Title: Pleasance of the Dead
Pairing: Harry Potter / Draco Malfoy
Categories: One-Shot, Slash, Mid-war
Warnings: Angst, Dark, Adult Language, Character Death, Weirdness
Summary: Now, as he lay there, watching Malfoy's profile in the pale moonlight that had fought its way through the bars of the window, Harry could only wonder what in the world Malfoy had done to end up here.
DISCLAIMER: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Pleasance of the Dead
"Why are you here?"
Malfoy turned his head towards Harry, slowly, deliberately drawing out the silence as he cocked a pale eyebrow.
"So, you're finally talking to me, are you, Potter?"
Harry sneered, wishing that he'd had his wand so he could have throw a Bat-Boogey hex at Malfoy. Then again, if he'd actually had a wand, he would have needed it for more pressing purposes. But now, without much hope of ever laying hands on a wand again, all Harry could do was clench his fists in anger.
"I gave up hope that they'd bring me a more tolerable cellmate," he answered sourly. Malfoy's only response was a throaty huff, and Harry wasn't sure if it is uttered in agreement or protest.
When the silence drew out yet again, Harry took a deep breath. "So, answer me. Why are you here?"
Malfoy looked up from where he was drawing nonsensical patterns on the stone floor with his finger. "How so?" he asked dully, as if Harry's question was a huge inconvenience for him. As if he had something better to do than answer it.
"Just making conversation," Harry responded curtly, his patience wearing thin.
Malfoy shot him an incredulous look, but he stopped scribbling on the floor and instead leaned back against the wall. He raised his head to stare out through the miniscule window on the left wall of the cell, sighing deeply. "I said something that upset someone that upset the Dark Lord. Enough said?" Malfoy enquired, leering sideways at Harry.
Harry let out a grunt, wondering why he had expected to get as much as a decent answer from Malfoy. The prick couldn't be civil with him even on what practically constituted as death row. Harry was sure that Voldemort had put Malfoy in his cell as the ultimate form of torture.
Looking over at Malfoy again, Harry shook his head. "Couldn't he just kill you and be done with it, it would have made the remains of my life considerably easier."
To Harry's surprise, Malfoy let out a bark of laughter. Cold and bitter, but laughter none the less. "Why don't you make a complaint about that, oh Chosen One, and see where that gets you?"
"Do you think they know I'm still alive?"
Harry cast an expectant glance at Malfoy, but the other man didn't move from where he was sprawled on the floor, one arm thrown over his eyes as if trying to sleep.
"I don't know," Malfoy grumbled, without even lifting his arm from his face. "I've been here a lot longer than you, and for some reason I've been unsuccessful in trying to order the Daily Prophet straight to our window."
"But it's been a month," Harry replied, oblivious to the fact that Malfoy was barely listening to him. "Could they still be looking for me, or do they just assume I'm dead?"
"I'm still amazed that you aren't," Malfoy muttered. "But then again, Voldemort has little reason for offing you. He doesn't have to suffer through listening to your inane babbling day in and day out."
Ignoring Malfoy's gibe, Harry continued. "But then, if they do come looking for me—"
"Potter, please!" Malfoy exclaimed, lifting his hand from his face and slamming it to the wall beside him.
Harry stared at him in confusion. "What?"
"You're driving me insane!"Malfoy hissed, pulling himself up from the floor and dragging a hand through his hair. "Maybe they are looking for you, maybe they're not. But in either case, neither possibility is of any consequence to you until someone bursts through that door and proclaims you rescued." Malfoy drew a deep breath, coldly facing Harry's startled gaze. "So would you please just let. It. Go?"
Stunned, Harry stared at Malfoy. He knew that the other man had a point. But without talking of the war, his friends, of anything concerning the outside world, Harry was afraid that he would lose himself in the twisted reality he now found himself in. Lose himself in the despair he felt every time he thought of never setting a foot outside again.
