IMPORTANT NOTE: This is a SEQUEL to a fic that is NOT MINE. The original was written by Ladyvader and can be found here: http (dots, slashes) www (dot) fanfiction (dot) net/s/6265989/1/Friend_Like_Me or the UNCENSORED VERSION here: http (dots, slashes) ladyvader (dot) livejournal (dot) com/32223 (dot) html That fic is angsty brilliance and tore my heart into itty bitty pieces, so I tried to tape it back together with Harry's version. This is posted with the fabulous Ladyvader's permission. GO STALK HER RIGHT NOW SHE IS AWESOME. :D But don't read this fic until you read that one. I'll wait.

Friend Like You

He waits for you again, standing in the hall with his minions. Their lurking lack of grace and dark brutishness only highlight his pale elegance. Even the hatred twisting his features cannot mar the beauty and sometimes you wonder what he would look like with his features softened in a gentle smile. You laugh at yourself, unable to envision such a thing, for he has never looked at you with anything other than disdain or anger, not since that first day when you refused his hand.

He looks at you now and makes a snide, hurtful comment, the kind you've heard from him a thousand times before. You have nearly perfected indifference and manage to keep your tone even as you pause mid-step to look at him, even though you wish you could ignore him completely. You seem powerless to keep walking, despite knowing that malice like his feeds on attention. If you could truly ignore him, his hatred might wither and die.

You look at him mildly, pretending casual disinterest.

"Still want me dead then, Malfoy?" you inquire politely. Your hands clench into fists in the deep pockets of your robe, the only sign of your tension as you await his reply, safe because he cannot see them.

He smiles nastily and his followers jeer at his reply. You try not to hear it, the same sort of vile comment he always makes, confirming in a superior drawl that he does, indeed, still want you dead, and tossing in an insult about your parents. It might have been pathetic if he wasn't so good at it.

You raise an eyebrow at him even while despair washes over you. Everything you do leads you toward an inevitable confrontation that could very well end in your death. Should you happen to win, you will still have to face this prejudice and hatred, directed at you simply because of who your parents were and who you chose to be your friends. Some days you think about chucking it all and letting them fight it out amongst themselves, give up being the Chosen One and go back to being Just Harry. Sometimes the feeling of futility wears you down, especially when it finds focus in a pair of grey eyes that make you feel like you belong back in a cramped cupboard.

You turn and take a few steps toward him. "Really?" you drawl offhandedly and pause a mere foot span away, "And what if I'd taken your hand, your friendship back in 1st year? Where would we be now?" You take your hands from your pockets and force them to relax, letting them dangle at your side, wandless, to show that you don't need a wand in order to best him.

It's a rhetorical question. The answer doesn't matter anyway, considering your history. And even if you had a time turner, would you really go back and become friends with him? You expect him to snarl and stalk away after a few more choice threats. He surprises you.

He stalks forward and fixes you with his silver glare. You know he enjoys the height advantage he holds over you. A few inches only, but when it comes to him every difference is magnified. He seems to tower over you and you bristle as he steps closer still, sneering. His fist brushes against your hand and his breath is warm against your skin, touching your scar and ruffling your hair.

You want him to speak, to tell you something you haven't heard a dozen times before, something besides the malicious and vile words that always seem to lurk just beneath the beautiful surface, like a pristine pond tainted with poison, invisible at a casual glance, but deadly just the same.

And then the world seems to lurch oddly and you find yourself back in the hall on that first wonderful, brilliant day of school, when you had no preconceptions but one. You gaze at the faces around you in surprise, recognizing them all, especially the one destined to become your nemesis, but this time Ron's glare seems petulant and angry. You turn and look at Draco as he smiles and reaches out to you.

You take his hand as he glares at Ron and Ron glares back, but you make no hasty judgments this time and when the Sorting Hat yells 'Slytherin' to everyone gathered, you grin and stroll casually to his side, waving at Ron's surprise. Draco smiles at you and later you choose the bed next to his. You are appalled that there are no windows and he spends most of the night sitting on the end of your bed. He tells you about the wizarding world and things of which you never hoped to dream. By morning you feel closer to him than anyone you've ever known.

You ride a broom that he smuggles to school and are shockingly admitted to the Quidditch team as Seeker. He is enraged and refuses to speak to you for three days. You don't know why and actually consider quitting the team merely to earn his friendship back. You finally crawl into his bed to beg, but the only word that emerges is 'Please'. Thankfully, it is enough, and he takes you back after calling you an idiot.

During his silence you have befriended Ron and Hermione. He seems to hate them and tries to teach you his point of view, which you instinctively know is wrong. Although it hurts you since he is only just speaking to you again, you ignore him for days. After a week of sleepless nights and too many moments when you'll do anything to bring him back to your side, he comes to you. He asks for forgiveness and promises not to use the word Mudblood in your presence. Things are tense, but you are relieved. Perhaps in retaliation, you make friends in all of the houses. You hope to bring him around to your side, but he seems content to keep his affections with Slytherin House alone.

The next year he joins the Quidditch team too, a Chaser, faster than lightning, twice as evasive and at least a thousand times more beautiful. You feel foolish telling him so, but you can't help it. He is beautiful, like the sun or a star or something else untouchable and heavenly.

He hates your other friends, calling them Gryffindorks, Ravenbores and Hufflepoofs, and yet he remains at your side, steadfast. You don't deserve such loyalty. Sometimes you wish you could give back to him all that he gives to you. You think about ignoring all of your friends to spend time exclusively with him, but you dare not. You feel sometimes that you might drown in the overwhelming power of his personality. How could he respect you if you stopped being yourself and became one of his minions, like the two hulking boys that already leap to do his bidding? Your only saving grace is that he is yours at night, during the late night study sessions when he falls asleep with his head on your shoulder. He looks so peaceful and content you rather cut off your own arm than awaken him. As you walk toward your hideous relatives after leaving the train, you refuse to look back at him, knowing Dudley would spot your weakness in a moment and savage you mercilessly. Three months will be an eternity.

You spot him in Diagon Alley before third year as you purchase your supplies. You drag him into a deserted side lane, near to tears with the rush of emotion that threatens to choke the words that spill from your lips. Why didn't he write? Did he forget your birthday? You don't care about the birthday, not really, but couldn't he have sent even a note? Did he forget you? He tells you he was busy. He was busy. You feel like a fool, clinging so desperately to him and knowing he can brush you off so casually, but he seems genuinely contrite.

At school he spends every available moment by your side. He tutors you with potions and helps you study every subject you hate. It's nearly enough, but you build up a wall around your heart, anyway. Two summers now he has refused to write to you. Are you only important to him at Hogwarts? You make a vow to yourself that you won't be hurt again. You decide that having friends isn't enough. If he dismisses you again, you will need something to fall back on.

Girls, you decide. You will date girls. Not just one but all. You want to know love, you tell him, and think the flash in his eyes is jealousy. Not really surprising, considering he already hates your other friends. You think the girls might cause him to leave you sooner and part of you is relieved, rationalizing that it will be better to be hurt now, rather than allowing your stupid false hope to bloom only to have him stamp it to dust later.

You storm in just after Christmas, angry and sulking. Your plan is not going well and you wish you cared more about the fucking plan, anyway. He asks you what's wrong and you have to bite your tongue to keep from telling him the real reason for your anger. Instead you tell him about your first official date and your inability to even bestow a kiss upon the first girl you had set your sights on. You completely froze under the mistletoe, you admit. 'I've never kissed anyone before', you tell him. 'It's easy', he says casually and you feel a cold rush of anger such as you've never known. Something so momentous he has kept from you. You would have told him about your first kiss! It feels like betrayal. You are terrified of the details and yet seem unable to stop yourself from asking.

