ETA: Edited 3/25/11

Okay. I have never written anything like this before... but it appeared in my head and I couldn't ignore it, literally could not. Spent the whole night and all of my classes thinking about it. And, well, here we are. It is... odd, jarring, confusing (even down to the writing style, but this is done purposefully) but I ended up really liking it.

Part of my Alternative Battle Series, Those That Move the World.

This is slash, by the way, so don't read it if that bothers you.

DISCLAIMER: I don't own Harry, Draco, or any other part of JKR's wonderful Harry Potter universe. I write only out of a love for the series and for the craft of story, not for monetary gain

There were no battle lines anymore.

No good or evil, black or white. All shades of grey, now, though you could sometimes make out flashes of color in the confused mess of spells and shields. Every man for himself, a free for all, no groups or armies or gangs. Alone, alone, alone. Ron and Hermione ran away to Australia- you can't blame them; she is pregnant. Of course Ginny would say that... Ginny and Neville and their stupid pact, they're gone too. Everyone is gone.

Even Voldemort is gone, and although it's been years- a year? Months? Weeks? Harry can't even remember how long this battle has been going on, let alone the war- he played his hand exactly right, placed just enough people in all the institutions so everything came crashing down with his demise. And no one can trust anyone else anymore, anything anymore... nothing to believe in, no friends or enemies...

A bang like a gunshot, a burst of light overhead, and Harry looks up to see the ceiling caving in, huge chunks of black granite falling, straight down. The starburst pattern from that green spell dancing before his eyes- better to focus on that since there's nothing he can do.

He lands in heap on the cold floor, but it's not a huge shard of rock pinning him down- it's something warm and soft, and probably heavy but the weight is resting around him, not really on him. The most curious thing... Now he's running, being pushed through a hole in the wall, down a hallway, two, four, it doesn't matter how many.

He stumbles inside and the door is slammed shut, locks click into place, but that's pointless, the door isn't reinforced and a single blast would blow the whole room to pieces anyway.

Lights come on overhead, flickering because the charms are wearing out, but it's more brightness than Harry's seen in days?, weeks?, and he hisses and squeezes his eyes shut, willing them to adjust.

He snaps them open again, and now he realizes there's someone else in the room with him, because they're standing right in front of him. Just standing, head slightly tilted to one side, lips pursed questioningly. Top half of his face covered by grimy hair, long and unkempt, bangs sweeping into his eyes. The white-blonde color is familiar, somehow, and Harry reaches his hand up to pull the curtain back and reveal grey eyes, calm and clear like a warm lake, not cold like steel.

And that does it, that's the last straw, Malfoy just standing there. Harry lunges forward, fists flying everywhere- he doesn't need his wand; he knows Malfoy is weak in magic just like all the others who managed to sever the Dark Mark's hold before it dragged them to hell with their master. So he uses his bare hands, now elbows, knees, feet.

But Malfoy isn't backing up; he's slowly moving forward, pushing towards the barrage of limbs, and Harry finds himself taking a step backwards, pausing for just the briefest of seconds, because this isn't what is supposed to be happening, this has to be a trick, somehow.

It is- Malfoy grabs his wrists and uses the weight of his body to back Harry up another step; his back is against the wall now. Malfoy raises Harry's hands above his head, pins them to the wall too, and Harry raises his eyes, defiant- there's blood in Malfoy's hair which must mean the throbbing in his own palm is from an open wound.

Harry gasps when Malfoy's lips touch his, gentle and soft. Barely a second and Malfoy pulls back, slacks his grip on Harry's wrists, stares into his eyes and it's all tension and electricity, but it's good.

Harry isn't used to good, not anymore. And that kiss was the best thing he'd felt in a while; it wasn't pain or exhaustion or Harry wants more of it, so much more. So he launches himself forward and tackles Malfoy, bringing him to the ground. And Malfoy doesn't resist when Harry attacks his mouth and nearly pulls a fistful of his long hair out by the roots. Harry's would be like that, too, if he hadn't shaved it all off a month -week? -year?- ago.

