Draco woke screaming, his body feeling as if it was being torn asunder, magic burning lashes across sensitive flesh, leaving invisible cuts everywhere. Faintly, he registered other screams and realized that he wasn't the only one suffering. Harry!
Still, it was impossible for him to go to his friend's side, to do anything but writhe in absolute agony, screaming and flailing against something he could not touch, could not block, and could not fight. His covers twisted around him, trying to ensnare his limbs until Draco fell off the bed, landing with a solid thump on the floor of his bedroom.
The short drop knocked the breath from him, and his screams were cut off momentarily. In that brief moment of silence, Draco realized two things. First, Harry was still screaming, but so was Severus. Secondly, whatever was hurting them wasn't malicious. In fact, it felt almost like a…oh. A counter curse.
Draco would have cursed, would have smacked Harry, would have done a lot of things, but the power crashed over him, overwhelming him in agony. All he could feel, could think about, was pain. Pain, pain, pain, painpainpainpain! For an eternity, his world consisted of nothing but the singular torture of a deadly curse being reversed, undone.
At some point, he became aware of a bitter, metallic taste flooding his mouth, and managed to turn his head enough to the side to avoid choking on his own blood. His body twisted in and around itself, the pain more severe and longer lasting than any Cruciatus curse he had ever experienced. A small part of him had registered that the screaming in the other room had stopped, and that there were voices surrounding him, calling his name, hands touching him.
He flinched at the touches, crying out as he writhed, curling in on himself, tears and blood pooling beneath him as the magic wreaked havoc on his body. But Severus and Harry were safe. They were okay, and that was what mattered the most. With that reassurance, Draco finally succumbed to the pain that wracked his body with shudders and lost consciousness, his body twitching as the magic continued to run over him, reversing the effects of a curse that had never been cast on him.
When Draco awoke next, he was in a bed, though he didn't know which room. His eyes still closed, he took inventory of his body. Other than a few dull aches and pains, he appeared to be mostly in good health. Slowly, he began to make sense of his surroundings and the things happening around him.
Warm hands were petting him almost frantically, brushing across his forehead and down his cheeks, running through the blond strands. Another set of hands was holding his wrist, checking his pulse, while a low voice murmured incantations. Draco groaned, and the hands stilled, which made him frown, forcing his eyes to open. The deep burgundy canopy above his head let him know that he was in Harry's room, rather than his own. Then again, he supposed his room was probably still a bit of a mess, the floor probably covered in blood and other bodily fluids.
Grimacing, Draco tried to push himself up; he wanted a shower. Two sets of hands pushed him back down, and he growled, reaching up to shove at them halfheartedly. Harry and Severus ignored his feeble struggles and pinned him to the bed until he gave up, slumping back into the covers sulkily, his body throbbing dully from the exertion.
"Stay down, Draco, please," Harry murmured, leaning over Draco and pressing his forehead against the other boy's. "You had us so worried," he mumbled, his eyes wide and afraid. Draco smiled weakly up at him, reaching up a slender hand and cupping Harry's cheek. Emerald eyes softened, the body poised above his relaxing.
"It looks like you'll recover just fine," Severus' voice startled both boys, and Harry pulled back as Draco turned his head to scowl up at the other man. Severus just raised an elegant eyebrow, though his dark eyes were worried as well, searching his. Draco felt the inquiry, and relaxed, permitting the more invasive magic as Severus dug deeper, performing a full-body scan. Draco waited patiently for the several minutes it took, Harry a nervous, tense presence at his side.
Draco flicked his eyes to Harry and sighed. "I'm fine, so would you please stop worrying? I don't need you to play mother hen," he frowned. Harry flinched and backed up about two steps. "Bloody hell!" Draco snapped, furious. His friend grimaced and went to back up more, but Draco snapped out a hand and grabbed his wrist. "That's not what I meant. I don't mind you being here. I just don't want you worrying about me. I'm fine, okay? Really," he reassured the other man, his voice gentling towards the end.
Harry bit his lower lip and glanced up at Severus, checking with him before moving a step closer. Draco closed his eyes to cover the hurt he was too tired to hide. Harry's gesture had done nothing more than confirm what Draco already knew; even without the spell, Harry's heart belonged to Severus, and the same was true for the other man. Draco knew that, but it still hurt to have it be so blatantly obvious.
"I'm sorry," Harry blurted out, but Draco didn't open his eyes. He didn't want to see the apology in his friend's eyes, didn't want to see Severus' gentle frown or the mild reprimand in his eyes. In truth, he just wanted them both to go away. He had survived the night, as had they, and he couldn't feel that thrice-damned curse eating away at Harry's life and magic anymore. He wondered idly how they had found the solution, and why it hadn't required more research, but he'd ask later, when he had better control over himself.