You listen intently as he grudgingly shares the particulars of a few kisses he has shared with what he calls 'the odd pureblood brought to his house'. You stare at him, partially in awe and partially in hatred. Your mouth seems to shed itself free of your brain for a moment and you haltingly ask if he will show you how. He laughs and asks how exactly he is supposed to do that. You stare at your feet and blush furiously, knowing you have made a mistake. He confirms it when he stands and leaves the room without a word.

Your heart is already broken, so you have nothing to lose later that night when you crawl into your bed and whisper his name. He ignores you and it is a thousand times worse than the summers when you heard nothing from him. You tell yourself that you were right to seek out girls. His actions have confirmed it for you. You were right, but now you will do anything at all just to have things back the way they were. Your aching chest seizes up and you shed tears into your pillow until you think you might drown in them.

The next morning you can hardly function. You barely speak to anyone and try to get through the day by putting one foot in front of the other. You avoid his gaze, fearing an onrush of pathetic tears if you see disgust there. He angrily hauls you into the abandoned prefects' lounge. Before you can speak, he sits you down on a couch and barks instructions. 'Tilt your head like this, yes this way, part your lips that way, alternate between one deep breath through your mouth and several short ones through your nose'. And then he kisses you.

You close your eyes because the sensation is too much, especially on the heels of his rejection. You try to stay detached as he murmurs against your lips. 'Use your tongue a little, switch angle'. He sounds so clinical that you wish your heart wasn't pounding frantically, as though trying to escape your chest. You blink and find his argent eyes open, watching you, so you pull back with heat staining your cheeks. You ask if you were supposed to keep your eyes open, too, but you're secretly glad you didn't. If you had he might have seen things you now struggle to hide.

You later wish you had never asked him to kiss you, because you date regularly after that and yet can never seem to recapture the magic of that moment. You decide it was just because it was your first kiss. It would always be special. Not because it was him.

You correspond with Ron over the summer, knowing you won't hear from Draco even while hoping foolishly that you will. Ron seems glad of your friendship and you are happy he is steadfast. You wish you didn't compare the two, because no matter how much you like Ron it will never be half of what you feel for Draco. You babble like an idiot when fourth year begins, telling him all the things you said and did with Ron over the summer. You hate yourself for taunting him with your good cheer, hoping to get a response, punishing him for his refusal to contact you. If he would only tell you why. But he is silent and then refuses to come along and cheer Ron in the Gryffindor versus Ravenclaw match. 'Are you jealous?' you sneer and 'What's your problem?' He simply snarls at you and walks away.

He barely speaks to you after that. Tense words are exchanged only when necessary. You always knew you were unworthy of his friendship. You always expected the day to come when your friendship would be broken and yet you never quite appreciated how painful it would be. A dozen times you try to speak and mend the rift, but the cold silver of his eyes freeze the words before they can form.

Christmas is difficult and you escape to the Weasleys, painting on a false smile while Ron's family tries hard to pretend that you are not an outsider. You think about the gift you bought him; a gift you don't dare give him now, for fear he will laugh in your face and throw it back at you. You wish you had left it for him anyway.

The spell is shattered in May. During a Quidditch game against Gryffindor, a Bludger knocks him from his broom and he plummets toward the ground, looking lifeless. You use all the speed you can muster to catch him, but he is too heavy. You grab him, but he drags you to the ground and you both hit hard.

You refuse to leave his side until he wakes up. You lie on the end of his bed and press your hand against his shin through the blankets, afraid to get closer and hurt him by accident. You pray for him to awaken and be the same as he was, even if it means he still hates you. When you finally stir from sleep, you find him on the end of the bed curled around you like a blanket and you want to weep with relief.

They force you to go to class, but they let him attend later and you smile at him. You're not sure how to breach the silence, but it is not uncomfortable like it was before. You finally work up the courage to speak to him, even though you can't seem to stop yourself blushing. 'I miss you, y'know.' His words cut you to the quick. 'I'm jealous,' he says, 'I'm jealous because it's easier for him to be your friend than it is for us to be.' You wish you could tell him it isn't true, that he will always be your friend before Ron. You can tell by the set of his jaw that he won't believe you. Instead you shrug and tell him you don't care. You cross the room and clamber up onto his bed like you used to and rest your head on his shoulder.

'I like Ron,' you say simply. 'But he isn't you.' It isn't enough of an admission, but anything more would chase him away again. It feels so good to feel the heartbeat in his throat and smell the scent that is uniquely him that you don't dare risk any more. You cling to him silently instead and he allows it.

You each spend the train ride home in silence and you dread the summer more than you ever have before. You press tighter against his side on the seat than is warranted, but you can't seem to help yourself. He gives you his usual 'Take care' and starts to walk away, but you reach out to stop him. You lean up on tiptoe because he's taller and probably always will be. You know what you are about to do will probably annoy him, but you need something to sustain you against the impending pain. You give him a light peck on the cheek and beg, 'Don't forget me.' You hurry away, not daring to look back.

The summer is the worst yet, although the Weasleys and Hermione do their best to take your mind off your relatives and your living conditions. You already know you won't hear from Draco and you don't, but now you actively start to wonder why. It occurs to you for the first time that something at home keeps him from writing to you and you feel guilty for never asking him about it. You resolve to be more mature when you see him again and not act like a spurned lover. He would write to you if he could and sometimes you even believe it.

In September you spot him at Kings Cross, squinting into the sun. Looking for you, you realize with a start of surprise and such a feeling of joy it nearly stops your heart. You sidle up next to him and casually ask who he is looking for. He starts and you laugh in delight as his eyes travel over you in surprise. You are nearly matched in height now and you push your glasses up to cover your urge to throw your arms around him like a child.

Despite your resolve, you can't stop looking at him, because the softness of childhood has been burned away. His hair is longer and nearly hides his eyes in a platinum veil. His beauty has surpassed that of the sun and now approaches supernova levels. You find yourself watching him constantly with an intensity he cannot help but notice. More than once he smiles at you and asks you not to try and read his thoughts because they will make you laugh. You wish you could read his mind. You want to ask so many questions of him, but you can only ask them with your eyes. To ask aloud would be to invite the shutters to close over his silver gaze and close you out.

You suppress the questions and try to behave normally, keeping him at arms length without letting him go. It's a harsh existence, but his friendship is more important to you than air. You date and you pretend it fills the hole inside of you, but at night you watch him sleep and wish you could put your hand on his chest, if only to feel the steady rise and fall as he breathes.

At Christmas you feign enjoyment as you kiss a number of girls beneath the mistletoe, knowing he watches you. Sometimes you wonder why you never see him kissing girls, but considering you don't even know why he can't write to you in the summer, you affirm there is more to him than you will ever know. The thought twists in your gut like a bitter blade and you behave even more foolishly.

On New Year's you can't stand the false gaiety another moment. The company of girls has left you tired and empty. You despise your weakness and wonder when it was exactly that you went mad. Was it the first moment you took his hand? He finds you sitting alone a few minutes before midnight and you admit that you sent your date away. He climbs up to sit beside you on the low wall outside the Great Hall. You allow yourself to lean into him, wishing you could wrap your arms around him and never let go. You wish it were as easy as senselessly snogging girls like you've been doing all month.

You stare up at the sky and ask, 'Did you know that if you are with someone in the moment the year changes, it means you'll be with them all the following year?' You tell him you sent your date away because you would rather be alone all the next year than spend it with someone you don't love. He misses the meaning behind the words, probably intentionally. 'Should I go then?' he asks quietly and starts to leave, but you grab his hand and twine your fingers in his, startled at your own boldness but desperate to keep him for a few more moments. 'No,' you say, 'you're good.' The words sound inconsequential, but everything about you seems inconsequential next to him. You sit together, staring at the sky, at the stars that will never shine as brightly as the boy beside you. You grip his hand so tightly it hurts and he grips back, as if the pain he feels is similar to your own. You know there are others he could be with tonight, but you don't care. For that one brief span of time you are entirely selfish.