When Harry didn't say anything, Malfoy eventually let out a sigh. Without looking at Harry, he spoke. "If you have to talk, talk about something else."
"About what?" Harry asked, letting out an irritated huff.
"Anything," Malfoy answered, looking meditative as he stared into the distance. After a moment he turned to Harry, his eyebrow quirked but his face set in what almost resembled a friendly expression.
"I missed the entire Quidditch season. Tell me about it."
"It can't be that hard."
Malfoy looked contemplative for so long that Harry had to let out a chuckle. Malfoy glared at him, though there was little seriousness involved in the expression. "Don't be ridiculous. It's a very serious issue." He took a deep breath before finally nodding to himself. "I think I have to say butter-pecan. Or green tea, I can't decide."
"You just have to have it all, don't you, Malfoy?" Harry teased.
"Oh, do shut up, Potter," Malfoy retorted. "What's your favourite ice cream, then?"
Harry was just about to answer when the cell door slammed open and two Death Eaters, the stocky little woman Carrow, and the pale fucker Dolohov, entered.
"Get up," Antonin Dolohov commanded, the swift swing of his wand forcing Harry to his feet before he had even had the time to react.
Alecto Carrow let out a wheezy chuckle as she watched Harry trying to regain his balance. When he didn't do that fast enough, she poked him with her wand, a silent spell sending what felt like an electric shock through Harry's body. Carrow laughed again when Harry hissed from the pain, stabbing him with the wand several more times as she forced him towards the door.
Weakly Harry tried to fight off the two Death Eaters, but he was swiftly bound by magical ropes that emerged from Dolohov's wand. Harry looked to his side, to the corner of the cell where Malfoy was still sitting. Malfoy had pushed himself back against the wall and pulled his knees close to his chest, trying to make himself as small as possible.
"No use stalling now, Potter," Carrow said, pushing Harry violently towards the door. "The Dark Lord does not enjoy waiting."
All Harry saw as the door closed behind him was Malfoy's horror-stricken face.
"What did they do to you?" Malfoy asked the following evening, his voice much softer than usual. The darkness had fallen almost completely in the cell, and Harry could barely make out the other boy's silhouette against the stone wall. "When they come for you, what do they do to you?"
Harry swallowed loudly where he lay on the floor, in the same position the Death Eaters had left him when they returned him to the cell the previous night. He hadn't spoken to Malfoy since then, and Malfoy had returned the favour. Until now.
Harry didn't know if he wanted to talk about it. Actually, he was sure that he didn't. But in the end, Malfoy was now his cell mate, and his face was quite possibly the last even somewhat friendly one Harry would ever see.
They were in the same boat now, he and Malfoy. And even though the Death Eaters never even recognised
Malfoy's presence in the cell anymore, Harry had concluded that Malfoy had probably received the same treatment as he now did, before torturing Harry had become the main event.
"Mostly they're just trying to get me to tell them what our side is planning," Harry murmured weakly. "But I think, for most of them, that's just an excuse to torture me." He drew a deep breath. "It's mostly whips and chains, or an occasional Crucio. They're not very innovative," Harry chuckled, feeling the movement rip through his sore body like fire, but sacrificing that in attempt to lighten the mood even a little.
When Malfoy made no comment, Harry continued. "They use different kinds of potions, trying to keep me from dying from my wounds."
Actually, it wasn't merely for the wounds that he receives those potions. They didn't bother feeding him, and he would have starved to death a long time ago, if it weren't for the potions that kept him alive. Harry was certain that Malfoy has been given the same potions as he, for no food has been seen in the cell since he had arrived all those weeks ago.
"Nothing else?" Malfoy asked, sounding almost hopeful.
Harry furrowed his brow, thinking hard about everything that had happed in that room during those hours, those days of agony, but it was hard to remember anything except the excruciating pain and the screams that echoed in his own head for hours afterwards. Then suddenly his mind was struck by something Bellatrix had said during one 'session'.