Long, cool fingers brushed his hair off his forehead, before settling there, their familiar, comforting touch the last thing Draco wanted right then. "That book, the one with the lines," he murmured, his words soft and low. "It was written in Parseltongue, which is why you couldn't read it. Harry saw it and recognized the signs. He read the book and found the curse. It must have been something that Voldemort found years ago, when he was still a student. When we questioned Dobby, he said that it had been in the Malfoy family vault. What made you check there?" he asked, his curiosity evident.
Draco shook his head. "I didn't," he murmured hoarsely. When the other two wizards made an inquiring sound, he smiled grimly. "I just asked Dobby to look in the Hogwarts library for any books that might contain the information I needed, spells and curses from Merlin's time. No doubt that book was part of the Restricted Section at one time, and when he called them all, I'm sure he got more than were actually in the library at the time." He smiled, imagining surprised people as books flew out of their hands or disappeared from their homes, summoned by a mysterious magic.
"I see," murmured Severus, his hand sliding away from Draco's forehead, so that he keenly felt its loss. He could feel the Potions Master's intense gaze on his face and fought the urge to turn away from him, because then he'd be facing Harry, which wouldn't make things any better. With a sigh, he squirmed further down into the covers.
Yawning, he muttered, "I'm tired, and I still hurt. Please, can this wait until later? I'm obviously not dying, no matter how wretched I feel, or how much damage that bloody counter-curse did while reversing the effects, so let me sleep," he growled out tiredly, but his body remained tense, painfully aware of the other two wizards in the room with him. He felt no obligation to leave Harry's room, since they had put him in here in the first place.
"I'm sorry," Harry murmured again, softer this time, and Draco frowned. What was he apologizing for? Not giving him warning about the spell before casting? Not including him in preparations? Trying to kill himself in the first place? Or perhaps just for not noticing what Draco hadn't wanted him to see? In which case, he was being stupid, and Draco was going to have to smack him.
Draco felt Harry move over him as Severus gave a small, noncommittal grunt. Before he could open his eyes and shove the other boy away, warm lips brushed against his own, just the briefest of touches. Once, twice, followed by a firmer press of lips, and Draco Malfoy found himself being kissed by the Savior of the wizarding world, whose lover just happened to be standing next to them.
His eyes had snapped open in shock at the first touch of their mouths, and now his hands joined the mix, one pushing at Harry's shoulder, while the other fisted in his shirt, unsure of whether he was pushing to other boy away or drawing him closer. Without any input from his brain, Draco found himself surrendering with a groan, opening his mouth under Harry's unexpected assault.
Part of him was aware that Severus was still standing there, and was absolutely mortified, but the larger part of him simply didn't care. This was what he had wanted, some acknowledgment that he was wanted, that he was desirable, that Harry loved him back, even if not as a true lover. Any type of love would be enough; Draco fought hard to convince himself.
Harry must've felt the struggle going on in his head, because he pulled back from the kiss a moment later, his eyes bright and his lips swollen from their kiss. Draco had no doubt he looked the same, and he felt his face heat up in embarrassment and shame. He hadn't meant to lose it like that, to respond back to the kiss, to give in so completely.
Sudden movement from his right made him cringe, flinching away from the expected blow. Instead, Severus just leaned over him and brushed dry lips over his forehead before trailing them down over his closed eyes and nose, across his cheeks, until they, too, pressed against his mouth, kissing him gently and coaxing his own lips to open. Unsure of what was happening, the entire situation surreal and completely impossible, Draco opened his mouth to the probing kiss, figuring that if he was dreaming, then he might as well enjoy it. And if this was real, well, he'd just have to deal with the fallout when it inevitable came around.
Severus kept the kiss gentle, almost chaste, the complete opposite of Harry's passionate kiss. Giving in, Draco reached up and wrapped his arms around the Potions Master's neck, leaving them to rest there while he enjoyed the languid kiss. When Severus finally pulled back, Draco's body had relaxed, his eyes half-lidded as he gazed up at them in wonder.
Two hands reached out and combed through his hair, stopping almost in tandem to scratch lightly behind his ears, making him melt, practically purring. He didn't know what he had done to deserve his greatest wish coming true, but he just hoped he didn't mess it up. And he had kissed Severus, too, an unexpected, but entirely welcome surprise.