You hate Valentine's Day, with the ridiculously false cards and letters sent to you because of your scar and your name. You date as many people as possible, trying to hide the fact that you care for none of them. He finds a date, also and you stupidly suggest a double date, even though the very thought of seeing him with a girl twists your insides. He shakes his head and suggests you would cramp each other's style. You laugh, secretly relieved, and suggest a gangbang. It's a joke and yet it's not, and you aren't sure why you even said it. He laughs and says, 'Sure, cos I really want to see you going at it while I'm trying to get laid.' You chuckle and shake your head in fake remorse, but the words reverberate in your head until you feel like screaming from the pain. Trying to get laid.

You flee and take refuge in your usual fashion, by seeking out a willing body. It happens to be Ernie Macmillan this time and you take him to the Slytherin dorm, something you never do. Part of you realizes you are doing it to punish him. You press Ernie down onto the bed and kiss him with punishing intensity while you wonder if Draco is out getting laid.

The door opens and you are given only a moment of relief that he is not, in fact, out getting laid, instead he is staring at you in shock. You throw yourself away from Ernie as though he had suddenly turned into a Hungarian Horntail, because even though you meant to hurt him you can never stand it when you do.

'Drake,' you whisper hoarsely, but he is gone. You go after him, leaving Ernie to fend for himself, forgotten. You search frantically, but don't find him for hours. At last you stumble into the Quidditch stands to find him huddled into a ball. 'I'm sorry,' you say, but it doesn't begin to touch your remorse.

You sit beside him in silence until dawn and the foot of distance between you might as well be a canyon. You wait for him to speak, even if it takes eternity.

'I thought we were friends,' he says finally and of all the things you expected him to say, hoped he would say, that is not one of them. 'We are,' you say emphatically and quail when he shakes his head and continues. 'I'm supposed to be your 'best' friend and you didn't even tell me you were gay.' His tone is arctic and you can hardly believe your ears. He's not upset that you were kissing Ernie; he's upset because you're gay, something you won't even admit to yourself because you never think of yourself as gay, you are simply trying to fill up the hole left by the inevitability of knowing you can never have the one person you really want. It's all too much, suddenly, and you pull your knees up to your chest, unable to fight the tears any longer. You sob silently, shoulders heaving, and wish you had never heard of the wizarding world at all.

Unexpectedly his arms are around you and he's rocking you back and forth against his chest, murmuring senseless platitudes. His face presses into your hair and he promises to forgive you if only you'll stop crying, 'Please don't cry, don't cry.' 'You are my best friend,' you sob, 'I didn't want to lose you, didn't want you to hate me.' 'I could never hate you,' he says. You blink at him though you can barely see through the tears and sniffle loudly. 'But I thought you and all purebloods were homophobic?' He laughs shortly. 'Purebloods,' he says, 'believe in fucking anything they can catch and it is considered gauche to have not had lovers of both sexes.' You gape, nearly unable to process this revelation. 'Then... then you?' you stammer. He nods and admits, 'I think I actually prefer boys to girls.'

You try to breathe and draw yourself reluctantly from his embrace. 'So, you don't mind that I'm gay then?' Your voice is a stutter and you mull over his words, so casual and yet so painful. He prefers boys to girls and yet he has never once even tried to kiss you, not since that first time when you practically forced him. He prefers boys, but not you. 'No, I mind not being told,' he says and you smile, trying to put your soul into it even though it kills you. He is your best friend and even though he will never love you, it is sufficient that he cares about you, enough to be hurt by your refusal to confide in him. It has to be sufficient. You struggle through exams and through a few pathetic gay dates. You make sure to confide in him and you describe how it feels to kiss both boys and girls. You only wish that every confidence he smiles through didn't make you more and more hollow inside.

At Kings Cross station you walk away, not daring to hug him or even offer more than a cursory wave, but you have slip a note into his pocket when he's not looking. Three words sum up the pain you'll suffer through in the weeks ahead. Don't Forget Me, it reads.

You make a decision over the summer, prompted by the knowledge that you would rather not spend your life waiting, because there is a very good chance your life could be cut short at any moment. The Dursleys set you to manual labor and you gain muscles rapidly. They don't increase their generosity with food, however, and the increased activity leaves you ravenous. You sneak out of the house. At first, you do it only to purchase food from a nearby grocery, but the taste of freedom is too exquisite. You wander the streets, feeling safely Muggle.

You don't intentionally seek out the clubs. The loud music and sound of laughter draws you one night after a dream of him pushes you out of the house to walk aimlessly. You dance with both boys and girls and the camaraderie takes your mind off of him, if only for a few minutes at a time. You meet a bloke and strike up a tentative flirtation. When you take off your glasses and squint at him you can see a vague resemblance to Draco. You shut your eyes the first time he lets you fuck him and your mind's eye envisions the one you can never have in his place. When you finally allow him to fuck you, Draco's name bursts from your lips when you come. You never go to the club again.

When next you see Draco on Platform 9 & ¾, you smile at him in secret glee. Your nighttime forays have given you new knowledge and you are brimming with confidence. You draw him close for a hug and purr into his ear. He looks good enough to eat. He has grown again, as have you, but he still tops you by a few inches. His hair and skin are perfection, so much so that it almost hurts to look at him. He looks like something out of myth. 'Adonis,' you proclaim while holding his precious face. He gapes at you and scowls. You wait so long that you fear the changes might not be as obvious as they feel, but at last he pales slightly and slides his eyes over you more completely. You grin and wink at him as you board the train.

'Who?' he whispers. His voice sounds rough and you drag him to a compartment. You disclose your nighttime forays and tell him about the club. You admit to meeting 'some guy' and that the last time you went the guy had 'taught you a few tricks'. You grin devilishly at him, expecting him to be happy for you. After all, it was for him that you did it. You are trying to get on with your life and stop pining away for your 'best friend'. You frown at his blank expression. 'Aren't you pleased for me?' Of course he's pleased, he tells you, just shocked you moved so fast. You nearly snort aloud and bite back a snide comment that he doesn't have a psychopathic maniac waiting for him to leave the protection of Dumbledore. Instead, you laugh and say all you have to do is get him laid. He seems very satisfied when he informs you that he had sex two summers before with both genders. You freeze slightly, both at his words and the inclusion of the hated time frame of 'summer.' So that was why he could never write to you? You feel such jealous rage for a moment you think it might consume you, but you crush it down savagely. With great effort, you feign casual indifference and pretend disappointment that he beat you to it.

Your anger from that moment never fades and you realize that you want to hurt him, to punish him for not loving you. The knowledge that someone else has touched him so intimately is like shards of broken glass swimming through your veins. You know your rage is foolish and twisted, but you can't help yourself. You take more and more risks, wondering if the next thing you attempt will be the one to turn him from you forever.

One day he enters your room to find you fucking Seamus Finnegan. For a moment he freezes, staring at you as you sit in the chair by your bed while Seamus rides you like a winded horse while muttering in his thick accent. You watch him with a broken grin, hoping beyond hope that he will snarl with rage and tear Seamus from you. He merely blushes, nods, and leaves, taking what's left of your destroyed heart with him. An hour later, you find him and clap him on the back in a pathetic imitation of the Ministry officials that try to be your friend at every public function. 'Sorry bout that,' you drawl and know that he'll pick up on your attempt to imitate him, 'didn't know you'd be back so soon but then, I guess it's nothing you haven't seen before, right?' You wink even though you want to Cruicio yourself for trying to hurt him, because the only one being ripped apart is you. He only smiles and nods.

