his head about it, and just be there for his best mate. Hermione told Ron that he was being very mature about the whole situation, and Ron couldn't help but feel proud at such an adjective being used to describe something he did. Still, it had only been a few months since Harry tried to explain this to him, and the reluctance to accept and forgive was still there.

"Okay, Kingsley says he's on his way with back up," Harry said, looking at his watch where the message was magically flashing.

"Right, I've counted thirteen separate people, but there could be more. First thing we need to do is find out where the rest of the team is. We can't go in there, just the two of us … no matter how badly we want to," Ron said, stalking closer to the forest edge so that they could sidle over to the barn undetected.

When they made it around to the back of the barn, they found the missing Aurors. All five of them were tied to a large oak tree, gagged, with their heads sagging unconsciously.

Harry rushed over and checked their vitals really quickly. Then he cast a few healing spells on some of them while Ron untied the uninjured. They quickly cast Ennervate on all five of the Aurors and Harry sent the two injured ones back via Portkey.

"Okay, we have to work fast. There is back up on the way, but we need to get those kids out as soon as possible. In case you guys didn't find out, there are thirteen of them." Ron started pacing, but was interrupted by Ernie Macmillan.

"There are six kids. One of them looks like they might … they're … I don't think he made it," Ernie said, hanging his head.

"Four of them, including the still one are in the barn, in cages kept in the horse stalls," Mary Bringer called up.

"Okay, Mary and Tim, you guys wait for our signal and then go into the barn and get those four out as quickly as possible. Portkey to the Ministry in one trip if you can," Ron said. He turned to Harry. "Harry, you should try to slip into the house undetected. Most of the targets are there and we probably won't be able to get the kids out without being seen … but we need to try. You are the best at stealth we've got." Harry winked at Ron and slipped his hand into the pocket of his robes, where Ron knew his Invisibility Cloak was.

"We've got no chance of taking all of them down! How are we going to get the kids out before the backup comes?" Ernie whispered urgently.

Ron just smiled and readied his wand. "Ernie, my boy, you and I are going to distract."

With that, the makeshift team separated. Mary and Tim moved to the back entrance of the barn to wait for Ron and Ernie's flash and bang. Harry moved into darkness until he was far enough away to pull his Cloak over his head. Ron stared in his direction and let a moment of worry pass as his best friend once again went into the fray alone. Ron looked to Ernie, and they both raised their wands and ran yelling toward the opening between the barn and the house.

The cloaked villains immediately rushed out of both buildings, shooting a hodgepodge of curses at Ron and Ernie. They carried a shield charm on them until they could set themselves up in the center of the fray. Then, back to back, Ron and Ernie began to cast as many spells as they could, creating mass chaos. When a Reducto hit one of the henchmen and he screamed out in pain, three more people came out of the house. These people were wearing white lab coats and goggles. Ron counted as quickly as he could while he was casting spells and found that all thirteen were currently battling him and Ernie.

He knew they wouldn't be able to last much longer, but at least the kids would be safe. He set off a flash bang charm and hoped for the best.

Suddenly, one of the blokes in the lab coats snapped his head back to the house as though he had been silently alerted of something. He shouted something in what Ron thought might be Italian, and then four of the biggest men made a beeline for the back door of the house. A series of 'pops' told Ron that the backup had arrived, but the only thing going through his head was that Harry was about to be ambushed. He began to run toward the house even as he heard Aurors shouting spells over his shoulder.

The Still Boy in the cage was the only child that remained in the run-down make-shift lab, not in the barn as they had initially thought. The cage was sitting on top of a metal table, but Ron couldn't make it there, his path blocked by the three men. Ron slipped behind a short desk to try to gauge Harry's whereabouts and whether or not he could get his friend or the Still Boy out of there. The two burly men were searching frantically through the one-roomed building for Harry, but they couldn't cover enough space in enough time and never seemed to find where the invisible force was coming from. The man in the lab coat continued to bark orders, his demeanor growing increasingly crazed in frustration.

That's when Ron saw it, the flash of a foot on the other end of the expansive room, only a few feet from where the boy was. Ron leapt out from behind the desk and shot three successive stunners. He managed to take down one of the large men, but the other two came right for him. With any luck, they would assume he was the only one in there and Harry could make it out. Ron had managed to hide behind upturned tables and counters and was eluding injury quite well. He peeked around a stainless steel table to see the cage seemingly floating in mid air toward the door. Ron shot an Incendio in the opposite direction.

The fire ignited a stream of chemicals that had dripped on the floor and was currently traveling toward the large table in the center of the room. The two standing villains immediately screamed and fled out the back door. Ron began to run, but he knew he wouldn't make it in time. He ran toward where the cage was floating and yelled at the top of his lungs.

"Harry! Get out of here now!"

In the next moment, four things happened: Harry whipped off his cloak. He set a Portkey on the boy's cage and it immediately disappeared, he turned to Ron and cast Aguamenti preemptively in his direction, and a gigantic explosion rocked Ron to his bones. Ron was flung to the floor by the initial force of the sound, and his body slid across the ground to where Harry had been slammed against the wall. As the room filled with flames and Ron's lungs began to give out under the fumes, he looked over to Harry's limp body. Blood was gushing from his side, and a trickle of blood could be seen falling from his lips. His leg was bent grotesquely underneath him. Ron's hand found Harry's and clasped on tightly.

"Get Draco," Harry groaned in Ron's ear.

Everything went dark.


Ron came to with a painful burning in his lungs, he was still in the shack, but there was no fire. Smoke billowed thickly around his head and he could scarcely breathe. He must have only been out for a few moments. He looked over at his outstretched hand and noticed that Harry's grip had gone slack. Harry lay motionless, without even a cough at the heavy smoke.

"Weasley! Potter!" Ernie was shouting. Ron groaned in what he hoped was a loud enough voice to be heard.

"They're over here!" Mary yelled, kneeling down in between Ron and Harry. Ron turned his head to see Ernie appearing through the smoke.

"You two have to go to St. Mungo's. I'll floo Hermione as soon as we get out of here," Ernie said, running some light healing spells over Ron. The burning in his lungs eased.

"Malfoy…" Ron croaked.

"What?" Ernie said, though Ron was certain he heard him.

"Harry says he needs Draco Malfoy, I'm not sure why, just get him," Ron said, but the energy and air he used to form such a long sentence caught up with him, and he blacked out again before he could even get a confirmation from Ernie.


Hermione clutched her chest as Ernie Macmillan held her arm and lowered her to the sofa in her cozy family room. Hugo had finally gone to sleep and Rose was long since tucked in her "big girl bed" as she liked to call it. Hermione wanted to cry out, wanted to scream Ron's name, but bit her tongue for fear she would scare the kids. She began to shake as Ernie quickly summoned some tea. She needed to go to St. Mungo's in that moment, and her mind began to buzz frantically, trying to figure out if she should take the kids or not.

"Why don't you get Mrs. Weasley to keep an eye on the little ones until we have more word on Ron's condition?" Ernie said gently. At the word 'condition', Hermione crumpled again, her tears threatening to turn into loud sobs if she didn't get control over herself.