"We love you, Draco. We do," Harry murmured, still scratching fingers lightly through Draco's hair, lightly untangling the knots from his earlier thrashing. "So please, don't do something like that again. Don't take everybody's pain into yourself. Don't use your body so recklessly, like something that can be thrown away. You're irreplaceable, Draco. You always have been."
Draco fought back the tears, keeping his eyes closed as he swallowed, afraid to see what was in Harry's eyes right at that moment. A deeper, smoother voice broke into his train of thoughts. "You're not alone, precious dragon," Severus murmured, his childhood nickname slipping off his tongue easily, with a familiarity that nearly broke Draco's heart. "We're here for you. We always have been. Even if we seemed wrapped up in each other most of the time," he offered, a smile in his voice.
"Perhaps we relied too heavily on you," Severus muttered out loud, as if he was thinking to himself. "You were always there for Harry, and for me, and we just took it for granted." Harry made a sound of agreement on his right, and before Draco realized what was happening, the other boy was under the covers with him, snuggling up against his side, his body warm and healthy and comforting.
Severus chuckled. "I see that you're both quite tired. I'll let you rest for a while until dinnertime. Perhaps Dobby will know what to fix for you." With that, he went to leave, but Draco reached out, snagging the sleeve of his robes. Severus turned back to him, and then answered the question he must've seen. "Do not worry yourself, please. Neither of us do anything we don't want to do. You know that," he chastised gently.
Nodding mildly, Draco watched as Severus turned and left, apparently satisfied. As soon as the door clicked behind him, Harry spoke up. "He's right, you know. We wouldn't have kissed you if we didn't want to," he murmured, his own voice slurred with sleep.
"But you apologized," Draco pointed out. "To Severus. You apologized. I fail to see how that makes what both of you did willing." He couldn't say it, couldn't force the word past the wedge lodged in his throat, suffocating him. Warm hands petted over his arms and sides, and Harry shifted, making himself more comfortable.
"I was apologizing because I was taking the first kiss," Harry grinned impishly, more awake now. "And because I couldn't wait any longer. Severus wanted to wait until you were healed, so that you were aware of what we were offering when we asked. But I thought kissing you would be quicker," he added.
Draco blinked, surprise. "How long?" he demanded, his voice harsher than he had intended. When Harry just stared at him in bewilderment, he clarified. "How long had you been considering me like that? Because, if you did it just recently, while I was sick, then I don't want any part of it." That wasn't really true, because he'd take what he could get, but he knew it would hurt much, much worse if he got a taste and then got discarded by the two wizards.
Harry shook his head emphatically. "I've wanted you since I woke up from that coma and realized what you'd done for me. You saved my life, when you had no reason to," Harry murmured, his voice filled with a type of innocent wonder. "No, you didn't," he stopped Draco from protesting with sharp words and a glare, and Draco's argument died in his throat. Staring blankly at some point on the far wall, Harry murmured dazedly, "I grew to love Severus, yes, but I knew that it was because of you that I was still alive. And when I realized what you were doing for me, when Severus finally helped me to put the pieces together, I finally understood that you would have died for me, if it would keep me alive."
"But, more importantly than knowing that you would die for me," Harry continued speaking, seeming unable to stop now that he had started, "was the fact that you fought it. You fought the curse constantly, gave me strength and health and magic, leaving hardly enough for yourself, and still you fought. You struggled to live, Draco, because you knew that dying for me wasn't what I wanted. You would fight not to leave me, because leaving me would have killed me, and you couldn't have born that, could you have?" he asked, his voice and eyes serious as he stared at Draco.
The blond sighed and shook his head, his hair scattering across their shared pillow. "You had lost all your friends," he spoke quietly, afraid to say such damning words any louder than a whisper. "I might have been a poor replacement, but I wanted to do my best by you. And doing my best meant not dying. Besides," he smiled at the other boy, "I'm a Malfoy. We're notoriously stubborn and conceited, you know. There was no way that curse could have overcome my ego."
Harry laughed, then, really laughed, and Draco smiled. Testing the waters, he pulled Harry closer with his right arm. The other boy came willingly, throwing one leg over his and pressing up against his body, so that they shared body heat in a long line down their bodies where they touched. Sighing, his warm breath ticked Draco's throat, and soon thereafter, both boys were fast asleep, unaware of the dark eyes keeping watch over them, satisfied at last. Finally, they were all where they were meant to be.
Glancing outside, Severus Snape grinned. With a quick wave of his wand, he sent the leaf piles scattering in every direction. When the boys woke up, they could go out and play again. Turning, Severus headed down the hallway, content to let the two boys sort themselves out for now. After all, he'd get his turn. He always did.