He dates more frequently after that, both girls and boys. You dread the day long before it finally happens, even while expecting the inevitability of it. You enter your room one day to find him fucking a naked, mewling Zacharias Smith. A goddamn Hufflepuff! Draco takes him from behind as Smith kneels at the end of the bed. Draco hasn't even undressed, still clad in undone black school trousers, with his pale hands gripping Smith's hips firmly. You watch, transfixed and horrified as he fucks Smith slowly. The mirror at the head of his bed shows you his averted gaze; he doesn't see you watching as he slides in and out of the other boy. You wish to hell you were deaf, because Smith cries out loudly, begging for Draco to 'do it, like that, again, hard, oh so good, so big, Merlin yes like that,' and you know you should flee, but you can't seem to find the strength to move. Draco draws nearly all the way out before slamming back in and you can't help but put yourself in Smith's place. The air catches in your lungs at the same time the blood races to your loins. Draco's gaze suddenly meets yours in the mirror and he blinks in surprise, though you can't help but wonder if he planned to be caught as revenge for Seamus. You mutter a quick 'Sorry' and flee with red-stained cheeks and a hard-on. You scoff at yourself and realize that plotting revenge would mean he cared.

You are careful not to bring dates into your room any more and there seems to be an uneasy truce between you. Thankfully, you don't catch him with anyone else and when Christmas comes he gives you a complex book of Charms. He points out a fantastic spell meant to enchant the canopy above your bed to look like a window into the night sky. You throw yourself at him upon reading it and lock your arms tightly around his neck. Even through everything, he remembers how much you hate the dungeons. He laughs with his old delight and you perform the spell above both your beds. 'There,' you say, pleased with yourself, 'now we can sleep beneath the moonlight together'. You blush as you watch a falling star skate across the Charmed sky. You wonder if a fake star worked as well for wishes, because you can't think of anything you would rather have.

You spend New Years by his side, because that holiday will always belong to him. You are content to listen to the chimes ring in the New Year and wish you could kiss him. You can't help but watch him and think senseless, romantic thoughts that will never be. January passes quickly and that stupidest of holidays approaches. Valentine's Day. You know it's obligatory to have a dozen dates and probably bring one back to your room, but the very idea of it makes you nauseous. You already tried to forget him through sex and it was always his face you saw and his name on your lips when you came. And then you receive a card. It's nothing special except for what is written inside. You know it's from him and you are almost surprised at how easily he can still hurt you.

You wait for him on his bed and anger wrestles with hurt. He opens the door and you sit up hastily, glowering at him. You are dressed for a date, but you haven't gone anywhere. You must look atrocious, for when you glare at him he grins and calls you 'Kitten'. Your scowl deepens and you hold up the card he sent you. 'Forget Me Not, Harry Potter,' you snarl and hold the card face out to expose his elegant scrawl, 'You're the Only One Who Matters.' He had not even tried to disguise his writing.

Your anger and confusion explodes. 'What is this?' you cry and he sighs as he sits heavily on the bed. 'A joke,' he says and you sneer even as the heart you thought broken into dust scrapes itself together for another round of pain. Your lip curls and you attempt a disdainful look. 'You think it's funny to send me false Valentines do you?' Your voice is a snarl because you never expected this, not of him. 'You think it's funny I have all these people pretending to love me?' He blinks and seems to blanch at your words. 'It isn't fake,' he says. 'It's no declaration of love but it's not fake. I don't think its funny, I would never pretend,' he says solemnly and then seizes your wrist to drag you in for a fierce, crushing hug. 'I would never pretend to love you if I didn't,' he says and you wish you could believe him. 'I fucking hate Valentine's Day,' you whisper and rest your forehead against his. You can feel his breath against your lips.

You sit together like that for a while, eyes closed, just resting against each other, until you finally find your voice. 'I'm the only one who matters?'

He reddens faintly before answering, 'Yes.' 'Why?' you murmur, pulling back to remove your glasses. You rub at your eyes with the heel of your hand, rubbing out the tears you would not allow to fall. He smiles. 'Because,' he says and you scowl as you push at his shoulders, shoving him back to straddle him. 'Because what?' you ask, knowing you shouldn't sit over him this way. His words squelch wayward desire, because he's too important to ruin with overeager lust. 'Because you're my bestest.' He grins and you chuckle. He hasn't been silly in a long time and you realize how much you've missed it. 'Bestest?' He blushes and winks. 'The bestest, bestest friend,' he says, 'my bestest, bestest friend.' You push again at his shoulders, gently, eyes cast downward as you bring your forehead back to rest against his, overcome with emotion. 'You are the only one who matters,' he says earnestly. 'You are the only one who matters to me.'

You rub the tip of your nose against his and smile softly. An Eskimo kiss, you think, knowing the Muggle sentiment would be lost on him. 'You are the best friend I've ever had or will ever have,' you whisper and move closer. You settle yourself fully on his lap and his arms drape about you, loosely, barely clasped at your waist. Your eyes flicker downwards and you blush slightly as you focus your gaze back on his. Your hands slide unhurriedly from his shoulders down across the smooth material of his robes, until one hand gently rests over his collarbone. The other slides backwards and sideways, fingers cupping themselves lightly about the curl of his nape. You murmur his name so softly it sounds like a breath of magic. You tilt your head, trailing the tip of your nose down the aristocratic slope of his before drawing back slightly to lock your eyes on his silver gaze, trying to read the secrets still hidden there.

You move your face closer to his, slanting somewhat to the left, but holding his argent gaze. You need him, but he is in control, despite the fact that you are the one moving. You are terrified that the moment you've anticipated, ached for, nearly bled for is here, but you know it could be snatched away in an instant. Your fear nearly kills the desire, except the desire has been there so long you no longer really feel it, it simply is. He doesn't seem to be breathing, which is just fine because the breath has seized up in your own lungs and you think you might starve for oxygen before you finally lean down and press your lips against his.

His mouth is slightly parted, not quite an invitation, but the knowledge alone makes you tremble. Your eyes stay open this time, locked on his. The kiss is delicate, hesitant even though your fingers tighten upon the nape of his neck until you dimly realize you might be hurting him. You taste him gently, moving your lips over his and sucking lightly. The sound is loud in the stillness, because neither of you are breathing. It lasts only a moment, but seems forever because you memorize every instant. You pull away slightly and the noise is louder, a soft suction of protest in the darkness. There is no time for the terror to regain a grip, because he moves his head forward to reclaim your lips before they have fully retreated. You make an involuntary sound of surprised pleasure. His lips part fully this time and you taste him, completely and deeply. You are breathing again and the heated breaths gasp between you in an increasing staccato. You tip him backwards onto the bed and manage not to break eye contact. Breathing halts again and then quickens. You try to devour him with your lips and he bites softly at your lower lip. The sensation is nearly your undoing, but he is the one who gasps. You revel in his distraction and plunge deeply with your tongue, overtaking his to fully plunder his gorgeous mouth. You feel astonished triumph when a whimper of need that escapes him. Your hand leaves his collarbone and moves downward, palm spread, fingers splayed, curving inwards.

You feel the beating of his heart beneath your palm and wonder that it matches your own frantic pulse. Your hand pauses there, suddenly overcome as his eyes close.

He snarls suddenly and reverses your positions with a swift movement. He now rests atop you and his tongue scrapes roughly over your teeth, battling you with a sound that resembles a growl. A fist clenches into your hair and he ruthlessly savages your mouth, pressing hard enough to know you'll have swollen lips for hours, a mark that will show the world he kissed you. His hips buck forward into yours and his free hand crushes into your chest, holding you in place as though there were somewhere else on earth you'd rather be. You whimper and writhe against him, thrusting upwards in quick jabs, throbbing with need.

The door creaks open, a low, groaning sound that freezes you both. You see anguish written on his beautiful, flushed face as he straightens up. He rises, spins, every movement graceful and fluid, and glides out the door like a wraith.