Hermione nodded and brandished her wand, attempting to cast her Patronus to call Molly over. After a few disappointing silver wisps, she could feel her delicate countenance begin to give way. She looked at the clock, panicking, knowing she needed to get to Ron's side as soon as she could. Ernie still had a comforting arm around her, but his warmth didn't do anything to soothe her, the way Ron's would. Hermione closed her eyes and remembered the quick hours after Harry defeated Voldemort. She remembered the bittersweet happiness mixed with mourning, the immense sense of joy at the prospects of a brilliant future, and mostly the overwhelming relief that Harry and Ron were safe and sound. Ron came to her in that moment, stood behind her, and wrapped his arms around her waist, pressing his nose into her neck. As Hermione remembered his warmth, and the way it enfolded her beyond her skin, she finally managed to produce her corporeal Patronus. She let the ethereal creature take a small swim in the air around her, taking comfort for a moment, before she gave it instructions.

"Molly, I'm sorry to disturb you and Arthur so late, but there's been an accident. Ron and Harry are injured. I'll give you more details as I have them, but I must get to St. Mungo's now. Would you kindly come and watch Rose and Hugo for me?" she said to the happy little otter. The creature did a flip in the air and immediately floated away. Hermione put her head in her shaking hands.

"Hermione, there's another thing. I'm not entirely sure what it means though …" Ernie said, looking incredibly unsure and a little frightened.

"Out with it," Hermione commanded sharply.

"Draco Malfoy. Before Ron … well … passed out, he said that Harry asked for Draco Malfoy. I don't know if he has connections to the case or what Harry's got up his sleeve, but I figured it might be important. This case did involve some very potent potions, and he might need to be brought in for questioning or something. It's just, well, I can't bring him in without an order from the Minister or the Wizengamot, and I don't want to lose my job. It might be important though," Ernie said in a stammer.

Hermione still winced slightly at the sound of Draco's name. It had been years, but whenever she heard of him, she only saw flashes of his pale and frightened face as she was tortured, staring down at her pain as a spectacle. Despite working for the Magical Creatures department in the Ministry, and utilizing and commending Malfoy's remarkable new Wolfsbane potion, Hermione had successfully avoided any contact with him. She knew on paper he was 'good' and had done what he could to help their cause during the war, even in his situation and despite the mistakes he made. He tried to hide their identity on that horrible night in Malfoy Manor and his mother had done so much to save Harry's life. Draco was a victim of circumstance and Hermione understood that. How could she not? She was reasonable and logical after all. However, she could never look at him, let alone trust him, without reliving that awful night in her mind. As far as she was concerned, Draco Malfoy would always be a Death Eater, regardless of forgiveness.

"I'll go over to the Apothecary's and get him on the way to St. Mungo's," Hermione whispered meekly. If Harry needed Draco brought in, Hermione would do it. She was no coward.

"I've got to go back to headquarters and help out with those kids," Ernie said, then he Apparated away.

As soon as Molly had arrived, looking disheveled and incredibly worried, Hermione kissed her mother in law and Apparated to Diagon Alley. She climbed the sturdy, elegantly carved wooden steps to the apartment above the Apothecary shop and knocked lightly. She laughed coldly at herself, sucked in her breath, and knocked louder in the hopes of waking the occupant up. Hermione's heart began to race as she heard rapid footsteps approaching.

The door was yanked open, and Hermione involuntarily shrunk back at the sight of Draco Malfoy. He was slightly unkempt, but in impeccable silk pajamas and matching robe, like he had just woken from a very peaceful sleep. He looked livid until he saw Hermione shrinking away from his door and leaning against the railing, then his face turned into an emotionless mask.

"Granger …"

"It's Weasley, actually," Hermione whispered.

"Of course, my mistake. To what do I owe this … visit?" Draco said, his face still cold, white marble and revealing nothing.

"Harry would like to speak with you," Hermione said, straightening her back.

Draco raised a single eyebrow and crossed his arms over his chest, still revealing no emotion.

"And why didn't he come for me himself?" he asked sharply.

"He's … there's been … he can't quite … oh God!" Hermione couldn't quite find her words as her voice shook. Tears were burning behind her eyes and her knees were getting weak. Draco just stood there, something that almost looked like fear flickering across his face.

"Is something wrong with Harry?" he said in a croaking whisper.

Something in his voice caught Hermione off guard, and the fact that he said 'Harry' instead of 'Potter' set off some warning bells in her head. However, she figured she was just being mocked, and was too mentally exhausted and anxious to delve more deeply into her questions. She tried to steel her bones yet again.

"There has been an accident while on a mission. Harry and R… R… my husband were badly injured. They are currently unconscious. Before Harry went out, he asked for you. I'm sure he has questions about the potions that were used on this case. It may be urgent, so I'm asking you to come with me to St. Mungo's," Hermione finished, realizing she had been holding her breath the entire time.

Malfoy turned from her swiftly, running through his flat with his wand raised. In a few very quick moments, he was clad in some gray trousers and a white Oxford shirt, wrapping himself in a nice, black robe. He slid on some black leather gloves, charmed a green and silver scarf to tie around his neck, and was casting wards on his house before Hermione could even blink. Taking his cue, she took the steps down quickly and Apparated to St. Mungo's as she simultaneously heard a 'pop' in Malfoy's direction.

The Wizarding hospital was startling quiet in the early morning hours. Hermione vaguely acknowledged Malfoy's tall form next to her before her smart shoes were clicking on the white tiled floor. There was no magic allowed beyond the Apparation point unless you were a healer, so Hermione and Malfoy had to walk nearly two hundred yards to the other end of the hospital toward the lifts. Harry and Ron were on the 6th floor, in room 615, and Hermione repeated that information over and over again in her mind to the rhythm of her steps, trying not to dwell on the fear rising in her chest.

As they entered the lift and Hermione called out the floor number, and she had to grip the golden handrail attached to the wall to stay standing. When the bell rang and the lift doors opened, Hermione's unsteady legs took off a little too fast, and she stumbled upon exiting past the golden doors. A firm grip circled her elbow and held her upright, and Hermione gasped at Draco's touch. He looked at her, his eyes daring her to question him, and she inexplicably felt a little steadier. She allowed Draco to take her hand and wind it around his proffered arm, keeping herself from sobbing and collapsing on the floor. When they made it to the room, Hermione's shaking hands could barely turn the handle to go inside.

Hermione froze when she opened the heavy metal door. Ron and Harry were in identical beds beside each other, streams of light come out of them and connecting to magical monitors to catalogue their vitals. Ron was even paler than usual, and his bright freckles stood out against his pallid color. He had some cuts and bruises, but otherwise looked peaceful tucked into the white linen of the hospital bed. Harry looked so bad that Hermione let out an audible gasp. He had a huge scar, something like a hastily healed burn, running up the side of his face. The other side held a swollen bruise, covered in dittany but still standing out. Harry's skin had also lost all of its color, with no freckles to decorate it, and he appeared like a ghost. He was not covered in blankets, his injured, bloody leg lying mangled and grotesque against a hospital pad. Hermione let out an cry and felt the hand on her arm tighten.