"I was told I'd been given some sort of hallucinogen," Harry said tentatively, trying to bring the memory back in whole. "Apparently the stuff would make me completely insane, but—" He cut himself off, staring into the distance with a knitted brow. "I haven't really felt the effect of that stuff. Or maybe I'm just crazy without knowing it," he chuckled, trying to brush it all off with a joke.
Malfoy didn't laugh, but he did let out a breath of relief. "Well, that doesn't sound so bad," he said, relaxing back against the wall behind him. "I've seen them use curses where they turn your intestines inside out, peel off your skin, make you nails grow inwards…" Malfoy trailed off, looking quite pleased in spite of all the vicious things he had just described. "I don't think a hallucinogen or two sounds so bad compared to that."
Malfoy fell into silence after that, but Harry couldn't stop looking at him. He couldn't even imagine what Malfoy's life had been like. For Harry, his path had been laid clear since the moment he first learned of the existence of magic and Voldemort. He had suffered, yes, and to do what was right hadn't always been easy, but it had always been easy to make the choice that was right. Harry had never for a second doubted his cause, or regretted giving his life for it.
For Malfoy, it was all quite a different matter. He had grown up in a world that despised all half-bloods and 'lesser' wizards. Harry didn't think it was an excuse; he didn't pity Malfoy because of his unfortunate heritage, because Harry, if anyone, knew that it was a person's choices that defined him, not the way he was brought up. But even Harry couldn't deny that for Malfoy to first watch and partake in the horrendous deeds of the Death Eaters, and then end up on the receiving end of that madness, must have been even worse than it was for Harry.
So now, as he lay there, watching Malfoy's profile in the pale moonlight that had fought its way through the bars of the window, Harry could only wonder what in the world Malfoy had done to end up here.
But he didn't ask. He wasn't sure if he really wanted to know the answer.
"If you hadn't ended up in here, what would you have done with your life?"
Malfoy cocked a mocking eyebrow at him, and Harry wondered what he had done to ridicule himself now.
"If I hadn't ended up in here, Potter," Malfoy began tauntingly, pronouncing his name in the same manner one uses when saying words like 'imbecile', 'James Blunt', or 'illiterate twit'.
"I would have, depending on the outcome of this sodding war, A. –killed a bunch of Muggles and spent my life as a highly ranked Death Eater in Voldemort's inner circle, B. –killed a bunch of Muggles, been arrested, been condemned by the Wizarding Court, and been sent to Azkaban where I'd spend the remains of my miserable life, or C. –killed a bunch of Muggles and then spent the remainder of my life on the run from the Aurors."
"Okay, okay," Harry cut in fast before Malfoy had time to continue. "I'm sorry I asked."
And he was.
Malfoy gave him a pointed look, and though Harry wished it, he saw no regret in Malfoy's eyes. And Harry cursed himself, because if even Malfoy didn't expect himself to be anything different than what he was, why should Harry?
"What about you?"
Harry was so caught up in his own thoughts that he almost didn't hear the question. Then he looked up to see Malfoy's expectant gaze, and he cleared his throat.
"I… Uhm," Harry began, chuckling lightly. "What would I have done with my life?"
When it took too long for Harry to answer, Malfoy raised an eyebrow. "I thought Auror was the clear choice."
Harry shook his head. "No. Or well, yes, it was, but…" He paused, pursing his lips as he tried to think of what to say. "I'm not sure I want to do something so… official."
A dry chuckle escaped Malfoy. "So what would you do, bury yourself in a dungeon and never show your oh, so famous boy-hero face to anyone? Only be seen in public once a year, like the Easter Bunny or Father Christmas?"
"No!" Harry exclaimed, fighting the urge to stick his tongue out at Malfoy. "I'd just like to be in a profession where my performance is constantly overshadowed by who everyone expects me to be."
Malfoy nodded slowly, as if understanding. And Harry wished that he could have believed that he did.
