Chapter 5 - Because It Was Right
'Was that really wise?' Jacques asked before Lucius could even open his mouth.
Lucien shrugged. 'It seemed like a good idea at the time.'
'What on earth were you thinking?' Lucius burst out, unable to stay silent a moment longer.
'Now, Lucius.' Claudius began but Lucien beat him to it.
'He's drowning.' Lucien snapped harshly. 'He's drowning and you can't even see it. Have you even talked to him? Not about Draco and Riddle; but about him? About how he really feels?'
'Of course I've talked to him.' Lucius retorted.
'Lucien.' Jacques Lestrelle's voice was commanding enough to silence even Lucius and the teenager turned to his great grandfather. 'Tell me why?'
Lucien knew better than to disobey. 'Aunt Narcissa was right, Grandfather. Harry needs someone. I know I'm playing a dangerous game, and I know it could backfire on me, but I believe that deep down Harry knows I'm not Draco. I believe he will take the comfort I've offered him and use it just to keep him grounded long enough to kill Tom Riddle. I believe it will be the one thing that will keep him from sacrificing himself in the end.'
'Have any of you thought that maybe Harry belongs with Draco, wherever that may be.' Snape said quietly.
'SEVERUS!' Lucius all but thundered.
'Severus, please.' Narcissa breathed.
'Harry is not ready to leave yet.' Jacques said firmly. 'There is much he has to learn and I believe he knows that. Lucien,' He went on, turning to his great grandson. 'I am trusting you not to let this get out of hand. You must make sure that Harry is aware of who you are at all times. He may find comfort in your company but he is never to be allowed to believe that you are Draco. Do you understand?'
Lucien glanced at the others in the room before nodding. 'Yes, grandfather.' He promised and Jacques gave him one of those smiles that always made him feel special, as if he'd done something to please the old man.
'I still don't like it.' Lucius snapped folding his arms over his chest.
'DRAY!' Harry screamed several hours later, sitting up and retching violently. He hadn't had a nightmare about Draco's death in more than a month.
'Shhh, Harry. It's alright.' Lucien's gentle voice came from beside him as the teenager banished the mess and carefully pushed the sweaty hair back off Harry's face.
'No, it's me, Lucien.'
'Lucien.' Harry breathed before resting his head on the older boy's shoulder.
'Do you want to talk about it?' Lucien asked softly.
Harry shook his head. 'Definitely not.' he breathed.
Lucien waited a moment. 'Alright, do you think you can get back to sleep?'
Harry nodded slowly. 'Yes.' he whispered pulling away and laying back down. 'Thank you.'
Lucien patted Harry's shoulder gently before moving back through the connecting door to the room Narcissa had moved him to only hours before.
Harry grew much stronger over the next few days, as if using the anchor Lucien provided to damp down his always roiling emotions and help him concentrate. Snape, Narcissa and his teachers were pleased, only Lucius fought them tooth and nail.
'You're letting him live in a dream world.' He snapped.
'Well at least he's living.' Lucien retorted, turning away at a signal from his grandfather.
'You didn't see him after.' Lucius growled. 'You didn't see him fall apart and have to try and put him back together. You didn't see what loosing Draco cost his soul.' The elder Malfoy also turned away. 'I don't think he could go through that again.'
'And we're not asking him to.' Jacques said quietly.
'I saw you.' Lucius spun again fixing Lucien with a glare Snape would have been proud of. 'I saw you two by the lake. I saw you running your fingers through his hair, letting him rest on his shoulder, holding his hand.'
'I was comforting him.' Lucien returned. It was true, Harry had been seeking comfort and Lucien had given it.
'Is that what it's called, because it looked a lot more intimate than that to me.'
'Lucius.' Claudius broke in, knowing from childhood that if he let his older brother continue this rant it would go on forever. 'There is only ten days left before Harry faces the Dark Lord, after that we can be concerned about healing his heart and his soul. If we let him lose focus again now there might be nothing left to heal.'
Narcissa sucked in a sharp breath. 'Lucius.' she whispered anxiously.
Lucius looked at those gathered in the room before letting out and exasperated sigh and nodding slowly. 'Fine, but I still believe we are all making a grave miscalculation in judgment.'