She moved quickly to the chair in between the beds and reached her arms out on either side of her. "Oh god," she whispered as she gripped two different, very cold hands. She closed her eyes and held on to them tightly, trying to keep herself from shaking. When she thought her tears were behind her, she lifted her head up to see Malfoy standing on the other side of Harry's bed, he reached out a hand to Harry's lifeless form. Hermione drew her wand with more speed than she thought she was capable of.

"Don't you dare FUCKING touch him!" She shouted, feeling her body shaking in hysterics even as she stood firm against Malfoy.

Malfoy looked startled, and then Hermione could have sworn a flicker of pain flashed across his face, before finally he settled on lifting his chin high and sitting down elegantly in the chair beside Harry's bed. Hermione gave him a dirty look and turned her attention to Ron. She placed both her hands over his, which were clasped across his abdomen, and rested her head on their hands. She sobbed openly then, not caring about her company, just giving in to the fear that was engulfing her at seeing her husband and her best friend lying so still and injured as though they were near death. She whispered his name over and over again, willing his body to move, willing his voice to sound out.

Hermione understood the risks involved with Ron being an Auror. She expected him to be gone on late night missions, expected him to be in dangerous situations, and knew he would occasionally come home with wounds. What she wasn't prepared for was the day he wouldn't come home to her, the day she had to watch him walk a line too closely to death. Hermione tried hard to be strong, to keep it held together for Ron and Harry, but she couldn't do it. She was never one to bottle her emotions, no matter how logical she could be, and being married to Ron meant rampant expression at every turn. It would almost be a disservice to him to not cry when she wanted to.

Long moments passed, Hermione couldn't pinpoint exactly how much time, but the sun had long since been up. She kept her head on Ron's chest, taking a small comfort in the slow rise and fall. Healers had gone in and out, but couldn't give Hermione any information until they were done drawing their own conclusions. As she sat, her ear against Ron's beating heart, she felt a light tap on her shoulder. When she looked up, Malfoy was holding a cup of warm tea for her.

"This should keep you awake and calm your nerves a little," he said quietly, before taking his tea and returning to his seat next to Harry. Hermione turned and looked at him, using the ruse of wiping her eyes with tissue to gaze at him from around the white paper corners. The Malfoy she knew would have left long ago, not waited around to be questioned (by Harry of all people) without any legal reason to hold him. Sure, he cooperated with Harry and got deals that kept his mother and him out of Azkaban, but he never lost that air of entitlement. Hermione wondered why he was sitting there still, even after hours of waiting, and even more so, why he wouldn't take his eyes off of Harry's face. She was shaken from her curiosity by Ron's breathing quickening next to her.

"Ron?" She croaked her voice hoarse from stress, crying, and lack of sleep. He let out a soft moan and began to lift his arm. Hermione put a hand over his to keep him from moving too much, and he eyes slowly opened. She had never been happier to see those deep blue eyes before in her life. When he looked directly into her eyes, she started crying all over again, draping her body over his and fisting her hands in his hospital robes.

"M'okay Mione … okay …" Ron said, reaching up and running his hand over her hair. When his hands got slightly tangled in her frizzy unkempt hair, she felt her heart swell. She leaned in to kiss him, breaking away quickly as she heard the healer enter.

"Ah, Mr. Weasley, you're awake," he said, quickly scanning over Ron's head. "The concussion seems to have been healed correctly, and you seem alert." The healer lit up the tip of his wand and made Ron's eyes follow it. "You should be able to go home tomorrow. Let me just check the burns." He lifted up Ron's blanket, moving his robe aside to run his wand over his chest. Hermione gasped at the angry red marks all over him. "Yes, they are healing nicely. A little dittany twice a day and you should be good as new."

The healer smiled at Ron, but he hadn't heard him. His eyes were fixed on Malfoy, who sat in a corner, his face as hard and set as stone matching Ron's stare.

"What the FUCK his he doing here?" Ron shouted, making the healer jump.

"Ron … Harry needed to ask him some questions," Hermione said, putting a calming hand on his chest." You told Ernie that Harry asked for him."

"I don't care, get him away from Harry!" Ron shouted again. "I can't…"

"That's is quite enough Mr. Weasley. This is a hospital and you are injured. Please, take it easy. I need to examine your friend before we do anything else," the healer said sharply.

The room was deathly silent as the healer's wand went over Harry repeatedly. He had turned Harry, moved his robes aside, and even poked his wand at a couple of Harry's limbs before he had finally stopped.

"His concussion is healed, the damage to his lungs is repairing, and his burns are in a similar state to Mr. Weasley's. The only thing I'm worried about is his leg. This is a very serious compound fracture, and a healing charm won't do. There are too many bone fragments and too much tissue damage," the healer said, his hand on his chin.

"What can be done?" Malfoy said, and Hermione saw a confused look on Ron's face that must have matched her own.

"Well, we've got some great new Skele-gro that only takes thirty minutes, but it's incredibly painful and will most likely wake Mr. Potter up screaming in agony," the healer said, genuinely concerned. "But I don't see any other option if he wants the use of his leg. We're going to have to wake him up and feed him the potion. Someone will need to comfort him and keep him from grabbing at his leg."

Hermione kissed Ron's hand and slid over to Harry's bed, bracing her hand over Harry's thigh. Ron attempted to sit up, but was stopped by a quelling look from the healer. He left the room to get the potion, and Hermione turned to position her hands just right over Harry's leg, preparing herself for his shouts of pain. She looked up and accidentally met Draco's eyes. They seemed watery, and he stared at her wide-eyed and pale. His lips were pressed in a thin line and one of his hands was hovering near Harry, shaking. Hermione cocked her head to the side now, not trying to hide her curiosity this time. Suddenly, Draco took a deep breath and took Harry's hand his both of his.

"What the bloody fu…" Ron started, fighting with the blankets on his bed.

"Mr. Weasley! You need to hold still, and I'll need peace as we wake Harry," the healer said. "Ennervate."

Harry took a big, gasping breath before screaming out in pain and reaching for his leg. The healer held his shoulders while Hermione put pressure on his leg to keep it from moving and opening the wound farther. Malfoy's face was pressed right against Harry's, and he was speaking something urgently in Harry's ear. His hands still held Harry's so tightly his knuckles were shockingly white. Harry's screaming stopped, though his breathing was still rapid and sweat was gathering on his face. To Hermione's shock, Harry leaned his head against Malfoy's shoulder.

"Oh god, Ron … Is Ron okay?" Harry cried, not moving his head from Malfoy's shoulder, even as one of Malfoy's arms circled Harry's shoulder and pulled him tighter.

"I'm right here, mate," Ron said hoarsely. He was bright red and had a look of complete confusion on his face at the sight of Malfoy and Harry.

Harry's watering eyes got really wide as his head whipped around and looked to Ron and then Hermione. He looked back at Draco in a mixture of panic and pain, and Draco brought Harry's hand up to his mouth and kissed it. "Let's not worry about that right now," he said soothingly.