Lying on the cold, rough floor, Harry felt as if the grime was making its way into his open wounds. Everything was silent around him, but it made Harry feel as if his other senses were heightened. The scent of mould and stone was prominent in the room, and Harry could feel another body moving beside his own. When he slowly forced his eyes open, he found Malfoy leaning over him, mouthing something Harry could not hear. Brilliant colours and shapes were surrounding Malfoy, there were colours that were too bright to be anything but clear, white light, but too vivid to not be the deepest shade of red, blue, and green. Harry stared at the light, wondering why Malfoy wasn't as amazed as he was by its beauty.
Then slowly the sound waves began to reach Harry's ears, and Malfoy's voice was heard as if a distant buzz.
"Potter? Potter! Can you hear me?"
Harry smiled, thinking about how silly Malfoy was. Why did he sound so worried, look so distressed?
"I'm… I'm not—" Harry began, but he couldn't finish the sentence. He didn't know what he was going to say, and he found that he had no voice to say anything with.
"Fuck!" Malfoy bit his lip. "What did they do to you?"
He sounded almost panicked, and Harry couldn't begin to understand why. He was just taking a nap, just—
And then it all came rushing back to him. Voldemort and the Death Eaters, masked, staring down at him. Curses, flames, whips, knives, potions, chains, pain, pain, excruciating pain… and then nothing. A blissful emptiness that had brought him here. Harry had no idea how long it all had lasted, or how long he had been unconscious. And it didn't really matter. As he now remembered the pain, he couldn't seem to grasp that sense of numbness again, and suddenly all Harry could hear was himself screaming. He felt himself drowning, felt every wound on his body laced with fire, every bone in his body breaking at the same time.
It was all a whirlpool of blood and tears, until that moment when Harry felt someone grab him and pull him off the floor. He cried out furiously as his body protested against the movement, but Malfoy, still holding on to him, refused to let go. He wrapped his arms around Harry, pulling him close to his chest, whispering in his ear.
"Shh, calm down, Harry," Malfoy's voice sounded to Harry even through his screams. "It's the hallucinogen. Push it away, Harry. Don't let it take control!"
The words were soft but firm, and slowly but surely Harry felt new air enter his lungs. He felt the pain easing somewhat, at the same time as his vision cleared. He breathed deeply, his chest so closely pressed up against Malfoy's that he could feel the other man's heartbeat. Harry found that his arms were wrapped around Malfoy's neck, hands tearing at the worn out fabric of his shirt. And even as Harry knew that he should now move away, he found that he couldn't possibly do so.
He didn't really want to.
"Potter, you okay?" Malfoy asked carefully, pulling back a bit so that he could look Harry in the face.
Harry didn't answer, but instead kept staring at Malfoy in silence, his eyes wide and his throat dry. And he didn't know what had come over him, but suddenly all Harry was sure about was that he had his arms around Malfoy, and Malfoy had his arms around him, and Harry felt more at ease than he had done in a long, long time.
But it wasn't enough.
Harry let go of Malfoy's shoulders in favour of moving his hands to wrap around Malfoy's head, his thumbs softly grazing the pale strands of hair at his temples. He leaned forward, slow enough to see Malfoy's steel gray eyes widen in surprise, but fast enough so that Malfoy didn't have time to stop him. Gently, experimentally he pressed his lips to Malfoy's, closing his eyes as he breathed in the scent of the other man. Malfoy didn't move, but Harry felt him shudder as he took a quick intake of breath. And for a moment, time stood absolutely still.
Then, softly breathing out, Harry pulled away, his hands still at the sides of Malfoy's face. Malfoy was still staring at him in shock, his face carved in stone and his mouth dropped open. Harry had no way of reading his emotions.
The silence laid like carpet.
As Harry slowly started to become aware of himself and his surroundings, he realised that his face was drenched in tears. Suddenly it struck Harry what he had done, and he let go of Malfoy as if burned, backing away and leaving Malfoy sitting on his knees in the middle of the floor, completely stupefied.
Harry wiped his face with the palm of his hand, leaning back against the wall behind him and trying to look anywhere except directly at Malfoy.