'Happy Birthday, Harry.' Lucien murmured as he came up behind him and wrapped his arms around the younger man's shoulders. They had spent many hours together over the last two weeks and Harry was now just as comfortable in Lucien's presence as he had been in Draco's.
His training was finished, there was nothing more that Harry could do or learn or practice. Tonight, by the light of the waning moon he would summon Peter Pettigrew and demand the payment of the outstanding debt. Tonight, Tom Riddle would face Harry and one of them would be victorious. Harry knew, without a shadow of a doubt that it would be him.
'Harry?' Lucien spoke again when he'd received no response.
Harry smiled and leant back into the embrace. 'Hey.'
'Are you nervous?'
Harry snorted. 'Of what, facing Riddle, or of my not so surprise, surprise party?'
'Mum and Narcissa just thought it might take your mind off tonight.' Lucien said sheepishly.
Harry snorted again. 'Not likely.'
Lucien released Harry slowly and turned him until he could see into the green eyes. 'Are you sure I can't accompany you?'
Harry closed his eyes and shook his head. 'No. I can't stand the thought of anything happening to you again.' He whispered. Lucien felt his heart freeze at the final word.
'Harry, I'm not Draco.' he said softly causing Harry's head to whip up.
The older man saw Harry's eyes widen slightly before he grinned sheepishly. 'I know you're not. I was talking about the accident in training yesterday.' He offered quickly but Lucien just as quickly saw through the lie and sighed.
'Sometimes I just don't know what to do, Harry.' He whispered, reaching out and pulling the dark haired figure tightly to him.
'Happy Birthday, Harry!' This greeting was yelled by eleven overly cheerful voices as Lucien led him into the dining room just before lunch. Harry looked surprised at first but after a scolding from Narcissa, admitted that he had known but that he was very grateful anyway. This seemed to appease both Malfoy women as they quickly installed him at the head of the table and called for the meal.
Harry had to admit that the food was delicious. The conversation was slightly stilted but no mention was made of the events to take place later that day. After they were finished they all moved to the study and began piling many gifts on a very embarrassed Harry.
Narcissa had bought him a stunning dress robe, made of the finest silk. 'For the celebrations when this is all over.' she said softly and Harry swallowed and nodded.
From Claudius and Evelyn he received a self updating book on duelling techniques.
Sabrina and Eloise gave him a charmed crown of white roses that Sabrina had woven together and Eloise had charmed to stay ever fresh. It was only looking at them closely that Harry could tell they had come from the bush that sheltered Draco's ashes. He felt tears come to his eyes and he quickly wiped them away. 'Thank you.' He said hoarsely.
'Hey, how about ours?' Laurent said loudly, placing a parcel so delicately in Harry's lap that he was almost loathe to open it. He glanced up at the twins who were staring back at him eagerly. His gaze then moved to Lucius who waved his wand over the present before declaring it safe, much to the consternation of Laurent and Ludivine and the amusement of everyone else. Harry gingerly peeled back the wrapping to see what looked to be a miniature Quidditch pitch complete with opposing teams made entirely out of toothpicks. Harry watched in wonder for several moments before noticing the colour of the conjured hair on each of the team's seekers and smiling. 'It's wonderful, thank you very much.'
'I helped too.' Henri piped up and Harry laughed softly as the twins rolled their eyes.
'Well, thank you as well, Henri.'
Lucius moved forward next and presented him with a large parcel that was so heavy it had to be placed on the table and Harry had to stand up to open. When he pulled back the wrapping he knew instantly what they were.
Of the most powerful kind.
Made from the hide of a Hungarian Horntail and imbued with probably every protective spell known to wizardkind judging by the sheer energy that was radiating off them. When Harry looked up it was to see Lucius looking back at him with an almost ferocious expression of pride on his face.
'You will be returning to us.' The head of the Malfoy family vowed and Harry couldn't do anything else but nod.
The last present was from Jacques, and Snape, surprisingly. Harry looked between the two who were watching him intently. He slowly pulled the wrapping off to reveal a gilded silver frame showing Harry standing out by the lake, his head resting on Draco's shoulder as the blonde held him tightly around the waist.
'Severus, what an earth were you thinking?' Lucius hissed as Harry sucked in a breath. 'Giving him a picture of Draco today of all days.'