"Motherfucker," Ron whispered, and Hermione had to agree.

"If we're finished swearing and staring open-mouthed at each other, I'd like to get this going before Mr. Potter's leg rots off with infection," the healer said coldly.

Draco could feel Harry's hand tighten on his own, and despite beginning to loose feeling, he couldn't let go. He kept a firm arm around Harry, trying to keep him stable and focused.

"Mr. Potter, I need to give you some of our fast-acting Skele-gro. It only takes thirty minutes …"

"That doesn't sound too bad," Harry said through clenched teeth as his leg twitched under Hermione's hands.

"Well, it's incredibly painful for those thirty minutes. We only give it to patients as a last resort. You'll get a pain potion and a sleeping potion right afterwards so you can recover from the shock, but it's not even going to be tolerable. I've had to call assistants in to hold down patients on occasion," the healer said tenderly, putting a hand on Harry's arm.

"Blimey…" Weasley muttered from his bed. "Is there anything I can do to help?" he said hoarsely.

"No matter what you think you need to do, staying in bed is your only option," the healer said. "You've had a concussion; you need to limit your physical activity." At this, Weasley clenched his jaw and nodded. Draco was slightly amused by the fact that he seemed to be pouting, but realized he would likely do the same thing if he couldn't help Harry right now. At that, a thought occurred to Draco, and he worried his lip for a second before speaking up.

"Can I … Can I hold on to him while this is going on?" Draco asked, trying his best to hold his back straight and his chin up. He was looking directly at Hermione, despite sounding like he was asking the healer. She was deliberately not looking at him. Her eyes grew wide for a moment, and then she turned her head and looked at Harry's horrifying wound. She narrowed her flinty dark eyes, her hands shaking on Harry's leg, before giving a small nod.

"It would be advisable to hold him, as he is likely going to thrash and cry out," the healer explained, and Draco swallowed hard. The healer quickly left to get the potion. Draco looked down at Harry, meeting his glassy green eyes and saw the pain already etched in there. However, there was worry too, and his eyes were snapping back to Ron and Hermione before resting on him. He was breathing quickly, keyed up from the adrenaline of the pain, and the worry was rippling through him so thickly, Draco thought he could reach out and grab a strand of it like yarn winding around Harry's body.

"They … they know … I didn't … I can't …" Harry was whimpering, shaking from pain.

"I'm sorry, Harry. She came and got me, said you needed me. I think everyone thought I had to answer some questions. I had to come … I just had to," Draco whispered, though the rest of the room was listening intently.

"I need you here … but … oh god, they are going to hate me!" Harry exclaimed. Draco tried to hide his hurt at the thought that Harry was so viscerally ashamed of him, swallowing it down so that he didn't appear vulnerable.

"Don't worry about anything right now, let's just get through this," he said, taking his silk handkerchief and wiping the sweat from Harry's face, kissing his forehead gently.

There was a loud metal clanking as Hermione stood up and moved her chair. She and Weasley looked at each other for a second, and then she was wheeling Ron's bed directly next to Harry's without even a word. Weasley nodded at her slightly and then took Harry's free arm, tucked it under his own, and clasped their hands so that they were shoulder to shoulder. Draco tried not to flinch as Weasley's waist brushed up against his hand around Harry's middle, noting the hopelessly grateful look in Harry's eyes. Hermione climbed on the joined beds and nestled herself in Weasley's lap, placing her hands back firmly on Harry's thigh. When the healer returned with a black, skeleton-shaped container, Harry began to shake.

Harry dutifully took the vial of potion, wincing at the slight movement, and drank it down in one gulp. He sputtered at the taste, handed the container back to the healer, and leaned back against Draco as he brushed his thumb over Harry's side. Nothing happened for a while, and everyone sat braced for impact in dead silence. Suddenly, Harry's eyes got wide and he screamed out in agony, worse than anything Draco had heard in years.

He started to struggle and yell, and Hermione was on her knees on the bed to put as much weight as she could on Harry's leg, keeping it immobile. Suddenly, his other leg flew up, and when it knocked into his injured leg, he screamed louder.

"Can't we use some magic to tie him down?" Weasley asked, looking panicked at Harry's leg.

"No, when you deal with curse injuries, or any injury related to a curse or a potion, it's our policy to not take any chances," the healer said. "Mr. Potter is stronger than I was prepared for, or we would have used some muggle straps."

Harry let out another yell, and bucked his hips, almost throwing Hermione back. Harry's head was thrashing back and forth and his whole body was flailing wildly, looking like he was possessed by a demon. His face was wet with sweat and tears, and his lip was bleeding where he had bitten down on it. The healer left to find some straps, and the nurses were too frightened to go anywhere near Harry's thrashing form. When one of the women offered to get some security wizards, Draco had enough.

"No! He doesn't need to be a damned spectacle! Get out and close the door, we can handle this," Draco said firmly. Weasley nodded and pulled Harry toward him when Draco started to release his hold.

Weasley moved down the bed to help his wife hold down Harry's legs. Hermione continued to hold the wounded leg, her small hand able to fit in an area that wouldn't cause Harry additional pain. Weasley took the other flailing limb under his large hands and immediately stopped the additional movement. Draco moved until he was sitting with his legs on either side of Harry, and he pulled the injured man back until he was resting against his chest. He wrapped his arms around Harry's shaking torso and pressed his face into his neck.

After a few more minutes, Harry seemed to have calmed. His body still twitched, and he was soaked in sweat and tears, but he was more lucid and trying to carry on conversation. Hermione was in tears herself, and had reached out her hand to grasp onto Harry's. She still hadn't even looked Draco in the eye, and he had a feeling of dread over the fact that his whirlwind romance with Harry would be over as soon as Harry had recovered. Nothing was more important to him than Ron and Hermione, and Draco's heart was breaking into pieces with dire anticipation of his friends apoplectic disapproval the moment Harry was feeling okay.

A few months ago, only mere weeks after he and Ginny had split up, Harry had come into Draco's shop to ask him about a case they were working on. Draco had become a well-known potions authority in his time at the Apothecary, and he often fielded Auror questions. But he figured he'd never see Harry Potter in his shop; the animosity between the two was not something that one could easily forget. However, when Harry opened the old wooden doors to his establishment, Draco's heart jumped up into his throat. He had never really noticed Harry's enthralling eyes and messy black hair before. Add to that his startlingly grown up body, and Draco was almost immediately fighting an attraction.

What Draco didn't expect was for Harry to ask him out to lunch. Draco bitterly figured that his action were some sort of hero thing he was doing, making sure the lives that he saved were being lived well. Draco accepted before his brain could catch up with his mouth. What ensued was a passionate affair that caught them both completely by surprise. Even after two months, Harry would still look at Draco with a disbelieving stare every now and then, but Draco would always arch his eyebrow as if no one could resist him. In Draco's mind, he would never be good enough for someone as good and innocent as Harry. Even as Draco would fuck Harry into the mattress until he was begging for more … for something … Draco's heart would twist at how soon this too would come to an end. Everything in his life that made it worth living always seemed to end.