Malfoy's still not fighting back when Harry rips off his shirt, throws a leg over his hips, bites his lower lip so hard it starts bleeding, and that makes Harry angry too- he deserved at least some reaction, not this passive, silent stillness. He growls and plunges his tongue into Malfoy's mouth again, now lying fully on top of him, hands splayed on either side of his ribcage.

There, now Malfoy is moving- but it's just a hand, a slow, steady creep along the floor, not towards Harry but towards his own pocket. It comes away clutching a wand, but Harry can only think of one thing at that moment, and he wants it, needs it like air- he'll get it, too, he thinks, and sits up just enough so he can reach Malfoy's trousers.

A tingling in his palm, and Harry looks down, arm paused in midair. A soft glow and the skin around that deep gash is knitting back together. His eyes dart to Malfoy's face and the warm, assured grey greets him, unblinking, bags under his eyes and dirt coating his face and lip bleeding but still pulled into a soft smile and somehow it's the most beautiful thing Harry's ever seen.

Back to his palm- completely healed, now, not even a scar, but Malfoy's wand is limp in his hand; he used too much magic. And for Harry, only for Harry, he got no benefit from it, there was no need...

"Why?" Harry whispers, and his voice is hoarse from disuse.

The smile turns pitying now, and Malfoy's voice is so soft Harry can barely make it out through the noise of the battle outside the door. "Why not?"

Because it's every man for himself, because you look out for number one, because it's stupid to trust anyone else further than you can throw them. Because, because, because-

A small sigh from Malfoy, and his wand completely drops from his grasp, rolls away with a soft clatter. "You know, Potter. You know why."

He does? Harry blinks, utterly bewildered, mind struggling, and Malfoy laughs softly, breathlessly. But it's not right, there's something missing- the word mirth suddenly pops into Harry's head, and he tries to remember what that means, and another memory bursts forth, Malfoy laughing properly at some joke someone- not Harry- told. It's a comforting sound- and sight, now; there's a smile accompanying this laugh, and it turns Draco's cheeks a pleasant pink color. It's familiar, somehow, this memory...

It's itching in the back of his brain, prodding, trying to drag something forward... something he once knew, but forgot... Harry's eyes widen as it hits him, this precious thing has been missing for the days-weeks-months-years he's been fighting. It was why he started fighting in the first place, so very long ago... but he can't think of what it is...

Malfoy smiles again, and his eyes flutter closed, and now Harry's heart starts to race, panic and fear that has nothing to do with the chaos outside. "No... no..." he murmurs. "No..."

And Malfoy's trying, he really is, Harry can tell, he's fighting his hardest but it's not working, won't work because the magic is gone, gone. Gone because he'd used it all on Harry's hand, gone because of that impulse to be kind, that desire to help, from compassion- odd word; Harry hadn't thought about it, since it didn't exist in his world...

"Don't... please..." Harry reaches out to stroke Malfoy's cheek, tries to brush away some of the dirt. "Please."

Malfoy manages to move his hand, just a fraction, but Harry sees it and latches on, locking his fingers with Malfoy's, trying to hold him there. And Malfoy squeezes, just once, but it's sure and strong, and it awakens that something Harry had all but forgotten about, and he knows what it is, now, that caused Malfoy to save him, to heal him, to kiss him- knows because he feels it too, now, and it's scary but exhilarating and it is good, undeniably good.

"I love you... please..." Harry doesn't know what else to say. "I love you... I'll do anything..."

Malfoy's eyes open again, and they aren't calm anymore, but a fierce grey, stormy and all the more compelling. "You know what you have to do."

And he hears the next four words spoken twice, simultaneously, but as if from different bodies, both in Malfoy's voice, but one is accompanied by a breath of air on his ear and a soft sob. "Please wake up, Harry."

He takes a deep breath and does just that.