'It's not Draco.' Harry whispered and Jacques' face broke out into an indulgent smile.
'What?' Lucius moved closer to the photo.
'It's not Draco. It's Lucien.' Harry repeated, more firmly this time.
As if in response to his words more people began moving into the photo, greeting the two before finally everyone was there and turned to the camera as one. In that moment Harry realised that it wasn't a photo but a painting. They were all there. Everyone currently in the room was in the painting.
'It's my family.' Harry said softly.
They were all quiet as Harry was helped into his duelling robes. Jacques and Snape picking up each piece and passing it over as Lucius, Claudius and Lucien helped him into them. When picked up they were extremely heavy, but once they'd been helped over his head and placed into the correct position they became feather-light. By the end Harry felt as if he was protected by a wall that surrounded almost every inch of him but left him free to move easily.
Harry could feel the tension rolling off the five men in the room and wished he could put them all at ease. Narcissa was with Evelyn and the children. Harry had requested this, knowing she would be unable to control herself and would plead for him not to go in spite of knowing that he had too.
He sighed again, looking at the grave expressions on those around him. He turned to Jacques. 'Tell me what to do.'
Jacques nodded and shuffled over suddenly looking older than he had only minutes ago. 'You have learnt the incantation?' Harry nodded. 'At the first sight of the moon; the moment you see it, whether it be rising or appearing out from behind a cloud you must begin the incantation. Say it three times, ignore what Severus, Lucius and I will be doing and just keep incanting. Do you understand?'
Harry nodded. 'I understand.' He said softly.
It was a solemn group that made their way up to the tallest tower of Malfoy Manor and out onto the viewing platform. As it was summer, dusk had just fallen and Harry knew it wouldn't be long before the moon made an appearance. Harry stood silently in the middle of the group, his eyes focused in the direction he knew the moon would be visible. He could distantly hear the others shift around him and knew that all had drawn their wands, all ready for the arrival of Peter Pettigrew.
Moments later it was there, even before Harry had expected it and he swallowed quickly before beginning. 'Citatio illi persolvo.' He murmured softly. He repeated it over and over, feeling the connection of the life debt Wormtail owe him spring alive in side of him, drawing the other man to him. He felt Pettigrew trying to fight it and his chanting became louder. 'CITATIO ILLI PERSOLVO.' He yelled and suddenly there was a loud crack and a quivering Wormtail landed at his feet.
'Stupefy' Lucius and Snape were fastest, stunning the Animagus before he move. Harry has opened his eyes and stared down at the man who had betrayed his parents. He quickly looked away and nodded to Snape who placed a choker around Wormtail's neck that wouldn't allow him to transform, before waking him.
'Harry?' Pettigrew squeaked.
Harry turned back his eyes blazing. 'In the name of Merlin I demand payment of the Life Debt you owe me.' He growled.
'O...of course. Of course. Anything, just don't hurt me.' Pettigrew cowered as he looked up at the group surrounding him before looking back to Harry.
'Take me to Voldemort.'
Pettigrew stared at him in stunned silence, he'd even forgotten to breath until Snape kicked him none to gently in the ribs causing him to suck in a wheezing breath. 'Harry, p...please. Anything b...but that.' The Animagus stammered.
Harry's eyes narrowed and he lent forward. 'You will take me, Wormtail, and then I might even let you live, do you understand?' He hissed.
Pettigrew nodded and Harry turned to Lucius. 'I won't be long.' He vowed and Lucius nodded, seeming to hesitate for a moment before pulling Harry too him and hugging him tightly.
'Please, be careful.' He whispered in Harry's ear and Harry nodded. Both Claudius and Jaccques hugged him too, wishing him luck and a safe return. Snape's usually stern and emotionless face was surprisingly easy to read and Harry stared up into the glittering black eyes.
Almost as if reverse Legilimancy had been employed Harry saw what the potions master was planning. 'No.' He said softly but Snape only raised an eyebrow and several more pictures appeared in Harry's head. Finally he squeezed his eyes shut and nodded, not saying a word but turning to Lucien.
'Harry?' Lucien eyes widened. 'What is it?'