"Oh gods, I'm going to be sick!" Harry groaned. Hermione leapt off of the bed and returned with a small plastic tub just in time for Harry to sick up into it. "I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry!"

"Nonsense, Harry," Hermione said, brushing some fringe from his face before she went to dispose of the mess. Draco was struck by how much Hermione and Weasley seemed to love Harry, and he understood why Harry would never want to do anything to give it up.

Draco longed for even a semblance of that kind of feeling again. He thought he had it with Harry, but deep down he knew he was fooling himself out of a starvation for affection.

"Draco …" Harry whimpered, and Draco pulled him closer, kissing down the side of his face.

"It's almost over now," Draco said, rubbing his hands soothingly up and down Harry's chest. He looked up to see Weasley gaping at him and Hermione's eyes fixated on Draco's hands on Harry's chest. Harry seemed to notice too, because his hands flew up over Draco's. Draco squeezed them reassuringly.

"Guys, I can explain, please just don't hate me," Harry said in a strained voice. Draco knew what he was talking about, and his chest took another painful stab.

"Don't think on it, mate. Just get better," Weasley said. He looked up at Draco and shrugged, seeming to say some sort of version of 'I don't know' with his eyes by way of an explanation. Hermione still hadn't even looked at Draco's face since they first arrived.

Harry seemed to sag slightly in relief, and Draco chanced another kiss to Harry's temple, hoping he wasn't crossing a line. He knew it probably wasn't welcomed to show so much affection in front of Harry's friends, but seeing Harry hurt, in pain, and almost dead had made Draco desperately needing to cling to Harry as long as possible. With the specter of losing him hanging over his head in a new way now, Draco found himself clinging like a needy schoolgirl. What little dignity he had left was slowly fading.

Finally, the pain had subsided, and when Harry's body sagged in relief, everyone else in the room let out a sigh as well. The healer came forward with a pain potion and some dreamless sleep, and Draco reluctantly removed himself from Harry's bed. Hermione had run into the end suite and started to run the water. Draco had no doubt she was crying, especially when Weasley stared unflinchingly at the door like a dog waiting for his master to get home. Draco stood at the edge of the bed, and when the potions had been administered, Harry rolled onto his side and curled himself into the fetal position. Draco carded his fingers through Harry's hair in what he hoped was a comforting gesture.

"Don't leave, Draco …please," Harry whispered as he drifted off to sleep.

"I don't intend to," he said warmly, and pulled up a chair beside Harry's bed so he could continue his ministrations more comfortably.

When Hermione finally came out, Weasley jumped up and enfolded her in his arms.

"You should rest, Ron. You aren't discharged until tomorrow night, and you know your mother is bringing the kids here in the morning."

"I know, love. Are you going to be okay?" Weasley asked into her ridiculous mess of brown hair.

"I'm going to go get some tea while he's asleep," Draco said, rushing out before anyone could acknowledge him. The last thing he needed was to be accused of intruding on their intimate moment.

When he came back, he stopped dead in his tracks at the sound of his name.

"I don't know, Ron. Do you think Harry loves him?" Hermione's voice wafted outside the door.

"Are you kidding me, Hermione? Did you see the way Harry was with him? We've never seen Harry like that before. Dear fucking Merlin, our best friend is in love with Malfoy," Weasley said, the last sentence carrying a bit of disdain hidden in layers of disbelief. Draco's heart was pounding in his throat.

"Language, Ron," Hermione croaked.

"I mean, we knew he was a shirt -ifter. We've been waiting for him to tell us for months. But … Malfoy? I know the bloke has changed and all that, and he seems to genuinely care about Harry … but bloody hell!" Ron said, less disdain this time.

"Oh Ron! I know he's changed. I know Harry spoke for him. I know that Draco was a victim of his father's intentions … but I still can't look at him. Every time I do, I can feel that pain ghosting over me. I can see that room … see that ring of people just watching while she tortured me. I haven't forgotten, not for a second. I thought I was going to die. I thought I was going to lose you and Harry. And all he did was watch. All he did was stand there, those cold eyes staring down at me blankly," Hermione's cries were muffled as she finished, and Draco assumed she was clinging to her husband.

"Everything is okay now, Hermione," Ron whispered soothingly.

"I don't want to talk about it anymore. I can't. Christ, Ron! I almost lost you. I walked in here and you were … you never came home and then Ernie showed up …" Hermione's voice kept breaking up as she tried to talk.

"I'll never leave you, Hermione," Weasley whispered.

Draco's hands were balled up in fists. He didn't blame Hermione, not in the slightest. He couldn't take back what he'd done. He did nothing to help her, and he was haunted by that nearly every day. However, he hoped that things would get better, that they would at least tolerate him enough to let him be with Harry. Draco's hopes were all but dashed. He stood stiffly outside of the door until he heard Weasley's snores. Then, he walked in, looked longingly at the couple curled up together on the small hospital bed, and took up his seat next to Harry's sleeping form.


Harry's eyes cracked open at the sounds of raucous laughter and Hermione's urgent shushing. His entire body felt sore. He immediately tried to move his leg, but there was no such luck. He was far too stiff to test his legs out yet. Luckily, the pain seemed to have subsided to a dull ache. He groaned as he lifted his arms. His shoulders felt tight, but there was no ache there. Harry remembered the fire, and was happy to note he did not feel any pain as a result of burns anywhere on his body. Suddenly, something warm left his stomach.

Harry rubbed his eyes, and saw the blurred form of Draco leaning against his bed. His bright hair and pale skin looked like halos of light in Harry's bad vision, and he quickly looked around (as if that would help) for his glasses. He felt them placed on his head and blinked rapidly as he got used to light and sight again. He finally focused on Draco's face, his mouth twisted into a smirk and his eyes glinting. There was a hint of desperation in them that Harry found out of place. He was too happy to see Draco to even question it in that moment, however.

"Took your sweet time, didn't you, Potter?" Draco said with no venom whatsoever.

"Well, I knew what was waiting for me if I woke up, Malfoy," Harry said, smirking. Draco reached for him and grabbed his hand, a sad, defeated look on his face.

"Uncle Harry is awake!" Harry heard a shout, and then he was being bombarded with kisses from Rose Weasley. She may have only been three years old, but she was so precocious, she had to have been going on eleven. Her little rear end was in the air, ruffled underwear on display, and she kneeled on Harry's bed and proceeded to kiss him on every place on his face.

"Now, now, Rosie! Uncle Harry still doesn't feel good," Ron said, chuckling at Harry's predicament. Rose gave him one more kiss before she jumped off Harry's bed and hopped back on her father's, her brown curly hair bobbing in her wake in an action so reminiscent of Hermione, that Harry couldn't help but grin widely.