You find him with the Map, sitting atop the roof of the Astronomy Tower staring out into the night. You slump down beside him and turn your head to rest it against his shoulder. You know you shouldn't, not after yet another rejection, but you tremble and he sighs. He moves closer and you gratefully press along his side. You swiftly move beneath his arm so he is forced to hold you against him. You turn your face into his throat and feel your own tighten again. 'Please,' you whispers and try to keep the accumulated tears from falling. 'Please don't hate this.' 'I don't do this,' he says. 'I won't do this, you mean too much to me, you're my friend.'

You try to understand, but you don't. 'I know you fucked Zabini. Zabini's your friend, how is it different?" you ask. He shrugs. 'That was Zabini,' he says and you can't hide your anger as it flares anew. 'So what? So Zabini's special?' You want to weep, but you take refuge in the familiarity of anger. How can everyone be special except for you? He sighs and says, 'No. That was just Zabini. You are you. Not just Harry but 'Harry'. I won't fuck us up that way. I need you too much.'

You don't know what to say, which is a common occurrence around him. You search his face and he closes his arms about you and buries his face in your neck. 'You're the only one who matters,' he mumbles against your skin and you sigh, knowing he has won again. If all he wants is friendship, then he shall have it even if your every breath in his presence feels like a thousand knives in your chest.

Your arms tighten about him and your press your lips into his hair. 'Friends?' you ask and are pleased at your control. It doesn't sound at all like begging. He trembles, though you are not sure why. 'Always,' he whispers and you never knew a single word could cut so deep. You want him more than you want air and all he will ever allow you is his friendship. You convince yourself that it is enough, because if you dare to pressure him for more the rejection would destroy you.

Spring leaves February behind and you feel like you have shed something with the passing of winter. You no longer care to date, and ignore the rumours that surround you. All you want is him and if all you can have of him is friendship, then you will have all of his friendship that he will give. You spend every waking moment together and it is almost like being eleven again. Only one thing mars your meager happiness, and that is the fact that he continues to date. The dates are infrequent, and always female. You are bewildered, since he confessed to you his preference for boys. Had that simply been talk to make you less ashamed? Every time he prepares himself and leaves your room, you can't help but gift him with sullen glares and harsh words, even though you know you know you have no claim on him. You are just a friend, after all. If you are the only one who matters, he has a fucking lousy way of showing it. You wish you could stop your tongue, but you have already placed iron chains around your heart. Keeping silent is not so simple after that.

You accuse him of being ashamed of his sexuality, of repressing his true feelings, and the deepest cut of all, of becoming just another breeder forr the Malfoy line. That hurt him and you know it, but he says nothing in his defense.

As the days warm, you spend more time outside. You can't get enough of the way the sun shines upon his hair and causes his skin to glow, although to you he will still outshine the sun. He doesn't spend much time in the sun, which is fine with you. His pale skin darkens only slightly. You coax him into walking barefoot and laugh at his first mincing shoeless steps. The grass is soft, but his flesh is unused to anything but the expensive socks that soften his footsteps. Eventually you drag him on long walks around the lake. His feet toughen and you are pleased that you, regardless of how simple or small, have worked at least one change in him.

One lazy afternoon beneath the leafy bower of a large oak tree near the lake, you feel a charge about him that you later dismiss as imagination. You lie on your stomach, eyes closed to blissfully shut out the hours of studying you have done. You press your face into the grass and it tickles your chin. He sits beside you, laughing as you make plans for your upcoming sixteenth birthday. You tease him mercilessly about the huge one-month gap in your ages that makes you so much more mature. You'll be an adult in the Muggle world, you explain, while he will remain a child. He cuffs you on the head and you wince when a muscle twinges in your shoulder at the movement. He reaches out and touches your back, rolling his long fingers over your spine, easing the tension found there. His palms follow, flattening against your shirt. A friendly massage, nothing more, but you can't suppress a moan. He chuckles and twists his fingers into your back. The flourish tells you he wrote his own name. You don't tell him it has already been written on your heart. He writes merrily for long minutes and you can't quite tell what he spells, until the end. You are almost dozing by then, lulled by the simple joy of his touch, but you think you feel him write I Love You.

You are awake then, sorry to stop his hands, but needing to know. 'What was that last one?' He says only, 'Friends' and you want to gnash your teeth. Instead you nod and try to force a smile that doesn't fool him. The anger simmers as you sit up, trying to relax but once loosed the dragon cannot be so easily contained. You snatch him by the shirt front and drag him forward to face you, trying not to feel the heat of him between your legs and resting against your torso. 'And if it's not enough?' You snarl the question and kiss him brutally.

You twine your arms about him and twist your legs with his, holding him down. The kiss is more like at battle as you try to possess him through your lips. He doesn't fight back, moaning and panting at you. He crushes your glasses as he tears them from your face and your hand is clenched too tightly in his hair, but you hold it like a lifeline. You are drowning, after all, starving for air as his tongue meets yours in hard thrusts. You return them desperately, knowing you would rather kiss him than breathe, or partake of sustenance or drink. You feel him harden between your legs and it's almost too much to bear. You can't help but relax, spreading yourself wide to allow him easier access. He grinds against you and you dimly wonder if your heart still beats.

You reach down and pull at his zipper, knowing you are opening something that can never be put back into the box, but powerless to stop yourself. His fist wraps in your hair and angles your head back into the grass. The edge of his palm presses against your scar and everything lurches. The scar was the center of your world for so long, but now he is and the knowledge makes you shiver. He misreads it and stiffens. Before he even moves you can feel him retreating, pulling away from you and back into his shell.

You tear at him with your throat closing up, unable to voice anything but 'No' as you pull at him, needing nothing more than to bring him back to you. He is already gone, face shuttered. 'I won't,' he says as he tears himself from your embrace. 'I won't ruin our friendship, it means too much.' He rises and gathers his books, calm once more, as if the storm had never been. Forlorn tears well in your eyes, despite the anger that tries to dash them. Your voice is hoarse in your throat and the effort to speak is astonishing. You want to hurt him as much as you want to love him. 'And if it isn't enough?' you demand through clenched teeth. He hands you back your freshly repaired spectacles. 'It has to be,' he says simply and walks away.

That night you lay awake beneath the starry canopy and bitterly reflect that you can never view the sky without thinking of him. You can hear him in his bed as he turns over and somehow know that he has turned away from you. The tears began as soon as you shut the curtains, but all the weeping in the world can't dull the pain you feel now. You wonder when he became more important than life itself to you and know things have become dark when you consider walking out into the lake and ending it all, because frankly, what was the fucking point? To crawl through life like a zombie, unloved, until a mad wizard destroyed what was left of you?

You make a sudden decision and sit up to shift aside the curtains of your bed. The dorm is quiet; all the occupants are asleep but him. 'Draco?' you whisper and wince at the sob-rough sound of your voice. He does not reply. You leave your bed and pad to the thick curtains surrounding his.

'Draco?' You bite your lip to stop the plea and gently push the curtains aside. As expected, he is turned from you and his arms are clamped tightly around his pillow. His hair gleams in the fake moonlight, a silvery cascade your fingers know by heart. He pretends to sleep, but you know him too well. You move forward hesitantly and put one knee on the bed to lean close to him.

Your breath hitches as you speak and it suddenly doesn't matter that you are begging, because for him you would crawl through shards of glass on your knees. So you beg, offering him everything in the pretense of just one night. 'I know this is supposed to be enough for us, Draco, and don't think I want to ruin what we have. I just... I...' You swallow hard through a throat gone dry and soldier on. 'Could you just love me for tonight?' For tonight and tomorrow and eternity, you add silently, but hold your breath because you would never have those things, but maybe, just maybe you could have one night.