Harry just shook his head and stepped forward, his arms winding around Lucien's waist as he buried his head in the older man's shoulder. 'Thank you.' He whispered, before stepping briskly away and grasping Pettigrew's arm as he activated the Portkey that would drop them outside the Manor's wards.
'Severus, I'm still not sure this is a good idea.' Harry sighed as they dragged Pettigrew to his feet.
'You need someone at your back, Harry. It was either me or Lucius. And I know that Lucius would have to been too worried about you to watch out for himself as well.'
Harry nodded. 'I understand. Come on, let's get this over with.'
Snape hauled up the left sleeve of Pettigrew's robe. 'Come on, Wormtail. It's time to show us that Gryffindor courage you allegedly possess.'
Wormtail was shaking as he pressed his hand to the Dark Mark 'Vadere.' The Animagus stammered and Harry felt the pull of a side along apparation.
He could tell by the immediate pain in his head the moment they arrived that they were in the right place. Harry immediately stunned and bound Wormtail and placed several heavy obscuring charms on him. He looked up to see Snape staring at him, a small smirk on his face. Harry replied with one of his own. 'I said I might let him live. I didn't say I would let him go.' He said bluntly.
The potions master snorted. 'You're becoming more and more Slytherin every day.'
Harry grinned before it turned into a grimace. 'Speaking of Slytherins, let's go and finish off the last of the line.'
Snape drew off his cloak letting Harry see the duelling robes he had hidden under them and lifted his wand, placing a hand on Harry's shoulder and gesturing for the young man to lead on.
Harry used the pain in his scar almost like a compass, turning back if he went a particular way and the burning decreased. Eventually they came to a set of doors that obviously led to a bedroom. Harry was in agony from the pain and Snape delved into his robes for a potion.
Harry swallowed it and handed it back. 'Thanks.' he breathed before lifting a hand and knocking on the door.
'Wormtail.' came a sibilant hiss from within. I felt you arrive back, but who have you brought with you?'
Harry nodded at Snape before throwing the door open. 'That would be me, Tom.' He growled, raising his hand and throwing both the Dark Lord and the chair he was sitting in twenty feet across the room with the flick of his wrist. Riddle wasn't down long but it gave both Harry and Snape time to look around and see that they had been blessed with a room empty of all bar Riddle and Nagini.
The latter quickly launched herself at Harry with a speed that was incredible considering her size. Harry ducked sharply and managed to rake one of his daggers down her belly for over two yards. The wound was long and fatal but she did manage to flick her head down and plunge one of her fangs into Harry's bicep as he tried to move out of the way.
Snape's quickly following Reducto hex resulted in a disgusting mess as Nagini's head exploded. Riddle let out a scream of anger and despair as he shook the dizziness from himself and leapt to his feet. Harry signalled to Snape and the potions master took it for what it was and quickly slipped back outside the door to guard it. This was Harry's fight and now he needed to concentrate on it.
Inside the room Riddle was steaming. 'Potter.' He spat.
'Actually, it's Malfoy. As you well know.' Harry said simply as the two circled each other, looking for the first sign of weakness. 'You've been quiet of late, Tom.'
'Don't call me that, you jumped up little half blood.'
'Three words for you Tom. Pot. Kettle. Black.'
'Potter.' Riddle hissed through clenched teeth.
'Did you know I used to feel almost sorry for you.' Harry went on as he slowly moved his left hand upwards. 'You had no one, no friends, no confidant, just a snake. And she couldn't love you, could she.'
Harry ignored him. 'But then you took Draco from me. You took my love, and you didn't keep it for yourself. No. You destroyed it.'
'And I'll destroy everyone you love, Potter. You mark my words.' Riddle snarled.
The ignoring on Harry's part continued. 'And something that special shouldn't have been destroyed. It should have been savoured and cherished and protected. So what I'm going to do is show you what love is, so that next time you won't be so quick to destroy it.'
'I know what it is, Potter. It's a weakness.'
'Really?' Harry said curiously. 'Because Draco's love made me much stronger. I'll show you.'
Suddenly Harry's hand shot out and Riddle found himself slammed back into the wall, four feet off the ground and unable to move.
'Now, are you ready?' Harry asked, not expecting an answer as Riddle struggled against the invisible binds. Harry stalked closer, ripping the Dark Lord's wand from his skeletal fingers and snapping it before staring into the now murderous red eyes.