"I'm sorry," he said feebly, just feeling that he needed to saysomething. Anything. "I'm sorry, I didn't—"
But Malfoy didn't answer, and somehow to Harry that felt worse than anything he could've said.
"I didn't mean it, you know."
Even three days later, Harry didn't have to elaborate for Malfoy to understand what he was talking about.
"I know," Malfoy said, but he didn't look Harry in the eye. "It was the hallucinogen."
It was. And yet, it wasn't. And they both knew it, or they wouldn't have been as uncomfortable as they now were. Because the silences drew out like never before, and Harry had never seen anyone stare into a stone wall as intently as Malfoy had done during the past days.
Something about that notion triggered a part of Harry, and suddenly he heard his own voice cutting trough the room.
"I had a crush on you in sixth year."
Even as Harry was still wondering when he had chosen to utter that confession, he was too busy watching Malfoy to see his reaction.
Malfoy was staring at him, his eyebrows approaching his hairline, looking like he was wondering if Harry actually had spoken or if he, too, was losing it.
"Potter, wha—" he began, but Harry cut him off.
"Hermione used to say I was obsessed, but I don't think she ever knew quite how right se was," Harry said light-heartedly, wondering if the hallucinogen had taken control over him again and was making him say outrageous things. There was just one problem with that theory: all he said was true, and he really wanted to say it all to Malfoy.
Even if the other man would hate him forever for it.
Malfoy stared at Harry with cold eyes, his mouth taut in suppressed— something. "Why are you telling me this?"
Harry smiled, a sad little smile as he moved to lie down on the floor, closing his eyes and preparing to fall asleep. "Because I wanted someone to know, in case I never make it out of here."
It was in the middle of the night when Harry woke up, the hard floor causing his back to ache and the scabbing wounds on his back not making it any easier. But as he tried to move into a more comfortable position, he turned his head and saw a shadow next to him. Harry shuddered, and a scream was already building in his throat when he realised who the person was.
Malfoy was sitting next to him, leaning against the wall, Harry's wall. He was staring out through the window, looking as absent as if he was in a completely other world.
Harry moved to sit up next to him, but Malfoy didn't even react. It was almost starting to feel awkward, and Harry was just about to lie back down and go to sleep, when Malfoy finally spoke.
"I thought about what you said."
His voice was low and raw. Slowly Malfoy turned his head from the window to face Harry, his expression completely unreadable. Then tentatively he leaned towards Harry, a hand coming forth to grab Harry by the hairs of his neck. Malfoy pulled Harry towards him, meeting him halfway in the space that separated them. His lips touched Harry's before Harry even had the time to register what was happening.
The kiss was forceful, but exquisite, slow and powerful. Malfoy held on to Harry with unnecessary force, but Harry wasn't about to complain. Slowly he rolled to the side, moving to sit on his knees beside Malfoy, making the space between them as small as possible.
Malfoy's other hand came up to wrap around Harry's neck, and Harry was forced to reach out and hold on to the wall behind Malfoy for balance. The kiss intensified, and Malfoy ran his velvety tongue over Harry's, his breathing getting heavier with each second.
Harry wished that it would never end.
"Are we nuts here?"
Malfoy let out a bitter chuckle. "Quite possibly."
Then again, Harry thought, what point was there in arguing about the matter? They might both die any day. So why rid themselves of any shred of happiness or relief that they might find in these last miserable hours of their lives?
That would be the most idiotic deed of all.
Malfoy never panicked when Harry was brought back. When Harry's mind was taken over by the potions, when he was caught somewhere between hysteria and ultimate despair, shifting from one to the other in the time span of a second. Malfoy was never overcome by terror or fear, he never screamed or cried. He just held him, until the visions let go, until he could breathe easily again.
And Harry loved Malfoy for that.
They didn't know how long it had been, how long they had been locked in here, how long it would be until it would end.
