Warnings: Angst, language, and sexual scenes
Summary: When Harry finds out that he has AIDS, he and Draco try to find a way to deal with it. It's just difficult when every day Harry gets worse.
Author's Note: I still haven't gotten my multi-chapter fic back edited, so that won't be up for another while. But this story is inspired by Angels in America and And the Band Played On, two fantastic stories that you should both read and watch. The HBO mini-series and film (respectively) actually do them both justice. Anyway, my lovelies, just know that I love you. If you want to leave me feedback, I wouldn't object. It's kind of a weird concept, so I get if it isn't your cup o' tea. Also, this is unbeta'd. I briefly read through it, but there will probably be a handful of mistakes. But feel free to tell me so that I can correct them. :)
Wizards had a cure for cancer. They had a cure for Ebola, for Lupus, for Polio, even the Black Death if that came about again. What they didn't have a cure for was AIDS. So, when Harry got diagnosed with it, Draco didn't know what to do. He had stiffly sat by Harry's side as the brave wizard broken down into tears. Later that night, he had held him to his chest, telling Harry that it would all work out in the end and desperately wishing that were true.
It was only when Harry left for work the next day that Draco broke down. It had taken a while for the words to sink in, but when they did, he had called in sick to work. Every bit of him felt numb. He swallowed and collapsed on the couch, hugging his knees to his chest. It hurt to breathe too deeply. Draco's eyes screwed shut. This had to be a nightmare. He felt as if he was falling. He just had to wake up before he hit the ground. He couldn't muster the energy to shift position and pinch himself. Instead he bit down on his lip harder and harder. Suddenly –
Draco shouted as a small part of his lip tore between his teeth. He coughed, and a spray of red covered the cloth in front of him. Yet that pain dulled down quickly, overpowered by the consistent throb in his head and the pounding in his chest. Shifting finally, he reached up with his sleeve and wiped his mouth. It was almost with a morbid fascination that he stared at the giant red smudge on the white.
But then the red blurred, and his entire body convulsed. Tears leaked out of his eyes as he sobbed, sputtering. He didn't care that a small puddle of red was slowly forming on his couch. He didn't even notice. All he could think about was Harry. If anyone didn't deserve this, it was his Harry. He had suffered since he was a year old, and now he was –
Draco screamed and screamed until his throat was dry. His hands clenched and his fingers dug into his skin until blood leaked from there as well. Yet Draco didn't notice. He hurt too much to notice where the new pain was coming from. Instead he remained curled up, weeping and weeping. And when he had finished, he simply lay there, suddenly limp and drained.
When he finally felt like he could muster the energy to move, he glanced over at the clock. He had been sitting there for almost three and a half hours. Harry would be home soon. Draco had to at least try to be brave. He washed his hands and cast a quick healing charm. It took three tries to get the blood off the couch, but he eventually managed that as well. Soon the traces of Draco's mental breakdown had been cleared away, and he went to the kitchen, deciding to make dinner.
The curry took a long time to make, and the tedious tasks like chopping carrots and mincing the garlic took his mind off of everything else. He just felt hollow. I'm sorry, Mr. Potter. You're dying. The words reverberated throughout his head, and Draco groaned as they built in a deafening crescendo, yelling at him. How could you say sorry for something like that? Sorry didn't even come close to covering it.
Draco's knife slipped, and he sharply inhaled as blood seeped out of a cut on his finger. He needed to stop hurting himself. He had lost a lot of blood, and as he just stared at the wound, he felt himself start to get dizzy. With a simple spell, he healed the wound and cleaned away the blood. Reaching out, he poured himself a glass of water. It felt so crisp and delicious – as if he hadn't drunk anything for months. He fell back, staring at the pan. Now he just had to wait for it to cook.
He leaned his head on the table and stared at the wood in front of him. Not his Harry… He deserved to live a full live and enjoy himself. He was only twenty-three goddammit! Draco's fists clenched, and he slid his arms under his chin, offering some cushioning against the wooden surface.