And he let loose.
Let loose with every memory of Draco he had.
Using the Legilimancy he had learned in the most brutal way possible. Draco smiling at him, kissing him, reading to him, cuddling him. Draco touching him, making him feel more loved and protected than he could ever have imagined.
Riddle was screaming, blood starting to drip from his nose and eyes as the images became more intimate and the Dark Lord's soul ravaged itself in an effort to produce enough strength to push Harry away. Harry continued the onslaught. Draco licking him, Draco staring down at him as he moved within. Draco's head thrown back in passion. And Draco telling him he loved him. Over and over and over again.
Soon Riddle was begging him to stop and Harry tugged his magic back inside him, causing the snake like figure to drop to the ground in a foetal position, his hands clutching his head as the images Harry had all but shoved into his mind continued playing over and over.
Harry stared down at what was left of the Dark Lord, the shell of a wizard now quaking on the floor, and waited until Riddle finally pulled himself together enough to push himself up against the wall and stand, staring defiantly back at Harry. The look was slightly spoiled by the fact that he was having to lean against the wall and he was shaking violently.
'What did you think that accomplished, Harry?' Riddle said hoarsely. 'I'm still here. I'm not dead. And you're lover is.'
'You will be.' Harry vowed, lifting his dagger and slicing open Riddle's chest in one fell swoop even as he summoned one of Nagini's fangs.
'Draco was my heart, and you stole that from me.' He hissed. 'It's only fair that I take yours in return.' That said he plunged the still venomous fang into Riddle's heart and moments later the organ exploded, taking half of the Dark Lord's body with it.
Harry was thrown back several yards, in spite of the shield he had up and the protection spells of the duelling robes, hitting his head on a table and knocking himself out cold. He didn't hear Snape cross the room, having slipped back in when he heard the Dark Lord screaming, and kneel down, gently lifting Harry in his arms before whispering softly.
'Draco would be so very proud of you, Harry.'
Harry slipped in and out of consciousness for almost two weeks as the poison Nagini had managed to inject him with in the moments before she died, ran its course.
Narcissa and Lucien barely left his side as Lucius and Snape visited the Ministry, with a still stunned and bound Peter Pettigrew, and gave Fudge and the rest of the MLE the good news. Snape willingly gave the memory of that final moment as Harry killed the Dark Lord as evidence of the truth of his words and Aurors were quickly sent to the location Snape had left a tracking spell on to verify the memory as accurate.
Their return with the Dark Lord's remains, which were promptly destroyed, was cause for celebration as word quickly spread throughout the wizarding world. Harry's scar had completely disappeared as had the Dark Mark from both Snape and Malfoy's arms.
It was only later they found out that it had disappeared from all of the Death Eaters, meaning prosecution for their crimes would be difficult.
Harry however, had no idea of what was going on outside, his mind was caught up within itself. Narcissa had had to leave the room in tears several times as the fever caused Harry to hallucinate and call for Draco to come and help him.
'Dray please, it hurts so much. I need you, Dray. Make it go away. Please, Dray.' Harry would cry out for hours.
Eventually it became too much even for Lucius who growled at Lucien. 'Can't you do anything?'
Lucien shook his head, his eyes dull. 'Not without him thinking I'm Draco.' He said quietly.
Lucius managed to listen to Harry's pleas for another day before he shook his head. 'It doesn't matter. Just do whatever you have to do to make him feel better. I cannot stand to see him like this.'
Lucien nodded sharply and moved to sit on the side of the bed, lifting one of Harry's hands in his own and cupping his cheek with the other. 'Harry, can you hear me?' he said softly.
'Dray?' Harry's head lifted and Lucien could see him trying to open his eyes He didn't correct him but just went on.
'Just relax, Harry. You're going to be alright.'
'Burns.' Harry gasped. 'Everything burns.'
Lucien gently stroked the sweaty hair off Harry's forehead. 'I know. We can't give you anything else just yet. You have to be strong for me. It will go away soon.'
'Please Dray, it hurts so much.'
'Shhh, I know. I wish I could take it from you.'
'Hold me, Dray. Please, hold me. Make it go away.' Harry begged, gritting his teeth as another wave of pain from the poison washed through him.