There was a delighted squeal, and Harry looked up to see Hermione holding a squirming Hugo. He was smiling and laughing at his sister's boisterous actions, with a look on his face that was so very Ron, Harry was already looking for freckles. Hugo would likely get them later, in a perfect accompaniment to his fiery orange hair. Harry wondered if Hugo would be as tall as Ron, and the sudden thought of their kids growing up together had filled Harry with warmth. He looked over at Draco, to find a haunted, almost pained look on his face. Harry knew that spending so much time around Ron and Hermione after dropping their bomb on them was likely making Draco uncomfortable, but something else felt wrong about the look in Draco's eyes. Before he could lean over to ask what was wrong, the door banged open again.

"James Sirius Potter! What did I just tell you? Daddy is not feeling well and he's probably sleeping!" Ginny whispered as much as she could with the aggression in her voice.

"Sorry, mum!" James called back, just as loud, as he walked into the room. The five year-old boy was his mother in every sense of the word: loud, stubborn, and startlingly attractive even at a young age. He had pale skin, dusted with freckles, and topped off with shining red hair. He looked like he was more Hugo's brother than Al and Lily's.

"See? He's awake!" James yelled out, immediately climbing onto his father's bed. Harry hugged him tightly and rubbed his hair, reveling in the smell of food, dirt, and sweat that was so his first-born child.

Ginny met his eyes, gave him a light and mockingly exasperated smile, as she walked in with Albus holding her hand and a baby Lily in her arms. Where James was a ball of fire, Al and Lily were Harry's mellow children. Though it was still a little soon to make a decision about Lily, she was already a very calm baby who seemed unaffected and not easily upset by the regular goings on of life. She had her mother's eyes, but her father's messy thatch of black hair. When Harry reached out for her, she buried her face in her mother's neck for a second, before turning back around and reaching out for her father. Harry took her to his chest and breathed in deeply. She still smelled like that sweet, heavenly smell of a baby, and he couldn't help but rub his nose in her fine hair.

Lily turned her head and saw Draco. She smiled and reached out for him. While Harry's boys didn't really quite understand what Draco was doing around, Lily had taken to him like he was another uncle or even another father. Draco took her in his arms and Harry's heart flopped a little at the sight. Draco looked so beautiful, all pale and bright in contrast to Harry's dark daughter. Draco patted Lily's back absently, and made a funny face at her when he thought no one was looking.

"Blimey, Gin, you knew about this?" Ron said, his voice a little high and uncertain. Harry jumped and looked at Ron, his heart racing.

"It wasn't my business to tell, Ron," Ginny said, slightly sharp.

"How long?" Hermione whispered, looking at Harry.

"Not very long, only two months," Harry said, unable to meet her eyes. Harry looked over at Draco to see his eyes closed and his arms wrapped tightly around Lily.

Harry felt a light tug on his blanket, and looked down to see Al's wide green eyes gazing up at him. There was a question on his face, but he said nothing. Harry smiled at him and patted his lap softly. Al climbed up slowly and put a hand on Harry's face. Harry turned and kissed it, and then gave Albus a tight hug. Albus was so introspective, and often could be seen wandering around just gazing at everything as if he were learning every inch. He looked so much like Harry that even his facial expressions were exactly the same in the small boy's face.

"Daddy's fine," Harry whispered, and Albus pulled back, smiling slightly at him.


Soon, Molly and Ginny took all the children home, and Ron and Hermione started getting the paperwork together for Ron's discharge. The doctor came in with Harry's potions, meant to make sure he rested and that his body was restored. He knew that meant he would sleep for the next few hours, and he wanted desperately to know that Ron and Hermione didn't hate him before he went to sleep.

"Guys … I … Draco and I …" Harry stuttered, fear pumping through him at what Ron and Hermione would say now that they were out of the woods and the kids weren't around.

He wanted so badly for them to accept him, for them to accept his relationship. He didn't know what he would do if Ron and Hermione turned their backs on him, but he also didn't want to give up Draco. He was torn so sufficiently, he thought the pieces would never be put back together.

"Not right now, mate … We'll talk about this after you're out. We'll come by tomorrow to help with your discharge," Ron said, throwing on his slightly burned Auror robes over his hospital robes.

"Rest well, Harry," Hermione said, coming over and quickly kissing his forehead and turning back around before Harry could meet her eyes. She walked out without so much as a word or a look in his direction. Ron looked back at him sympathetically and followed after her.

Harry just sat frozen in his bed, his fingernails digging into his palms. Why had he been so stupid? Why had he asked for Draco? Harry hated himself for springing such a thing on them, and for exposing himself in the process. However, when he looked over at Draco, who was studying his nails, he knew he needed the other wizard by his side. This was more than a one off, but Harry had no idea how to even begin to articulate that to Draco.

His relationship with Draco was surprisingly easy and fulfilling. Since the end of the war, Harry had longed to just be able to live … to let go and let someone else take over for a while. He felt guilty and lazy for needing that, so he forgot about it and focused on starting a family with Ginny. It wasn't until he started sleeping with Draco that Harry knew what it felt like to really let go. Draco always took control, letting Harry melt into his touch and worshipping Harry's body like he'd never felt before. There was a smug look on Draco's face every time he got Harry to let go and give in to what Draco was doing, but Harry craved the ease and the passion so much that he didn't even mind feeding Draco's ego. For the first time in his life, Harry was simply being and nothing more.

It was through this that something else began to spark for Harry. It was a more intense spark than he had felt with Ginny. Where Ginny felt like contentment and a natural progression of things, Draco felt like a part of him … that part of him that Harry had ignored. He'd started off burning for Draco, then he'd felt whole around Draco, and now … well now he just couldn't explain it. However, when Harry was lying in pain on the floor of that shack, all he could think of was seeing Draco one last time. That had to mean something.

"Draco …"

"You might want to take your potions now, they'll help." Draco interrupted, handing Harry the various colored liquids. Harry nodded, drinking the proffered vials. He reached out and ran his fingers down Draco's jaw. Draco closed his eyes and shuddered, leaning into Harry's touch. There was such a sad resignation on his face that Harry feared there was something not being said. However, before he could even form the words to ask Draco what was wrong, his world faded back into darkness.


Harry woke to a warm, wet feeling ghosting across his neck and down into the dip in the center of his collarbone. Harry groaned and lifted his hands to feel Draco's soft, smooth hair between his fingers. Draco stopped and looked up at him, his eyes wide and desperate. Harry thought they looked a little bloodshot, but he had no time to question him as Draco captured his mouth in a searing kiss.

Harry lifted his hands up and wrapped his arms around Draco, running his fingers down the knobs of the other man's spine. When Draco moved to kiss behind Harry's ear, Harry moaned out loud and bucked his hips lightly against Draco's. Harry thrust up against Draco's hardness and they both moaned. Harry's hands moved down Draco's body and cupped his arse hungrily, reaching up and engulf the other man's mouth. Draco groaned and moved his hips faster against Harry's erection.

"I almost lost you … it's too soon … I can't …" Draco said in between kisses. When Draco pulled back and his cold grey eyes met Harry's, Harry couldn't help but cup his face in both hands. The act was so intimate, so loving, that they both gasped. They had never gone this far, had never come this close to making love before. Sure, they fucked, but something felt so different about this that Harry's throat began to tighten.

