It was still dark when I woke early the next morning. Beneath me, Draco slept on, with his arms and legs wrapped around me. I began to lightly kiss his face, hoping not to wake him. When he did wake, however, it didn't take very long for me to realize that it wasn't necessarily my kisses that had woken him. Throughout the night we had somehow managed not to move at all and I found that I was still buried within him. It was my cock that woke him, as it had begun to expand up further inside him as I became increasingly aroused by the feel of his flesh beneath my skin and my lips.

A gasp from Draco alerted me to the fact that he had woken.

"I'm sorry. I didn't realize we were still...connected," I muttered as I began to pull out of him.

"No, no, please stay there... please."

Moans like whispers came from Draco's throat as Draco and I rocked slowly together in a sleepy, unhurried fashion. It seemed the most perfect way to wake up, completely surrounded by Draco. In the darkness, with his arms and legs wrapped around me and with myself deep within him, and the sleepy state I was in, I honestly felt as though I didn't know where I ended and he began.

When I felt myself near my climax I reached my hand between us to help Draco along. I didn't think that at the slow pace we were going at that he could be able to come untouched, and I wanted the two of us to come together. I tried not to let myself release until I felt the splash of Draco's semen against my chest, then I filled Draco with my own, so he and I could ride the waves of our orgasm together.

"Mmm.... I love you," Draco whispered into my neck.

I whispered the same as I pulled out and knelt beside him. I realized with a silent laugh that Draco was already falling back to sleep, exhausted from our pre-dawn exertions.

As I watched Draco sleeping, looking so vulnerable as he curled towards me, searching for my warmth, I could not help but think over what I had learned from Snape the night before concerning my lover. I knew what it was like for people to want me dead, but I couldn't comprehend what it must be like for me own family and housemates to wish that on me.

- But they cannot possibly all want him dead, can they? - I pondered to myself.

I looked down at Draco's face as he slept; he looked like a child. I knew that, like myself, that was far from the truth. Fearing for one's life makes one grow up very quickly.

A thought suddenly occurred to me, though. Draco can't possibly be wanted dead by everyone; he had to have some friends who were still loyal to him. How could the whole house be so corrupt? I simply couldn't believe it.

I cast a cleaning spell on him before carefully placing a kiss on his lips and pulling the blanket up to his chin.

"I'll be back shortly," I whispered, just in case he was awake.

I quickly threw my clothes back on and slipped my wand into my sleeve. I hoped to be able to trust the Slytherins, but only a fool would trust a stranger with his life.

Slipping out of Draco's room, I made my way towards the Seventh year dormitories. Looking around I could see five beds. Judging by the volume of the snoring I guessed that the two beds on the far right belonged to Crabbe and Goyle. The initials on their trunks confirmed my suspicion. I decided that I'd try talking to Goyle; he always seemed like he was slightly smarter than Crabbe.

Pushing back the curtains I found that he was quite asleep.

"Goyle, wake up."

His confusion at being woken up before six in the morning by me was clearly marked on his face.

"I need to talk to you."

He just stared at me as if I were the tooth Fairy come to knock his front teeth out.

"Are you actually awake?"

He nodded slowly, up and down.

"It's about Draco, Goyle. I need to know if you will stand by him. Is it all right if we talk in private?"

The snores in the other beds were becoming less steady and I wasn't prepared to deal with a whole room of potentially non morning Slytherins.

Goyle still seemed only slightly less confused, but he managed to get out of bed and throw his dressing gown on.

"Come on, follow me," he grunted.

Surprised by the ounce of civility I received so far from him, I followed him as he led me down the hall and into a shower room.

"This is the first year's showers. We won't be interrupted here; they never wash themselves. So what is this about?"

For some time I completely forgot myself and could only stare at Goyle, who had just spoken more words strung in a row than I remembered him speaking our entire time at Hogwarts so far.

"Well as I said it's about Draco. I assume you are aware of the circumstances surrounding him and his father?"

"Sure. Most of the Slytherins know as far as I'm aware."

"Well I need to know if you're willing to stand by him or if you'd just as soon stab him in the back."

"Christ, Potter. I may be a Slytherin, but I'd never stab Draco in the back. Sure there are quite a few who would, but those of us who stood by him in first year stand by him now."

"Do you swear?"

"Yes, I swear. I happen to respect Draco for what he did, so do a lot of us. His father's no better than a piece of shit. Turning his back on him even when he knew it meant at the very least loosing his inheritance was the bravest thing Draco ever did. I'm not saying that everyone thinks that way. You were clever to want to talk to me in private; there are at least two guys in the room back there who wouldn't think twice about betraying Draco. I'm not sure about Zabini, though. He didn't take sides during the war, but he's the type who would sell his own mother for a new pair of shoes."

"What about Crabbe?"

"Vince? He's cool. Look, if it would help I can give you a list of people you can definitely trust."