Lucien hesitated, looking up at the other adults in the room, all of whom were looking at Lucius.
'Go on.' He murmured as if it pained him to say.
Lucien needed no further encouragement, moving past Harry until he was leaning up against the head board and pulling the Boy-Who-Lived into his arms. 'I've got you, Harry.' He whispered, gently running his fingers through Harry's hair. 'You're going to be okay, I promise. Just relax. I'll be here when you wake.' Lucien continued rubbing Harry's back as the young man almost burrowed into his chest and let out a big sigh.
'I love you, Dray.' He whispered before consciousness took him once again.
'Excuse me.' Lucius' strangled apology startled many but not as much as his abrupt departure from the room as if unable to watch any longer.
'Do not concern yourself.' Narcissa said as she used a damp cloth to wipe gently at the back of Harry's neck. 'He will return.'
Lucien glanced down at Harry. 'I know.'
Narcissa placed a hand under his chin and lifted it so that she could look into the gray eyes that were the image of her son's. 'It is hard for Harry, but it is hard for Lucius too. When he looks at the two of you together, he also can't help but see Draco. He knows you aren't Draco but unlike Harry, he doesn't have the luxury of dreaming. He can see you two together and wish with all of his heart that it was true but he knows it isn't and that it never will be.'
'What about you?'
Narcissa smiled and released his chin, lowering her hand to gently stroke the now sleeping Harry's cheek. 'I just want Harry to be happy. You make him happy.'
'Even if it is a lie?'
Narcissa sighed heavily. 'Sometimes the truth can just be too painful to deal with.'
'He will have to deal with it eventually.'
'I know.' She said softly before leaning over and placing a gentle kiss on Harry's temple. 'We will deal with that when the time comes.' She promised before she stood up and left the room, obviously in search of her husband.
When Lucien woke up, not realising that he had even fallen asleep, it was dark, but he had no trouble discerning the feel of gentle kisses being placed down his neck.
At some point, obviously after he fell asleep, everyone had left the room and he had moved slightly lower in the bed until he was lying almost flat with Harry's head on his shoulder. His eyes flew open as Harry's hand began undoing the buttons on his shirt and a hot tongue followed, leaving his chest.
'Oh Merlin.' He breathed, unsure if Harry was even awake. He knew it would be dangerous to wake him up if he wasn't but he wasn't sure he could take this, knowing Harry was thinking he was Draco.
All coherent thought left him a moment later as Harry's hand slipped into his trousers to grip him tightly even as his teeth grasped a nipple and nibbled softly. Lucien couldn't stop his hands from coming up and grasping Harry's shoulders, tugging the Boy-Who-Lived up until he could kiss him soundly.
Harry groaned softly, his tongue mapping out every inch of Lucien's mouth before moving back across his chin and down his neck. Lucien let out a quiet moan of his own.
This was so wrong.
But Merlin, it felt so right.
Harry just melted into him, fitting to his body as if he was an extension of himself. Lucien ran his hands down Harry's back pulling him tight against his body. Harry hissed and arched against him even though his mouth never left Lucien's chest. When he moved towards his trousers again Lucien knew he would have to do something and he pulled him back up to kiss him again, keeping his arms around him and not letting him go.
Harry went with the restriction, pressing his hips down over and over in an effort to get some friction happening between them. He thrust downwards causing Lucien's eyes to almost roll back in his head but he didn't let go. Finally Harry gave a cry and collapsed, breathing heavily against Lucien's chest.
The older man was hesitant to speak. Still unsure if Harry was still asleep but Harry solved his dilemma for him moments later when he raised his head, giving him as sleepy, sated smile. 'I love you, Dray.' he whispered, dropping his head to Lucien's chest again before he drifted back off to sleep.
Lucien was frozen in place, barely daring to even breathe. Harry had been awake. 'Oh Merlin, what have I done.' Lucien whispered, wondering if Harry would remember what had happened in the morning.
He couldn't stay here. He was letting his own growing feelings for the young man interfere and Harry didn't need that. He needed to heal, not live in a dream world.
Lucius had been right.
He quickly but carefully slid out from under the Boy-Who-Lived, replacing his body with a pillow before creeping from the room and through to his own. He had several owls to write and he had to pack.