There was a suddenly jingling from the other room, though, and Draco leapt up. His eyes were brimming with tears, which he hastily shoved back. Instead he sprinted to door. Harry stepped inside, holding Draco tightly. It was amazing that he even managed to smile. Yet Harry beamed at him, stretching upward and placing a light kiss on his lips. Draco choked back a sob and pressed them together more tightly, his arm reaching around Harry and pulling him close.
"Merlin, from the way you're going at it, you'd think you two are never going to kiss again." Ron Weasley stepped into the house, and Draco pulled back, glancing at Harry. Hermione followed, and the two of them smiled cheerily. Innocently. They didn't know yet.
"I didn't think you'd be home yet. I was just bringing them over for a few drinks," Harry muttered, avoiding Draco's eye. He hadn't even told his two best mates. Suddenly Harry's smile seemed more forced.
"I called in sick today," Draco said, trying to catch Harry's eye. But Harry just slunk past him towards the kitchen.
"Are you not feeling well? Maybe we should leave." Granger went to pick up her coat, which she had just hung up.
"Maybe that's a good idea," Harry said, jumping slightly. He didn't want to have to tell them. But it'd only be worse as it dragged out.
"No. I'm fine now. I even made curry the Muggle way and everything." Draco attempted a reassuring smile, but Harry's lip quivered. The blond could barely keep himself from pulling Harry into another hug.
"If you're sure…" Granger put the coat down again, and stepped in, removing her shoes. Weasley followed. Granger seemed to catch that there was something more to what was going on. While Weasley shrugged off the moment of discomfort, she glanced at Draco, a confused expression on her face. But the blond walked after Harry, who had already gone into the kitchen.
"I don't know if I can..." Harry looked near tears as he buried his head into Draco's neck. Draco swallowed heavily, stroking Harry's hair. It felt feathery and soft beneath his fingers, and he craned his neck, placing a light kiss on Harry's forehead.
"You have to," he breathed as the two entered the kitchen. Draco pulled back, looking down at the curry. It was almost done. He began pulling out plates, and shifted uncomfortably. The silence was quickly becoming heavy. He placed the plates carefully in front of them, and turned off the heat. Placing the curry on the table, he sat down next to Harry.
The blond felt something nudging at his hand, and Harry's fingers intertwined with his. His grip was firm, and Draco almost felt like it was painful. His palms were sweaty and he trembled slightly.
"Just say it. Please," Granger finally said, throwing an angry glare at Weasley. The ginger had been oblivious enough and paused mid-chew, blushing.
"How did you know something was wrong," Harry said, looking down at his empty plate. Draco could hear his unsteady breathing and knew he was trying to hold back tears. He squeezed Harry's hand and leaned against Harry's shoulder, nuzzling against him.
"Acting like this. And the way you two greeted each other. I don't think Malfoy's even said a single snarky comment." She tried to pull the last part into a joke, and laughed weakly. No one followed, and the hollow sound died out quickly. When Harry continued silently glancing down at his plate, she continued nervously, her voice shaking. "And not to mention that Malfoy's skipping work... I don't really know. It's just been awkward, and you've never been good at hiding things an –"
"I'm dying," Harry whispered, and his nails dug into Draco's hand. That was all it took. With those two words, he suddenly sobbed again, and Draco turned my face away, not wanting them to see him cry either. The blond couldn't stand to hear those words, not again. Draco distantly heard the clatter as one of the two – most likely Weasley – dropped their silverware.
"No!" There was a crash as a chair hit the ground, and Draco looked over and saw them both shaking their heads madly. Harry shuddered, trying to wipe back the tears. It was useless, as they kept on going. "Harry..." Granger sobbed, reaching out her hand. Harry recoiled, and sprung up without warning, glancing down at his two best mates. For a moment he looked insane, his eyes wide and animalistic, afraid.
Draco threw himself at Harry, wrapping his arms around him. Harry pushed against him, trying to get Draco off of him. Draco hissed as Harry clawed at his skin, peeling it away. Harry's wand lay on the table, and Harry reached for it, but Draco yanked back. For a moment more he writhed before collapsing against the blond's grip. Sobbing pitifully, he lay there as if suddenly losing the will to fight.
"I'm sorry," he muttered, gulping in air. "I'm so sorry."