"You do know that even if, by some miracle, we'd be rescued, I'd still be sent to Azkaban?"
Malfoy looked expectantly at him, but Harry refused to meet his gaze. "Don't be silly. After all you've been through—"
"All of this doesn't change a thing," Malfoy interrupted calmly, his fingers running absentmindedly over Harry's chest, drawing patterns on his skin. Harry leaned in to the contact, his head thrown back over Malfoy's shoulder.
"Don't underestimate the power of the Chosen One," Harry shot back, chuckling, but they both knew that he didn't even believe the words himself.
Malfoy was silent for a long time, staring at the wall in front of them.
"I started having doubts," he then said slowly.
"What?" Harry pulled away to look at Malfoy's face, confused. But Malfoy refused to look him in the eye, and instead pulled him back, closer to his chest.
"When I was on a mission for the Dark Lord," he elaborated, his voice low and distant. "I started having doubts. And I was stupid, because I couldn't keep it to myself." Malfoy sighed, biting his lower lip. "I told Mother."
Harry tensed up, and Malfoy must have felt it, because he hurried to continue.
"She didn't rat me out on purpose, but... She was weak, and she couldn't keep the secret from Father," Malfoy said, his voice trembling slightly at the mentioning of his sire. "Mother and I were dragged to Voldemort..." He trailed off, swallowing loudly. Harry became suddenly aware that he was holding his breath.
"All I remember is a green light and her scream."
Malfoy's hold on Harry was almost painful now, but Harry didn't complain. The image of what Malfoy had just told him was almost identical to his own memories.
"Not Harry— please, have mercy— have mercy...!"
He felt the violent urge to hug Malfoy, but he was sure that that was the last thing Malfoy wanted. Instead he reached out for Malfoy's free hand, weaving their fingers together and holding on tightly.
Holding on for everything he was worth.
Harry was woken by a familiar voice that sent shivers down his back, and his eyes shoot open in horror.
The door to the cell was wide open, letting in a bright light that blinded Harry. He suddenly felt himself being violently pulled up from the floor, Dolohov and Mulciber at each of his sides. Harry squirmed and screamed, aiming a kick to Mulciber's shin, but it caused little harm to the beefy man.
"Calm down, Potter," Mulciber uttered through clenched teeth. "You'll only make it worse for yourself!"
"No!" Harry yelled as they began dragging him towards the door.
Upon hearing Malfoy's voice, Harry squirmed in the men's grips, trying to break loose. Throwing his head backwards, Harry managed to catch a glimpse of Malfoy, looking petrified where he stood, pressed up against the wall. "No! Draco!"
As he screamed, Harry was able to break his arm free from Dolohov's grip, and he reached out for Malfoy. At the same time Malfoy reached out and grabbed Harry's hand, pulling hard. For a mere second, the contact of their skin gave Harry a tinge of hope. But the two Death Eaters were too strong, and Dolohov had soon taken a new grip on Harry's arm and was dragging him towards the door anew.
"Come on, you little brat!"
"No! Let me go!" Harry cried, even though he knew that it was to no avail. Malfoy's hand slipped from his grip, and there was nothing left to hold on to. "No! No! Draco! "
The door slammed shut behind him, and Harry felt his last protests die out.
He had already succumbed to his fate when suddenly a load explosion was heard, and the next Harry knew he was falling, falling...
And then everything went black.
A familiar voice was calling him back from the darkness and cold, yet he couldn't quite place it. It was a voice he hadn't heard for quite some time.
"Harry, can you hear me?"
Slowly Harry opened his eyes, only to find the face of Kingsley Shacklebolt staring down at him. Upon seeing Harry regain his consciousness, Kingsley let out a breath of relief and ran a hand over his sweaty forehead.
"What... what happened?" Harry croaked, his whole body feeling heavy and his head ringing violently.
"It's a raid," Kinsley said, his face cracking up in a worried smile as he took in Harry's mauled appearance. "We finally found you!"