He rolls over to meet your gaze and the brightness in his beautiful eyes causes tears to well in your own. You know he will refuse you and you can't, you simply can't allow it even if you have to grovel. Your words spill out haphazardly in a rush as you look away, unable to watch him shut you out. 'I mean, I just, couldn't you just love me now, for tonight, because y'know I really need it and its killing me and you could just pretend it never happened tomorrow if you wanted I just, I wish, I wish you would just love me for tonight.'

'Why?' he asks. It's a whisper but it shakes you to your soul more than if he had shouted. Why? You stare at him for a moment as hundreds of thousands of reasons flit through your head. Why? Because you can't breathe without him. Because your day cannot begin until you see his face. Because his touch is better than the softest fabric, his taste is better than the finest drink. Because without him you are nothing.

'Because... because I love you,' you murmur, knowing the words can't possibly contain the depth of your feelings. A single tear escapes and rolls down your cheek. You can't breathe.

He sits up slowly. 'You love me?' he asks. His voice is strange, sounding both disbelieving and hopeful, thrumming with something you never heard from him before. You start at the ridiculous question. How could he not know? You nod and he claps a hand over his mouth to still a cry. You are astonished for a moment and wonder if the thought horrifies him. You reach for his hands, shaking, and pull them away. In an instant, his arms are around your neck and his is kissing you. The shock is astounding, but the feel of him drinking your lips as though he's trying to absorb your soul shakes you out of a stupor.

You hold him gently and lay him back against the mattress. You feel him kick away the confining sheets as you lay over him. He parts his thighs and you feel his legs against your own, bare and somewhat rough, but exquisite. Your pelvis rests against his and you look stupidly into his eyes, wondering if you have slipped into a dream. 'Silencing Charm,' he whispers, shattering the illusion of a dream. Two words were never so brilliantly spoken and the wonder has barely faded when you feel his hands tugging at your underwear. You realize he is pulling at his own, as well, and you whisper his name reverently.

You hiss as his erection springs free, brushing your own hardness and sliding against it. You have felt others before, but nothing could ever be like this. 'The charm?' he pleads. You snatch his wand from the nightstand and cast. Your eyes remain locked with his and he smiles at you with something that looks like joy. 'Tell me you love me,' he demands throatily. 'I love you,' you repeat against his perfect mouth, not quite daring to hope that he wants you to love him. 'No,' he says and wraps his legs around yours. He lifts his pelvis from the bed. 'Tell me when you're inside me.'

It is the most erotic thing you have ever heard and your body reacts faster than your heart. Your erection twitches and you barely contain an orgasm as terror finally melts into hopeful astonishment. His belly is wet with your precome and he whimpers before he rocks gently upward, touching you again. You stare into his enormous silver eyes, dark with passion. You mutter a Lubricating Charm and the next time your penis brushes his it is slick and hot. He bites his lip and the sight of that alone causes you to clamp down hard on your need. You slide a hand beneath him to lift his hips. Your fingers tremble as they spread wide over his arse, finally touching after so long wanting. Your thumb rests over his last vertebrae and your little finger just barely grazes the crease between his cheeks. You swallow reverently before sliding slowly into his unbelievable heat. You nearly close your eyes, but you don't want to miss a single flicker of expression on his face. You catch his blush as a whimper of discomfort issues from his throat.

You freeze, shocked, and gape at him. You see him wince and the words tumble out brokenly, 'No one's... no one?' You shut your eyes then, overcome. His muscles clench around you and you curse yourself for not going more slowly. Your guilt is nearly overwhelming.

'No one,' he says again, 'no one but you.' Your breath catches and your throat locks up again, but there are no words for what you feel now. You slide your other arm around his back, curving him in to you. You kiss him and another cry of pain is muffled with your kiss. It kills you to hurt him, but you can't withdraw now. All you can do it try to make it easier. You slide deeper into him as your weight rests against him. You wait patiently for his body to adjust, knowing it will get worse before it gets better. His toes flex back and forth over your calves and his strong legs squeezing you. He wants you to move, but his body shakes against yours. Even then he surprises you. 'Now,' he gasps harshly, breathing hard although you haven't yet begun. 'Tell me.'

You quiver with the effort of holding back, but his words bring everything sharply back into focus. You look down into his face, the face that you have traced every day in your mind. His eyes are soft and silver and the only sign of his distress is a faint line between his pale brows. You reach up to brush an errant platinum strand from his eyes and it catches slightly on his long lashes. You say, 'I love you' again and you can feel a tremble shiver over his body. You still in wonder as tears slip from the corners of his eyes and he gasps, 'Oh, gods, I love you.' You haven't time to register the words before he pulls your head down and sobs against your lips.

Disbelief slowly melts into delight. His kisses are frantic and greedy. You separate for air a few moments later and smile down at his blush. You stroke his hair, still marveling at the feel of it and you tell him how long you've loved him and express amazement that he didn't know. 'Couldn't you tell when I asked you to kiss me in 3rd year?' You kiss him between words, unable to stop now that he's finally allowing it. You wait for his body to relax and accept you deeper. A delighted laugh ripples through him each time you press a kiss into his skin and your grip on reality shifts away each time you hear it. Surely this isn't real. You can't possibly have everything you've always wanted.

He closes his eyes and kisses you deeply, plundering your mouth with his tongue. You are draped over him like a robe, clinging to every inch of him. He shudders and opens his eyes. A swift pout crosses his features and you chuckle in surprise. You always knew he would be demanding in bed, and god if he isn't beautiful. 'Need to see you,' he pants and pushes at your shoulders. You start to slide out of him and he squeaks in protest, yet another sound you discover has the ability to send a jolt of electricity through you. 'Hold on,' you murmur and lean back on your haunches. You gather him around his waist and his slim thighs straddle you. He looks down and you follow his gaze. His erection is throbbing, dripping at the tip and you long to touch it, but you can't, not quite yet. You slide your length back into him gently and lift your gaze back to his face. His features tighten as he gasps, head falling back slightly to expose the long line of his throat. You swallow hard and place your hands on his hips, lifting him and then releasing. A throaty sound curls over you as gravity pulls him back down until you are fully sheathed in him again.

You always thought he would be a quiet lover and you are dazed at the quantity of words that spill forth as you thrust into him from below, holding tightly to his hips. The words flow over you like heat, burning into your soul. Half of them are demands and half are declarations of love. Both are enflaming. 'Harder, deeper, faster because oh gods I love you so much I'll die without you oh gods yes just there fuck me harder oh god Harry yes, I love you, I love you, I love you...' You want to hear every sound, but you can't stop yourself chanting your own sonnets, telling him how beautiful, how perfect, how utterly exquisite he is and how much you love him and love the feel of his hot, tight arse clenching around your cock and god you would have fed yourself to the lake if he had made you wait one more day… You are drenched with sweat at the effort of lifting him over and over again, yanking him down hard with each stroke. It's hard to speak through the motion, and harder still to kiss, but he leans down frequently as if unable to go on without tasting your lips.

His hands wrap around your shoulders, clinging desperately as he becomes nearly a dead weight. His face is taut with pleasure as he whimpers with every savage thrust and his fingers are like claws on your skin. You pause and he rests his forehead against yours, wet with exertion. You reach up and push the tangles back from his eyes as he locks his gaze with yours. His exhaustion is tangible as you kiss him and then whisper against his mouth, 'You know, I never kissed anyone else with my eyes open.'

He thrashes madly at that and explodes. He throws his head back to scream aloud and you want to shout with him, but only a strangled cry escapes you as he shivers around you, clenching so hard you feel your orgasm start in your toes before exploding outward through every cell of your being. Even as the pleasure washes over you, still you keep your eyes on him. He arches so far backward you fear he might topple, and hold his hips tightly even as you shudder and twitch violently beneath him. The knowledge that no one else has ever touched him the way you have is a gift beyond measure. He saved himself. He saved himself for you and you can hardly move through the weight of it, until you see the look in his eyes and know that he has always been as lost as you.