"You aren't going to lose me," Harry whispered, reaching his hand down the back of Draco's trousers. Draco looked like he didn't believe him; he looked like Harry had just said something that ripped him apart. Harry leaned up to focus on Draco's face, but Draco pulled back. He quickly arranged his face into a sultry smirk as he slid off the bed.

Draco proceeded to slowly remove his clothing, first his black shirt, then his gray trousers, and finally his silky green pants. He remained just out of Harry's reach, and Harry's hands ached to run up and down that pale, smooth skin. Harry looked down at himself and realized he was completely naked under his blankets, and he looked up to find Draco smiling slyly.

"I hope you don't mind, I took the liberty," Draco drawled.

"Of course not," Harry whispered, enthralled by the elegant look of Draco's naked body in the shining lights of nighttime London filtering through the window.

Draco slowly dragged down the blankets covering Harry's bare body and he shuddered more with want than with cold. He opened his eyes to see Draco gazing longingly at him, like he was something Draco couldn't have and wanted desperately. Harry didn't understand. He reached his arm toward Draco.

"Come here," Harry whispered, desperate to take Draco in his arms, to find out what his enigmatic expressions were about.

Draco climbed back on the bed and straddled Harry, his hot erection pressing directly into Harry's. Harry called out, reaching down to touch Draco's throbbing member. Draco closed his eyes and moaned, and Harry reveled in the look of ecstasy on Draco's face.

Suddenly, however, Draco's eyes shot open and that resignation was back on his face. He began to kiss down Harry's torso. When Draco's warm lips wrapped around Harry's cock, every coherent thought left his mind.

"Oh Draco," Harry moaned, his hands finding the other wizard's head and covering it gently. Harry thought his nerves were going to burst through his skin at any second and dance over his head. His body felt so raw, so keyed up from the trauma, that the smallest touch made him shiver. Feeling Draco sucking him in and out of his hot mouth was almost unbearable. Harry was glad he had limited motion in his hips, or he would certainly be gagging Draco right now.

Draco's hands were running up and down Harry's torso, stopping to toy with the gathering of thick hair on his abdomen, and moving down his thighs. He would stop every now and then to kiss along Harry's body, as though Draco were trying to memorize every inch with his lips. Harry had never seen Draco so painfully intimate, despite how physically close they had been, and it made Harry's heart swell. He realized that he always wanted to feel this way, always wanted Draco to need to feel him like this.

Harry reached down and pulled Draco up, suddenly desperate to kiss him again. Draco's tongue slid over Harry's, tasting wonderfully like tea and something slightly smoky. Harry pulled Draco's bottom lip into his mouth in an effort to get him closer than was really possible. Draco reached down and ran his hands along Harry's balls, running his finger farther back along the smooth skin of his perineum. Harry pulled away, suddenly disappointed.

"I don't think I can, Draco. I am having trouble lifting my legs," Harry said, moaning when Draco's tongue ran across his exposed neck.

"I want to feel you inside of me," Draco whispered, his voice shaking. Harry pulled back and looked into Draco's eyes. Draco had never done that. Harry wasn't sure, but he figured it had something to do with his need to feel some sort of control in his life. Draco couldn't handle being vulnerable at all, that much was obvious. However, looking into Draco's eyes right now, Harry saw the raw vulnerability he had never seen in Draco before, not since he saw Draco sobbing over his fate in the girls' loo at Hogwarts. Draco's eyes were still watery and bloodshot, and Harry couldn't fathom what was going through his head. He reached up and cupped Draco's face.

"Draco, tell me … please tell me … what's wrong?" Harry whispered.

"Just need you," Draco said, leaning down to kiss Harry hungrily again.

Draco broke the kiss just long enough to reach over into his coat pocket and pull out a small vile of lubricant. Considering the interesting places he and Harry had shagged, Harry wasn't surprised at all that Draco was carrying some lube around with him. Draco poured the lubricant on Harry's right hand, and the feeling of the warm, slick liquid made Harry throb with anticipation. He'd wanted to have Draco for so long, but didn't want to push him. Draco had never done that, and though he didn't outwardly admit it, Harry could tell the concept scared him. Harry craned his neck and reached for Draco's mouth once more.

Harry's free hand moved down Draco's body, taking a cheek of his arse in his grip and opening him up gently. Draco moaned at the feeling and thrust into Harry's erection. Harry slowly moved a lubricated finger down Draco's crevice, and they both shuddered at the new sensation. Harry couldn't help but smile at Draco's expression, knowing exactly how good what he was doing could feel. Carefully, Harry inserted a single finger inside of Draco.

"Fuck, Harry," Draco hissed, his muscles clenching around Harry's finger.

"Relax," Harry said, turning his finger slightly and curving it against Draco's walls. Draco moaned hungrily and thrust back against Harry's hand. Harry removed his finger and inserted two inside of Draco. This time, however, Draco only continued to thrust and moan.

"That feels so good," Draco ground out through clenched teeth. Harry loved the completely unhinged look of Draco, giving into something new and writhing against Harry like he had lost all control.

Harry reached down and slicked up his cock, lining it up at Draco's entrance. Draco moaned and rubbed his crevice along Harry's head. Harry grabbed Draco's hips to try to keep himself from bucking and hurting the other wizard. Harry gazed down at his dark hands in contrast to Draco's ivory skin, appreciating the pale thatch of hair that led to Draco's perfect, smooth, and pink cock. Harry's eyes raked across Draco's torso, stretched out long and on display for him. Draco was thin and cut, his ribs showing slightly above an impressive display of lean muscle on his abdomen. Draco truly was the most gorgeous thing Harry ever laid his eyes on, and the fact that he was about to be inside of him had made Harry's head spin.

"Are you sure about this?" Harry said, fearful of hurting Draco, or doing something he would regret.

"Gods yes, Harry. I want you. I want to give this to you. You can have everything," Draco said, leaning down and burying his face in Harry's neck. Harry could feel Draco's whole body shaking, and he assumed it was nerves.

Harry thrust up slowly as Draco pushed down with his hips. The tight heat was unlike anything Harry had ever felt, and he was overwhelmed with the urge to thrust wildly into Draco. He could feel Draco lowering himself slowly, his body flinching at the intrusion. Harry wrapped his arms around Draco's torso and held him as Draco relaxed; kissing along the shell of Draco's ear. Harry moved his hips once, experimentally, and Draco moaned in pleasure.

Draco leaned back, taking Harry all the way in until his firm arse had hit Harry's thighs. Harry looked up at Draco's face, and saw tears falling there. "I'm sorry … we can stop," Harry said, reaching out for Draco.

"No, don't stop. Never stop," Draco whispered, lifting his hips up and pressing down against Harry. Harry cried out, amazed at the feeling of being surrounded by Draco's body.