"My God, that would be awesome."

"How about you and Draco sit with Vince and I at Breakfast and I can point out those I know will support Draco. There's actually a lot of talking that goes on behind his back. There are very few, including myself, who've been willing to openly stand up for Draco. Most people are honest with me, though, when I get them away from the crowd."

"Goyle, I never thought I'd have an opportunity to say this in my life, but I'm glad we had this conversation."

"Sure thing, and call me Greg. And by the way, I'm glad you two finally figured it out. Draco had been mooning something fierce recently."

"Don't let him hear you say that. By the way, that other day, when Draco knocked you out in potions, what did you say to him?"

"Just that," Goyle said with a laugh. "I accused him of mooning."

"Heh, I'd be shocked by his behavior, but as I recall, I was a right proper asshole to Hermione when she accused me of being in love."

"Well, as long as you two finally got together. But if you break up with him, I'm breaking your neck. A lovesick Draco is hard enough to deal with; I don't want to see him heartbroken."

"Don't worry, Greg, I'd sooner kill myself."

Walking away from that conversation I have to say I was completely stunned. I couldn't believe that Goyle could be such a lucid, intelligent person. But then again, I had never known that Draco Malfoy would be the love of my life.

As I entered Draco's room, I assumed he was still asleep, so I slipped out of my clothes as quietly as I could and sneaked back into bed beside him.

"Where were you?" he asked as soon as I slipped my arm around him.

"I was having a conversation with your friend Goyle."

"What? Why? Since when are you friends with him?"

"Since now. He's been talking to a few people, so this morning at breakfast, he's going to point out who we can consider our friends and who we should steer clear of."

"You're going to eat breakfast at the Slytherin table?" Draco asked, turning around in my arms to look me in the eye.

"Yes, with you and Greg and 'Vince.'"

Draco snickered. "I don't even call them Greg and Vince. Since when are you on nickname basis with them?"

"Oh, well I don't really know about Crabbe, but Goyle told me to call him Greg. What do you call them?"

"Gregory and Vincent, those are their names," Draco answered with a shrug.

"Well, I'm glad you don't call me Harold, that's all I can say."

"Harold? Yes I guess it would be, wouldn't it? I don't see you as a Harold. I don't know, I've always had a bit of a prejudice against nicknames. I hate it when people call me 'Drake' or even worse, 'Drakey.'"

"Well as long as you promise never to call me Harold, I'll always just call you Draco."

"Deal. I still don't really get why you went to talk to Gregory, though."

"I told you, he's going to be our intermediary. The first rule of being wanted dead is to find out who's on your side and who's not. So he's going to help us in that department. He evidently has connections."

"Gregory is going to help us? I'm surprised he'd even be willing to talk to me after how I've treated him recently."

"He seems to have gotten over it. I was just telling him that I had also been pretty mean to Hermione when she accused me of being in love."

"Oh my God, he didn't tell you that, did he? What kind of loyalty is that?"

"The best kind, from what I can see. Any friend who can forgive you for knocking him unconscious just because he accused you of mooning is a friend you should keep. He told me, by the way, that if I break up with you, he's breaking my neck."

"Shit. That's loyalty, I guess."

"Yep. That's the kind of guy you definitely want on your side."

"Are we done talking about Gregory, then?"

"Well, yeah, I guess. Why?"

"Cause we still have plenty of time before we need to get out of bed," Draco responded with a lascivious grin as he rolled over on top of me. "And I thought it might be fun to have sex now that I'm fully awake. As much as I really loved waking up that way."

"Yeah, and maybe you'll stay awake this time."

"That is entirely unfair," Draco said with a pout. "I stayed awake for the sex part."

"And what do I have to do to keep you awake the rest of the day when we're not having sex?"

"I don't know, maybe you'll just have to make it more interesting."

"What do you mean? Like this?" I asked as I grabbed hold of his slender hips and pulled him up towards me, forcing him to sit up straddling my chest. Draco soon got the idea and moved even closer so that I could wrap my mouth around his dick.

"Mmm, yes. I think that I could manage to stay awake as long as there was more of this."

In a flash of considerable agility, Draco twisted his body around to be facing the other direction and took me into his mouth as well. Our muffled moaning was all that could be heard coming from the room for quite some time.

* * *

Breakfast was an interesting affair. I could definitely see why Draco had spent so many years flanked on either side by Greg and Vince. It was a very comfortable place to be. If anyone even looked at us funny, they would crack their knuckles and the perpetrator would cringe in fear.

Greg spent most of the morning discretely pointing out those we could trust and even more discretely pointing out those we couldn't. Quite often, it was quite surprising. I'd thought, for example, that Pansy Parkinson would have been bitterly resentful towards Draco for not dating her, but she was evidently quite loyal to him.

"Well, they never were an item. I mean, it would have helped if at least one of them fancied the opposite sex."