"You don't have to apologise!" Granger said, coming forward and hugging Harry. Draco let Harry go as if burned, and shook his head. Something inside of Draco told him to stay strong, but seeing Harry – who had never given up – just go limp scared the shit out of him. The sight before him blurred as more tears fell from his eyes, and he ran out of the room.
He didn't even realise that he was headed toward the outside until he heard the door slam behind him. Someone shouted his name, but Draco just ran. His heart pounded and a part of him ached with every step he took. A voice in his head was screaming at him to go back, but he just couldn't. He couldn't see Harry explain everything all over again. Or watch everyone cry. Watch Harry crumple up as uselessly as a scrap sheet of parchment.
Draco burst out into a run. His feet slammed against the pavement, and before he could stop himself, he was crying again. His eyes burned and the lights around him became a blur as tears clouded his vision. As he clenched his hands into fists, he choked out a sob. He just wanted to get away. And as if somehow running would help, he kept on going. Draco's lungs felt like they were going to burst by the time he stopped. He had no fucking clue where he even was, but there seemed to be a pub nearby. He slipped in and went up to the bar, sitting in a stool.
"Two shots of vodka, please," he mumbled. Draco's only experience in Muggle places was with Harry. He swallowed thickly, and stared emptily as the bartender set the glasses down in front of him. It took only a few seconds to down each of them. Fishing his wallet out of his pocket, he set down some money on the counter.
He had to go back. Yet he could barely muster the energy to move. Instead Draco simply sat there, staring at the counter in front of him. He felt his head go slightly fuzzy after a while, but it was only after he began to realise how empty the place was getting to be that he got up to leave. He wasn't exactly sure on how much time had passed, but it had felt like millenniums.
Yanking himself up, Draco stumbled out of the pub and into an alley. His wand gripped tightly in his hand, he Apparated to the flat and stumbled toward the door. It took a moment for him to get the keys in the lock, and when he finally did, he fell into the house with a giant crash.
There was a gasp, and Draco's head shot over just in time to see Harry jump upwards, glancing around like a rabbit who had just heard a gunshot. He blinked groggily and then stared up at Draco wide-eyed. "Where've ya been?" Harry asked, his words slurring together. But Draco didn't know what to say. What right did he have to drown out his sorrows? Harry was the one suffering, not him.
Instead, Draco walked forward and leaned in for a kiss. When their lips met, the blond could feel Harry relax underneath him. His shoulders stopped tensing, and after a moment, his hand reached up, cupping Draco's cheek. Quickly the blond manoeuvred so that he was hovering above Harry. Their bodies lay pressed together, separated only by a thin layer of clothing. Harry groaned as Draco thrust forward, grinding against him.
Harry bit down on Draco's lower lip, humming contentedly. His tongue probed through Draco's willing lips, and Draco's mouth exploded with flavour. He had eaten some ice cream, apparently. The sticky brownie taste clung to his tongue, and the blond moaned, running his fingers happily through Harry's hair. All pains and fear began to fade away. His hips pivoted, and he continued the same motion, feeling the warmth build up in the pit of his stomach.
"Mph, no, Draco..." Harry pulled away, tilting his head so that Draco's lips couldn't reach his. But Draco didn't want to hear those words. His hands grabbed at Harry's and he intertwined their fingers, pressing Harry's hands back behind his head.
"I need you," the blond muttered, nuzzling against Harry. As if to prove it, he gently pried their hands apart again, and brought one of Harry's hands to the distinct bulge in his pants. Harry made a low, guttural sound as Draco nipped at his neck. "Please, Harry."
With those words, though, the trance seemed to break, Harry shoved Draco back off of him, and he leapt off of the couch. "You don't understand. I can't. I could –" He cut off, tears brimming in his eyes, and Draco felt the hurt hit against him like a tidal wave. The waters of sorrow and fear went above his head, and Draco launched himself at Harry. Every bit of him seemed to be able to breathe as soon as their lips pressed together, but Harry must have thought differently; soon two hands were pushing the blond back again.