Harry felt a smile spread on his own face, and he took a deep breath. And Malfoy had said it was pointless to wait for a rescue.
Harry's eyes widened as he remembered.
"Draco!" he breathed out, trying to pull himself up from the floor where he was still lying.
"Harry, lie down!" Kingsley shouted. "You're badly wounded. Tonks is on her way right now, she's going to take you to St. Mungo's and—"
"No!" Harry protested, already on his feet. "I need to find him!"
"Who?" Kingsley asked, completely dumbfounded. "Harry, these dungeons are completely empty!"
"No, Draco's here!" Harry shouted, amazed at how thick Aurors could be sometimes. "Come on!"
He rushed through the smoke and dust towards the door through which he had been dragged only minutes earlier, reaching out and tugging at the handle. It seemed the Death Eaters hadn't even have time to lock it, for it falls open with a slight creek.
"Draco, are you alright?" Harry shouted as he hurried through the door. "Look, the Aurors—"
But he trailed off as he saw the empty room in front of him.
"This can't be..." Harry murmured to himself, at the same moment as Kingsley stepped into the room.
"Harry, there's no one else here."
"Why can't those morons find him?"
Harry bit the inside of his cheek in frustration, ignoring the worried glances Hermione and Ron gave him.
"Calm down, Mr Potter," the nurse said firmly. "I'mtrying to take your blood pressure."
"Yeah, yeah," Harry muttered, taking a deep breath and leaning back against the bed as he tried to calm himself down. "I'm just so—"
He was cut off as Kingsley enters the room, a very grim look on his face.
"How are you doing today, Harry?" he asked carefully.
"Just peachy," Harry answered sardonically, sneering at the Auror. "Well?"
Kingsley looked around in the room, a very uncomfortable expression on his face. "I'd think we'd better talk about this in private," he said, nodding pointedly towards Hermione and Ron.
"Of course!" Hermione hurried to comply, rising from her seat and pulling Ron with her towards the door. "If you need us, we'll be in the cafeteria."
The nurse looked more reluctant to leave, but at Harry's vicious glare she too exited the room swiftly. No one talks back to Harry Potter.
"Well?" Harry asked, sitting up straighter in the bed.
"Harry, I— I don't know how to tell you this," Kingsley began, taking a seat in the chair next to the bed where Hermione had been sitting.
Harry felt a cold shiver run down his back. "Just spit it out," he croaks, fearing the worst.
Kingsley took a deep breath and bit his lip, looking at the floor for a long moment before he lifted his gaze to look Harry in the eye.
"You do know that you were under several potions and spells, right?" he asked carefully.
"Yes," Harry answered curtly, furrowing his brow. "So I was told. What's that got to do with anything?"
Kingsley fidgeted uncomfortably in his seat. "You see, there was this exceptionally powerful hallucinogen in your system, and—"
"And?" Harry's patience was wearing dangerously thin by now.
Kingsley drew another deep breath. "Draco Malfoy never was in that dungeon."
Harry stared at Kingsley for a moment, his face white as a sheet. Then slowly a smile began spreading over face. "Don't be ridiculous," he said, but he couldn't hide the slight hysteria in his voice. "Of course he was there, I saw him, I talked to him, I—"
"Harry, listen," Kingsley interrupted him. "Malfoy was killed three weeks prior to when you were captured. There is no way he could've been in that cell!"
"No." Harry turned his head, unable to look at Kinsley's pitying face any longer. "It's not possible."
Kingsley looked like he would've wanted to reach out and touched Harry, but he hesitated at the last moment, crossing his hands in his lap instead. "Harry, we captured Narcissa Malfoy, and she told us!"
It wasn't possible. He could still feel the touch of Malfoy's hand in his. He had spent weeks sharing that room with Malfoy, he had touched him, he had kissed him...
Swallowing his doubt, Harry let out a mirthless chuckle. "No, Narcissa Malfoy is dead. Draco told me that she—"
"All I remember is a green light and her scream."
He had loved him.
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