"You're shitting me?"

"No, Pansy's a total dyke. I always thought it was kind of obvious."

"But she was always hanging all over the guys. I was sure she was straight."

"So you never noticed that all the guys she hung out with were gay? She's kept away from the straight guys like the plague. Vince once had to stay in the infirmary for three days after he tried to hit on her. But she's always had a soft spot for Draco. I think they might be second cousins or something."

Those who Greg told us to stay away from were sometimes even more surprising.

"That little kid?"

"Yeah, seriously, stay away from him."

"He looks like a first year."

"He is a first year. His father and mother both got sent to Azkaban because of Draco and both received the Dementor's kiss just last week."

"Poor kid."

"Don't feel sorry him. His parents were psychotic. They ate Muggles."

"But that doesn't necessarily mean that he's messed up too. I mean look at Draco's father. He's totally deranged, but there's nothing wrong with Draco."

"Just trust me, Harry, this kid is messed up; you don't want to cross his path."

There seemed to be an awful lot of kids who's parents ended up in Azkaban because of Draco. Not all of them held it against Draco, though.

"Some of these kids are just like Draco and have been beaten for years; they're glad to see their fathers gone. I'm sure I'm glad."

"Your father's in Azkaban too?"

"Yeah. I hope he gets the Dementor's kiss, too. The bastard deserves it."

"Did he beat you?"

"No, my mom."

Greg didn't seem to have anything left to say on that topic, though. Despite all I had heard, there was one thing that kept bugging me. I didn't understand why it was that there were so many of these kid's parents sent to Azkaban when Draco's own father was still free. I didn't think Greg was the right person to ask that, though. Nor did breakfast seem the right place to ask. I made a mental note to ask Draco at a better time.

Halfway through breakfast, Draco nudged me and pointed towards the entrance. Ron had just come down. He looked like complete shit and his eyes were clearly red from crying and most likely lack of sleep. I saw both Hermione and Seamus try to get his attention, but he ignored them both, sitting at the far end of the table by himself. He hadn't talked to me at all since Draco and I came out and I now wasn't sure if he had talked to anyone at all.

"I'm not sure whether I should feel sorry for him or pissed at him," Draco whispered in my ear.

In response I sent a queried look at Draco.

"I mean, I know he's your friend and all, but I think that he's being a complete ass hole. Sure it looks like he's honestly upset, but how much of his pain is self inflicted? He doesn't have to stay mad at you. He's doing that by choice."

"I guess it came as a double shock to him. He's still upset about Hermione not wanting to date him. He was quite in love with her."

"I don't think she was the only one he was in love with."

I turned my head in surprise. It wasn't Draco who had spoken; it was Greg.

"What do you mean by that?"

"I mean that if he's taking your dating Draco this badly, chances are he had strong feelings for you too, even if it was only subconscious."

"I bet he's right," Draco agreed. "Sure he hates me and that's a blow to him, but the way he's acting it really does look like he had feelings for you that were more than that of a friend."

"Shit. What am I supposed to do about that?"

"I don't think there's anything you can do, love. You've just got to give him time."

I felt miserable thinking that I might have broken my best friend's heart like that, but I was consoled when Draco kissed my cheek tenderly. I was happy to have Draco, but part of me was still feeling Ron's pain along with him. He hadn't done anything so bad in his life to deserve him being so poorly treated in love.

During the classes that day I constantly had to reassure myself that Draco was safe while Greg and Vince were around him. If it weren't for them I knew I would have worried myself to death every time I had a class apart from Draco, which was most of the day. I tried more than once to talk to Ron, but he continued to ignore me and everyone else. I could see that Seamus was equally upset by Ron's behavior, as Ron continually rejected Seamus' concern. During most of the day I sat with Hermione, who was one of the few Gryffindors who seemed genuinely happy for me and Draco.

During Care of Magical Creatures I tried to casually inquire whether she was in a relationship with anyone, but she quickly blew off the question. I wasn't exactly sure what to make of it, but her skills in changing the topic forbade me asking again.

* * *

As soon as my last class was over, I practically ran to the dungeons to meet with Draco. Every second away from him honestly felt like a lifetime. We chose to do our homework in his room that night, rather than in the Slytherin commons room, which had explosive results the night before.

As we practically lay in each other's laps while doing our studies a large black hawk with a note tied to his left leg flew in the window and alighted on Draco's book. The reaction in Draco was immediate. His entire body stiffened, I could tell, with fear. Whatever this bird was terrified him.

"It's Father's," he barely whispered.

I wasn't sure what to do. Draco showed no signs of intending to open the letter, or even touch the large bird.

"Do you want me to open it for you, love?"

"No… I'll do it."

As soon as Draco untied the note the hawk flew away, much to my own relief. I looked away from receding figure of the hawk back to Draco who had already opened the note. His face had gone deathly pale.

To be continued…