You try to curl beside him, but still he is demanding. He wants you on top of him, even with the sweat and come drying on your skin. He finally allows you to twist your legs between his and hold him close with one arm while the other curves against his torso. Your face remains buried against his throat. The salt on his skin stings your lips but you don't care. 'I love you,' you mumble into the smooth skin above his pulse point. Your eyelashes drag against his skin and you are so incredibly tired. You were already exhausted from the burden you bore, even before you sought him out. You fight sleep, though, to hear the words you can hardly dare to believe. His arms tighten about your torso and one hand glides through the damp curls at your neck. 'I love you,' he whispers and you relax slightly in relief, fear put to rest for the moment. You repeat his words to yourself as you fall into contentment and sleep.

You hear him murmur as you awaken and the brightness beyond your lids warns you that morning has come, but you feel him still wrapped around you and you press small kisses into his chest. You think you hear a voice, but it seems far away and you feel like you're floating. Draco loves you. Trying to open your eyes, you slide upward instead and take his mouth in a kiss. 'Morning,' you mumble, 'Love you.'

'Love you back,' he says and the words cause something else to stir, but a voice shatters the pleasant, drowsy glow that surrounds you.

'Hey Harry! Nice Silencing Charm!' It's Blaise Zabini's voice and you stiffen before sitting bolt upright. You instinctively haul the bed sheets over him in a rush, trying to shield him from his sneering housemates. 'What?' you bark at Zabini, glaring at him, daring him to spoil the moment. You can hardly see him without your glasses and yet you meet Zabini's eyes directly. When his comment fully registers, you flush and Blaise grins devilishly. 'That's right!' he drawls maliciously, dark eyes bright with mischief, 'We heard it all!'

Zabini seizes his pillow and stretches out atop it, grinding his pelvis down into it as he throws back his head, mimicking your voice with a frightening precision. 'Oh fuck, oh gods yes Draco, so fucking tight, gods love you so much, yeah baby squeeze me, yeah like that oh fuck I love having my cock inside you, feels so good, so hot, so tight... oh... oh... oh gods yeah, yeah, Merlin yeah Draco, I love you so much don't stop, ride me, god yeah, ride me harder baby, love you, love you... oh god Draco YEAH!'

You feel yourself go rigid and then scarlet, more embarrassed than you've ever been. How hard was a simple Silencing Charm? You dive beneath the covers and hide your face against his stomach. 'Please tell me I don't sound like that,' you beg against his navel and feel him twitch at the movement of your lips. It is obvious by Zabini's roar of laughter that he suspects you of an entirely different activity and your mortification fades as anger takes its place. You pull back out again to give Zabini a full death glare. You are shocked when Greg's hand drops to your shoulder. 'Don't worry, Potter,' Greg says with a kind smile whilst shooting Blaise a stern look, 'I'm only a bed away and all I could hear was Blaise jerking off over you two.' He grins at you and Blaise abruptly stops laughing. 'I think he came louder than both of you.'

You smile gratefully up at Greg as he whispers over loudly, 'About fucking time,' and Vincent gives you both the thumbs up sign as he grins. Blaise sulkily replaces his pillow and glares at Draco's 'henchmen'.

You dismiss them all and turn back to him with your heart in your eyes and kiss him deeply. Your arms curl about him to trace the words 'I love you' on top of each other on his back. His gentle smile is bliss. 'I love you,' you say.

And there the dream stops.

Your heart seizes at the intensity of it and you reel, trying to escape, but there is more. Things shift, pulling you along. You unwillingly feel the pain he walks through every single day of his harsh reality. He holds onto the dream and modifies it until it is the only thing that sustains him, a fantasy that will never be. You see other dreams that he can't withstand, dreams that wake him, sobbing, in the night.

You see a duplicitous, deranged professor, bent on resurrecting his master and leaving your broken 11 year old body before a flickering mirror where your parents hold you tight and a ruby red stone brings back a monster. Some of the details are wrong. You know because you were there, but he has the gist of it right.

You see him twist in despair as the shade of a 16 year old boy with the heart of a madman sets a murderous serpent to spear its teeth through you and leave you poisoned, dying, deep in the darkness of a cavern he could never find.

You see the Triwizard Tournament and then the graveyard. The headstones are larger and the edges of the clearing are misty and insubstantial. How could he know what it was really like? Your twisted body lies atop a gravestone and his version is nearly as horrifying as the reality. You feel his revulsion and hatred as Voldemort drains your life force and returns from his mistlike half-life. You always thought he willingly served, followed, and possibly even loved the twisted evil, but he hates, he hates it nearly as much as you.

He sees you in a semblance of the Ministry of Magic, possessed and struck down by Voldemort's attempted possession. You wonder that he knows about even that, and feel like weeping when he thinks it was your own strength that allowed you to resist the possession, instead of the sacrifice of your mother. He has many things wrong, but the fact that he thinks about them at all humbles you more than you realize.

He fears for you during every twisted thing you suffer and his dreams are worse yet, imagining horrors yet to befall you. They color his every waking moment and you wonder how he bears it, and why. Only one thing keeps him going. One fantasy so astonishing that it dwarfs even the dream of friendship and love, because he lives it and breathes it and suffers through it every single day. One thing sustains him and that thing… is you.

You want it to end then, and it does, but only after you see his final fear, the dream that occurs most frequently, the one that causes him to carefully craft the fine fantasy of lies. You see a grotesque pattern marring his pale flesh, a mark that cuts deeper than your scar, applied just as unwillingly, a sigil you now know he bears in reality. He feels your pain and grief as you look upon it and he sees your mouth work in silent horror at his betrayal. Even in his deepest fantasies, he cannot surmount that particular truth, especially when it burns on his arm and wakes him to terror from a sound sleep. Even in his dreams he cannot allow himself to justify the gross disfigurement that mars his skin in both mind and reality. You see him as a child writing desperate, unsent letters to a boy he hoped would save not only the world, but him. You want to weep when that boy's faith is finally crushed and he becomes what you have branded him in your own mind—Death Eater. Servant of evil. In his final dream you raise your wand and cast a burst of green that he welcomes with no small amount of relief. He doesn't fear death by your hand.

But that is for the future and for now he can only watch and await his eventual demise, even as he feels dead already, except when you walk by and his heart beats anew. And each time he is surprised. How long until he no longer feels even that? Sometimes he wonders if he's done enough, borne more than his load, taken more than he could stand and surely, surely that must merit a reward? Perhaps he could start over, say he was sorry, take your hand and hold on tight while hoping you won't pull away. Maybe he could beg for the merest smile or kind word from you. Maybe his dreams aren't that far wrong and maybe you would see him, just him, just once as he really is.

You wince as you feel the burn on his arm and the taste of the darkness writhing in the back of his mind, the stench of hatred that ignores him completely to focus solely on you. 'Get close to him,' his father once said, 'be his friend and then one day…' A fist closes with a snap and a grim smile twists his father's visage. So he is your nemesis and he mocks you and hurts you, hates you to all watchers, and tries to hide his dreams from the one who laughs at them cruelly each night. They want him close to you, close enough to break you, and so he betrays you both. He pretends not to love you and refuses their orders, knowing it won't be long before he pays the ultimate price for his disobedience.

You come back to yourself with a snap and the warmth of his chest is jarring reality as he takes one final step. You nearly back away, but you can't seem to move as he dips his head and gives you answer to a question you can no longer remember asking.