Harry hugged the pillow to him tightly and smiled. It smelled like Draco. That thought brought back the dream of several hours before. It had been so vivid. Draco holding him, kissing him. He shifted, feeling the stickiness that had remained and frowned. He'd never had a dream that vivid.
Suddenly he had a vision of Lucien. Lucien kissing him, Lucien holding him tight. Those strong hands, only slightly bigger than Draco's caressing his back, and Harry sucked in a breath, feeling as if he'd been punched in the gut.
'Oh god, Draco.' He whispered, curling into a ball as tears sprung to his eyes.
This was how Narcissa found him an hour later. Of course he had fallen back to sleep by then but she knew he'd woken only by the position he was in. And by the fact she'd seen Lucien out on the grounds watching an owl fly into the distance.
'Harry? Harry, wake up.' She murmured, gently shaking his shoulder.
'Narcissa.' Harry whispered sleepily.
Narcissa couldn't stop the brilliant smile that covered her face. 'Oh darling, you won't ever believe how happy I am to see you awake.'
'Narcissa.' Harry said again as he slowly sat up and let the witch put her arms around him and hold him tightly.
'We're so proud of you, Harry. So very proud of you.'
Harry pulled away. 'What for?'
Narcissa stared at him. 'You don't remember?'
'Don't remember what? What happened?' Harry's voice became slightly panicked.
'Riddle. Do you remember destroying the Dark Lord? Nagini bit you. That's why you've been out of it for the last two weeks.'
Harry's eyes widened. 'He's dead?'
Narcissa nodded. 'You don't remember?'
Harry shook his head. 'Not a thing.'
'What's the last thing you remember?' Narcissa asked, raising an eyebrow at the blush that suffused Harry's face for a moment before the young man managed to push it away.
'My birthday party. I remember opening my presents.' Harry said finally.
Narcissa eyed him for a moment before nodding and smiling once again. 'It may just come back to you. How do you feel anyway?'
'Fine actually, although a shower and something to eat wouldn't go astray.' Harry admitted.
Narcissa laughed. 'Yes, you must feel like you've been in those pyjamas for weeks, what with the amount of sweating you've been doing in an effort to get rid of the venom. Tell you what. You have a shower and I'll make sure the house elves bring a special breakfast up to you.'
'I can come down.' Harry said quickly.
Narcissa frowned. 'Are you sure. I don't want to tire you out.'
Harry nodded. 'Yes, I can't stand staying in bed. Beside I really want to see everyone.'
The witch had no trouble reading who exactly it was Harry wanted to see and she wondered whether the other had left yet. Deciding not to say anything yet she just patted his knee and stood. 'Fine, you have a shower and change into something comfortable and then come down. We'll see you in the dining room.'
'Okay.' Harry agreed, swaying only slightly as he jumped up off the bed. Grinning sheepishly at Narcissa's expression and crossing the room quickly, slipping into his bathroom before the witch changed her mind and sent him back to bed.
'Lucien?' Harry called out from the top of the stairs, halting the cloaked figure's progress towards the door. 'Lucien, where are you going?'
Lucien turned as Harry made it to the bottom of the stairs. 'I'm leaving, Harry.' He said quietly.
Harry eyes widened. 'What? No, you can't go.'
'Harry, please. Don't make this any harder than it already is.' Lucien pleaded softly.
Harry stared into the gray eyes. 'I don't want you to go.' He whispered.
Lucien reached up and cupped his cheek. 'I think you are unsure of exactly what it is you want, Harry. You still have so much healing to do, and I do not think my presence here any longer will help that.'
'But I know who you are. I know you're not Draco.' Harry insisted, tears springing to his eyes.
Lucien raised an eyebrow. 'Do you? Do you really?' He asked softly. 'Because I don't believe that you do.'
'Please.' Harry begged but Lucien shook his head.
'I'm sorry, Harry. It tears at my heart to have to do this but I cannot stay. I've let you sink into this dream world for too long. I knew I was playing a dangerous game but I couldn't help it, not with the way I felt. It isn't fair to you or me to continue this charade.'
'Please don't leave me. I need you.' Tears were streaming down Harry's cheeks now and Lucien found he had to look away lest his resolve crumble.