"But you don't have to." He ran to the room, and Harry, mistaking his action for hurt, chased after him
"Draco. Don't... I didn't mean to hurt you." But Draco just yanked open a drawer and triumphantly held something up in his hands. Upon seeing it, Harry's eyes got wide.
"Fuck me, Harry Potter. Fuck me into oblivion." Harry turned away, and Draco heard him sob. Draco never asked for this. It was rare that Harry topped – so rare, in fact, that the idea simply seemed absurd or even impossible. But the tears he cried were because he knew. Draco knew that he knew. Harry had heard the fear behind Draco's words. He heard the desire to escape. And as much as Harry wanted to escape as well, he knew it was impossible.
"I can't." His voice broke. "I want to. You have to believe me." He shifted uncomfortably, and the cloth strained against his erection. "What if it broke? What if I infec – What if you got it from me?" He didn't seem to know how to express it, and Draco leaned forward. Harry only stepped a pace or two back, but he shuddered as Draco's arms wrapped around him. Still, he gave in, and when Draco kissed him again, this time his lips parted willingly. His tongue darted out, and he slowly tasted Draco's lower lip. His fingers crept forward, and they slid down Draco's shirt.
The blond gasped and his eyes closed as Harry's hand reached under his shirt. Harry's lips moved back from Draco's, and instead he placed a light kiss on Draco's cheek, jaw, neck... Pausing, he looked up at Draco, and feeling his gaze, the blond opened his eyes. They looked at each other for a moment, and the room filled with the sounds of their heavy breaths. Then Harry gave a light push, and Draco fell back onto the bed. Every bit of him ached. How many times would he get to do this again – to feel Harry above him and to see his brilliant green eyes shine?
Draco propped himself up on his elbows as Harry straddled him, smiling. Their lips crashed together again, and their fingers tangled into each others' hair. Harry's teeth scraped against Draco's lips, and Draco gasped as he tasted blood. Swallowing back the tears, he pressed closer against Harry. The movement made Harry collapse against him, and Draco could feel something press into his thighs. His fingers pulled out, and he reached for the buttons on Harry's shirt.
But Harry batted his hand away. Instead he reached down to Draco's shirt, slowly undoing each one. His hands trembled, and Draco could see the repressed tears. "I love you. I love you so much." Harry pressed a trail of kisses down Draco's chest, and the blond mewled. Harry fiddled with Draco's zipper and pulled down his pants and boxers. They were carelessly thrown down to the floor, and Harry's eyes trailed down the porcelain body.
"You're gorgeous," Harry breathed, his voice soft and adoring. It was as if he had never seen Draco before. His hand reached up, and he cupped Draco's cheek momentarily. Draco's breath hitched and stuck in his throat. His hand reached up as well and lay over Harry's. The floor seemed to drop away as their eyes met. Draco's eyes burned, and he blinked; when he opened his eyes again, Harry was looking away.
His hands went down to his own shirt, and he pulled it over his head, throwing it behind him. Next his pants came undone, and he got up for a moment, letting them drop. He reached over to a drawer and pulled out a bottle of lube. With shaking hands, he squeezed, coating his fingers. He kneeled down again on the bed, and hovered above Draco.
"Tell me if it hurts." Draco nodded, still not trusting his voice. When Harry reached down, he eased one finger in. He wasn't sure when the last time they had taken it so slowly was. Had they ever taken it this slowly? But Harry absolutely glowed. His breath was unsteady, and he looked at Draco with scared, caring eyes.
When Harry added a second finger and spread them, Draco gasped. There was momentary pain, but he knew this was only the beginning – the beginning of a whole new range of pain. Harry's other hand reached down and he grabbed Draco's. He gave Draco a reassuring squeeze, and his fingers curled, hitting that spot inside of him. Everything light aflame, and wanton moans escaped the blond's lips. He seemed to swell as the world crumpled. His fingers grabbed the sheets, and his hips thrust upward.
"Oh, God, yes..." His voice broke, but Harry smiled encouragingly at him. As he added a third finger, he slowly thrust them in and out, hitting that same spot repeatedly. His eyes memorised Draco's every movement, and even when his eyes were closed, Draco could feel the green boring into him. Still, he could barely focus, Harry's fingers pushing in and out excruciatingly slowly.