"You'd be dead already," he spits and the truth of it echoes through your mind. You back away, lip curling with a grimace you know he misreads. You dare not meet his eyes as you turn to flee. You walk away steadily although the effort is almost more than you can bear. It's too much; you need to escape. You feel his eyes on you as you leave. You haven't the strength to turn around, terrified of what you might see in the silver eyes. 'Did it work?' Hermione asks as she trots next to you. 'Did you see his plans?' You want to laugh, but to do so would be to invite hysteria. His only plan is to keep you alive until he dies by your hand. How is that for the dreaded Slytherin plot?

You ignore the questions of your friends and escape to your room where you lie on your red-clad bed and sift over your new knowledge. You avoid him for three days, unwilling to give in to the truth of the visions. At night the dream haunts you and you remember odd bits as vivid as your own memories. You remember the broom he lent you for your first Quidditch match. You remember the Slytherin colors you wore. You remember the pain of that first summer when his letters never came. You remember your first breathless kiss.

It drives you out of bed with an oath. You storm to the common room and pace while you try desperately to recall that your first kiss was with Cho Chang, wet and unmemorable. "It was a fucking dream!" you yell, startling a student studying late in a nearby corner. It wasn't real. It wasn't real!

You crawl through the days with little sleep, haunted by images you can't admit to your friends. You avoid him but your eyes seek him out, as they always did, but for the first time you actually see him, though you are careful never to let him know. Unwillingly, you also see his friends. No longer are they a collective group to be stamped out. Never again will they be simply 'Slytherins' to be sneered at and targeted and avoided. You watch as they huddle together using bravado as a shield. Their sneers and barbs are directed at you and those like you. You think they are beneath you because their parents serve an evil master, but now you see the nervousness that causes them to stand together in packs, terrified to be caught alone. They touch each other often, seeking reassurance. They turn to him as though he can protect them. You watch as he shields them from the cruelty of other students, cruelty that you once thought was justified. Now you see it as another form of bullying. You and your friends have been no better than those you stand against, hating them because of their labels. 'Purebloods' you call them, not realizing one tag is as bad as another.

You avoid him in class and when his gaze occasionally meets yours you see nothing but ice there. You doubt yourself then, and look away in confusion. You search the grey orbs and catch not a single glimpse of the boy in the dream. The Malfoy here is all hardness and precision, sharp gazes and sharper words. In desperation you lurk outside the Slytherin common room in your invisibility cloak and spy for the password. You sneak in one evening and see them all together. Parkinson's head is in Draco's lap and Zabini hovers close by. Crabbe and Goyle flank him, as usual. They talk of inconsequential things, but you aren't there to listen for Slytherin secrets, anyway. They defer to him and you realize they hope desperately for him to protect them. When he finally steals away to his room you follow, because you have no idea where he sleeps.

You watch him sink to the edge of the bed and his face is etched with purest despair. For the first time you realize that he is exactly like you—a boy thrust into a position he wants no part of, with no hope but to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Unlike you, however, he is utterly alone. His friends cluster around him, seeking guidance and safety, but none can help to shoulder his burdens. He has no Ron and Hermione, no Dumbledore and Sirius, no ready band of Order members to hold him up when he feels to weary to go on. He tiredly starts to unbutton his shirt and you flee as the memory of his body threatens to overwhelm you. As you lean against the wall in the dark corridor, part of you denies what you have seen, because it was so much easier to hate him. Even now you hold on to the conviction that it was a trick. You were bound to delve into his mind eventually. It would be wise of Voldemort to set a trap for you.

You press your palms into your eyes and try to block out the horrible sadness of his expression. It haunts you more than the dream. The next day you go to see Dumbledore. There is one thing his dreams have left out, one thing his wildest imaginings failed to contemplate. He doesn't really know you, after all, and although the Harry of his dreams is flawed, it is not the same flaw possessed by the real Harry. Your real imperfection is that you hate to lose.

There is resistance to your plan, of course, but you aren't really a child any longer and they eventually listen to you. Sirius is the hardest to persuade, so you leave that to Dumbledore.

Finally you don your cloak once more and enter the Slytherin dungeons. This time it is nearing midnight. You murmur the password and pass through the empty common room. Your thoughts are surprisingly calm, despite the enormity of your intentions. You slip into his room and pull the curtain aside gently, pausing as your memory is assaulted. You remember pulling this same curtain with a plea in your voice and wretched agony in your heart.

You grit your teeth and fight it, trying to recall that it wasn't real. You can't help but pause, however, when you slip through the curtains and glance upward. No moon and stars shine above his bed; nothing is there but darkness. It seems wrong, somehow, and makes you sadder than it should.

You shut the curtains and cast a faint Lumos. He doesn't awaken. For the first time you see his face completely unguarded, shed of anger, malice, worry and fear. It suddenly strikes you that he is beautiful, something you never admitted despite the dream and your endless surveillance. He was never anything more than Malfoy, not really, but in that instant with his hair tousled like spun silver over the pillow and his thick lashes resting against his flawless cheeks, you realize that there is something untouchably pure about him. Something the Dark Mark and his father and Voldemort and even you have not been able to destroy.

You kneel against the bed and reach out a hand to brush the hair back from his cheek to tuck it behind his ear. The movement causes him to stir and you slide your hand down gently to cup his jaw. A hint of stubble rubs against your palm and you feel a flash of remorse to know that he has grown up. His lashes blink and then drift open. His skin shifts slightly beneath your hand as he gifts you with a smile you never imagined to see, even as a participant of his darkest dreams. The smile is open and honest and better than any fantasy. 'Harry,' he says gently and you realize he is still caught in the throes of his imagination. 'What are you doing here?" His hand reaches up and grasps your arm, but tenderly. He maneuvers it to his lips and presses a soft kiss against the pulse point of your wrist. Your eyes widen in surprise and his follow suit a moment later. Maybe your skin was salty or musky or merely the scent of you was nothing like his dreams, but in that instant he sees you and the window to his soul is open.

The shutters drop with a suddenness that is almost painful, slamming hard and closing you out, even though he doesn't move a muscle. Your hand still rests on his face and your wrist is close enough to feel his breath, except his breathing has stopped. Without looking you know he has gone rigid. Any moment now and he will move, fight you, force you into another losing confrontation.

'Wait,' you say and your tone seems to catch him off guard. His eyes narrow and he repeats his question, harshly this time, hissing a demand to know what you are doing in his bed. 'I'm kidnapping you,' is your flippant response and you grin as the shutters slide away with the weight of his astonishment. The Tempus Charm near the head of the bed counts down the moments and you drop a tattered Chocolate Frog card onto his chest. He doesn't even glance at it. His eyes are locked on yours in confusion as you move your hand from his jaw to take the one that is still loosely clasped about your wrist. You thread your fingers with his for a moment and squeeze tightly before placing his hand over the card.

You see a flicker in his eyes and know he contemplates any number of things, but you utter a word that stops whatever action he plans. "Draco," you say. He inhales sharply and you continue, feigning an assurance you wish you felt. "I'm saving you." The words seem like braggadocio and you stumble on, adding one reassurance before you press a rough kiss into his knuckles and release him. "Draco, I won't forget you." The Portkey sweeps him and his astonishment away.

You pull your cloak around yourself and leave his Hogwarts bed for the first and last time. The other Slytherins will be gone by morning, courtesy of the Order of the Phoenix. They would be spirited away, safe from Voldemort and his intention to use them as pawns in the upcoming war. Their parents would be contacted and offered a choice. By the end of the week, the ranks of the Death Eaters would be depleted and all of the burning snake and skull tattoos in the world would not bring them back. You know you have more determination than sense, but so far it has served you well. You plan to save him; and not just him, but all of them. All of them. But especially him.

And Draco… well you know he'll fight you with all the Slytherin bravado he can muster, but you also know he will fail because the fight is not his. It never was his. Maybe the two of you will never have the fairy tale story of his dreams, but at the very least you will have something. And that will be a start.