Harry ran his hands on every part of Draco's long body he could, watching Draco move above him like he was dancing. Harry was mesmerized by the rippling of Draco's muscles, starting with a tension in his shoulders as Draco held on to Harry's chest, to a quivering in his abdomen as Harry kept pressing into Draco over and over again. Harry had seen Draco come before, many times, but this time Draco was about to come on Harry. He wanted to see him let go so badly, that Draco's name began to chant in a whisper on his lips. Harry reached down and wrapped his hand around Draco's cock. Draco arched back, his hands moving back to rest just above Harry's knees.

"So beautiful," Harry whispered, his hips moving quickly in time against Draco's.

"I'm going to come Harry … come with me … please," Draco was keening and whimpering, his body beginning to tremble.

"Yes, Draco … anything …" Harry groaned, his entire body tensing.

Harry gripped Draco's hips tightly, thrusting up into him fast and hard. Draco was moaning and gasping, his hands gripping Harry's shoulders tightly.

"Harry," Draco whispered. The whisper looked like a scream as it came out of Draco's mouth, but all that sounded was an airy moan as Draco's body clenched around Harry. Harry could feel warm liquid spilling on his abdomen, and arched up once more into Draco's quivering body.

Harry opened his eyes to focus on the elegant lines of Draco's body as he came. When Harry's eyes locked on Draco's, they were heavily lidded with pleasure, but still seemed to be hiding something. When Harry finished, Draco didn't move off of him, but instead leaned down and buried his head in Harry's neck. Harry wrapped his arms around Draco's torso, his heart breaking for him though he couldn't pinpoint why. Something about Draco's countenance, even through his passion, struck Harry as tragic. Draco never gave in like this, he never lost control, and now he looked so vulnerable and lost as he pressed up against Harry. They lay there for a moment, Harry running his hands idly through Draco's hair.

"You should take your potions. One more round before you're discharged tomorrow," Draco murmured, his voice heavy and sleepy. Harry reached to his bedside table for a towel and his potions, cleaned them both up, and took the colored liquid for the last time. Harry rolled over and rested his head on Draco's chest, drifting off to sleep.


Draco didn't sleep at all that night. Sure, he pretended to be hopelessly exhausted until Harry had taken his potions and passed out, but that was because he couldn't risk falling apart in that blasted hospital bed. He kept his hand on Harry's back, trying to remember how Harry was always searing hot, even in the coldest of rooms. He kept his face close to Harry's, smelling the musky, spicy scent that was uniquely Harry's and committed that to memory as well. He listened to Harry's deep breathing and pretended for just a few moments that he could spend every night that way.

When daylight started to peak through the curtains, Draco got up as quietly as he could. He put his clothes on, spelled out the wrinkles in them, and cast a freshening charm on himself. He pulled a comb from the bedside table and straightened his hair. He put on his thick, woolen robe, dragon hide gloves, and green scarf. Just as he was wrapping the scarf around his neck, the healing assistant walked in, waking Harry up to get his discharge underway.

Draco sat up straight, holding his head high, and not making a sound as Harry filled out the paperwork and got dressed. Harry kept throwing questioning looks his way, but with the healing assistant around, things stayed mercifully quiet. When Ron and Hermione showed up, the assistant bid them goodbye. Draco rose, fastened his cloak, and turned to Harry.

"Well, Harry, this is goodbye. The truth is out now, and I don't see how this can continue. I'm not going to make you choose. I do still have my dignity," Draco said, willing his voice to stay cold as he walked out of the room.

"Draco?" Harry said quietly.

"Let me leave in peace, Potter. Give me that much," Draco said, biting his lip to keep it from shaking. He turned abruptly and walked out the door.

"Draco, no!" He heard Harry yell, but Draco kept on going. There was a skirmish in Harry's room, but Draco couldn't stop. He didn't want to go through the days of indecision as Harry's friends demanded the relationship end. Harry would ultimately pick them, and Draco knew when to cut his losses … well, he did now. He learned his lesson; he knew his worth.

Draco jumped when he felt a firm tug on his cloak. Hermione was standing there, looking at something slightly to the left of him. Draco clasped his trembling hands in front of him. He hoped Hermione couldn't see how weak he was, he didn't need Harry knowing how badly he was hurt.

"Come back," she said meekly.

"What?" Draco said, unsure as to what her motives were.

"It's plain to see: Harry needs you. He wants to be around you. Ron and I would never take that away from him," Hermione whispered, still not looking at him. "You don't have to save face, you don't have to leave."

"There will be tension. You know how Harry is. He'll want to please everyone. I am not going to let myself get hurt … I can't," Draco finished in a whisper.

"That won't happen. Harry can't hurt the people he loves," Hermione said.

"Are you ever going to be able to look me in the eye?" Draco said, looking at the top of her ridiculous brown head.

"I don't know," She said. "But I love Harry, and I want him happy. That's enough for now."

Hermione turned and walked quickly back to the hospital room. As Draco watched her leave, Harry's door flung open and Harry was limping out of it. He looked like he was in pain with every step, but he moved slowly, his eyes never leaving Draco's. Draco was paralyzed. He willed his body to do something, anything, but he just stood there staring back at Harry.

Harry finally got to where Draco was standing, and Draco was surprised to find him so winded. There was a sheen of sweat on Harry's forehead and he pressed his hand to his chest to catch his breath. When Harry's step faltered, Draco reached out and grabbed his shoulders.

"Muscles are still a little stiff," Harry murmured, still locked on Draco's eyes.

Draco had to turn his head away from Harry's penetrating stare. He felt like a complete fool. He'd tried to leave with as much finesse as his breeding allowed. He'd tried to save face. However, Harry seemed to have a different idea, and now Draco was facing his emotions head-on, fearful of his own eventual breakdown.

"Is this what last night was about?" Harry croaked. Draco bit his lip and kept his eyes turned away from Harry. He felt his hands shake even as they held onto Harry's strong arms. "Draco, you're shaking."

The tenderness in Harry's voice was ripping Draco apart. It was that tenderness, that connection and devotion that was killing Draco. He didn't want to give it up, none of it, and now the best parts of Harry were threatening to make his rigid demeanor collapse like an old stone wall. He could already feel the tears forming.

"Did you really think …" Harry started, but then he sighed. Draco felt Harry's rough hand reach up and grasp his chin, turning his face until it was in line with the other wizard's. "Why would I ever give you up?"

"Harry, you need your friends. I can't take you away from them. I also don't want to be the one cast aside when you realize the pressure is just too much," Draco said, straightening his spine.

"When has the pressure ever been too much for me?" Harry said, and Draco almost melted at the casual smirk that lifted up the right side of Harry's mouth. "Come home with me," he whispered, brushing his lips lightly along Draco's.

It took a few moments, but Draco eventually sank into the kiss. He took a deep breath and brought his hands to the back of Harry's head. He pulled the other wizard as close as he could get him, and held on to the kiss for as long as he could. When Harry broke away and ran a hand down the side of Draco's face, Draco couldn't help but lean into the touch and close his eyes. He still held on to Harry's arms, and his hands were still trembling.

"I'll never hurt you," Harry whispered gently in Draco's ear. "Never."

And for the first time since his life had fallen to pieces, Draco believed in someone.

The End