'I'm not leaving you, Harry. You need time. You need to sort out your feelings. Take the time to heal your heart properly and if, after that, you still have these feelings, and you can honestly say that they are for me, and not for who you wish me to be, then I will be waiting.' Lucien promised turning back long enough to drop a chaste kiss on Harry's cheek before disappearing out the door and into the waiting carriage.
Harry dropped slowly to the step as he watched the carriage disappear into the distance as Narcissa watched in dismay from the top of the stairs.
The dark haired young man came to the ornate gates and stared up at the chateau in the distance.
Over a year had passed since Harry had last come here, only days after Lucien had left Malfoy Manor. At that time the older man had refused to see him, the house elf politely telling him that Master Lucien was busy and would be for some time. Harry had come back each day after that until Jacques Lestrelle had welcomed him in and insisted he stayed. It was only the next day that he found out Lucien had left the evening before for Spain and no one knew when he would be back.
In despair Harry had wandered the corridors of the chateau before running once more into Jacques. Their talk had lasted into the wee hours of the morning but when Harry finally returned to his room he did feel much better and from that moment on he applied himself to the things Jacques was teaching him, knowing that this was the opportunity of a lifetime.
Four months later he left the chateau and travelled to the United States where he spent many months healing both his heart and his head as he fulfilled the instructions Jacques had given him. He sorted out the feelings he had for both Draco and Lucien, coming to terms with what he'd lost after so long.
At times he struggled to differentiate between the two young men but when he looked deep inside, into his soul he knew exactly which was which. In his mind's eye he could see the difference in shades of gray between their eyes, the way Draco's mouth curved slightly higher on the left, and, of course that slight difference in the size of Lucien's hands.
It took time for Harry to realise that he truly loved the older man.
That it took nothing away from his love for Draco.
That he loved Draco and always would.
And that he loved Lucien for who he was, and not for who Harry wished him to be.
The short time Harry had had with Draco had been extraordinary, but it was finished and he would have the memories of it forever. But Lucien was here. He was someone Harry could hold and love and share his life with and eventually he came to the realisation that that was something Draco would have wanted for him.
Draco would have wanted him to live.
Draco would have wanted him to love.
And so he returned to Paris, and to Lucien.
As if expecting him the gates opened and Harry walked up the long driveway. His heart was pounding and his hands shook. He wondered if Lucien would indeed be waiting as he had promised. He knocked on the door and opened his mouth to speak when the house elf opened it, but no words would come.
The house elf just nodded and gestured for him to come in. 'This way, Master Harry.' It squeaked and Harry followed it numbly through the corridors. Now that he was here everything he felt was closing in on him. He felt his breath leaving him and he quickly put a damper on his emotions before they got away from him. He stopped at the doorway as the house elf opened it and took a deep breath before stepping inside.
His eyes widened at the sight of Lucius and Narcissa standing by the window, deep in conversation with Jacques Lestrelle. Of course they quieted when he walked in and looked up at him. Lucius was watching him, a fond expression on his face as Narcissa smiled tearfully at him.
'You knew.' Harry said softly. It was not a question.
Lucius nodded. 'Jacques said you would be arriving back any day.'
Harry looked at the elderly wizard. 'How?'
Lestrelle gifted him one of those indulgent smiles. 'Because the heart never lies, young one. And yours is as pure as the driven snow. It would never have allowed you to twist what you had with Draco. It just took time for you to realise it.'
'Is..is Lucien...' Harry trailed off, suddenly nervous.
'Bonjour, Harry.' Came a gentle voice from behind him and Harry spun on his heel. He stared at the now twenty year old. The passing year had changed him little and Harry knew in that moment what Jacques had meant. Lucien stepped forward, slowly crossing the distance to stand toe to toe with Harry.
'I love you, Luc.' Harry whispered as he stared up into the shining gray eyes. Lucien lifted both hands and cupped Harry's cheeks, staring into the green eyes intently as if searching for the truth in Harry's very soul.
'Je t'amie de tout mon coeur.' Lucien whispered before tilting Harry's chin and kissing him softly, his arms winding around Harry's waist and pulling him close. Harry melted into the embrace and closed his eyes. He felt safe and protected and loved again. Not because it felt like Draco's embrace.
But because it was Lucien's.
And because it was right.