"I need you. Please." Harry nodded and pulled out his fingers, reaching for the lube. After coating his cock, he grabbed the condom, fiddling with the wrapper. It took a moment to tear open, but when he did, he slid it on and positioned himself above the blond. Draco managed a small smile before he felt something large prodding into him. Harry slid in, and Draco's eyes watered.
It hurt like hell. But it felt amazing. It wasn't like the other pain. This was pain and pleasure all wrapped up into a neat package. It was proof that Harry was alive. It was proof that Harry loved him. Draco gasped out, and rotated his hips, letting Harry sheath himself all the way in. They both remained tensed for a moment before Harry suddenly thrust again, throwing his head back. Draco could tell it was hard to take it slowly. Harry's teeth bit down into his lower lip, and a droplet of blood formed around them.
With every thrust, Draco felt himself go more insane. This is what he'd miss – those moments where they held each other. Neither of them had to say anything. Harry's hand pressed against Draco's, and they radiated heat and love and worry and need. And they both absorbed it, wishing it could go on forever. But nothing was permanent.
Draco felt himself build up, and barely managed to choke out a moan of warning. Harry's hands stroked faster at the blond's cock, and his thumb played with the head. His other hand left Draco's, and he reached down to Draco's chest, pinching the sensitive nubs. It dragged down lower, and gently squeezed one of Draco's balls. But all the usual roughness was gone. Draco came with a shout, and looked down as he coated their chests. It dripped down off of Harry onto him, and the green eyes darkened slightly.
One of Harry's hands milked Draco until he was drained of every last drop. The other was used for better leverage, and Harry's hips worked as a piston. He groaned as Draco contracted around him. It took another few minutes before Harry came, and at that point, Draco was starting to become hard again. But then Harry shuddered and jerked. For a moment his mouth opened and he froze – the perfect picture, sweat clinging to his upper lip and his hair sticking to his forehead. And then he collapsed on top of Draco.
Draco had no clue how long they lay there. His hands ran through Harry's hands, and he kissed the back of his neck. All he wanted to do was lie here pretending nothing was wrong. Pretending that the world was simply perfect. That they could live together like this forever. That everything was going to be okay.
It was three months later that the first sign appeared. By this point Draco had almost forgotten about it. There were times where he would think about it, but they were so happy together. They had remembered how to laugh and smile. There would be times where Draco would remember and his breath would seem to disappear. And the AZT was a daily message that not everything was alright. But most of the time, they lived in a happy oblivion.
Harry's laugh hadn't quite reached his eyes that time though.
"What's wrong?" Draco laid his hand on top of Harry's, and he was met with a pair of worried green eyes.
"Draco, I need to tell you something."
"Of course..." Harry rolled up his sleeve. "It's a Kaposi's sarcoma lesion." Draco's seemed to forget how to do anything. His throat swelled shut and his eyes blurred as tears instantly pooled. His heart felt like it was been squeezed smaller and smaller and smaller… Draco closed his eyes, wondering whether it was possible to simply disappear.
"I'll be fine, really." Harry was shivering, covered in a thin layer of sweat. Every day was worse. Three or four lesions dotted his face. Draco cradled him in his arms, sobbing. And yet somehow Harry managed to smile. "I have you. That's all that matters." For some reason, those words chilled Draco.
Harry vomited into the toilet. "Well, shit." He gave a shaky laugh as Draco pressed his face against the cold wall. He couldn't look at Harry. Harry claimed that it was because he was ugly. The lesions had gotten even worse and seemed to be multiplying. "Damn purple does nothing to my complexion."
But it had nothing to do that. Every day Harry was weaker. The light in his eyes faded. Every day the battle was closer to being over. And this wasn't a battle that was possible to win. And Draco wasn't sure he could be there in the end.
"Fuck. Oh, fuck. Draco!" Draco's eyes snapped open. He turned to look for Harry, but the bed was empty. "Draco!" The shout was from somewhere out in the hall. Draco scrambled and ran out to the hall. Harry was lying in a heap, covered in sweat, panting. His eyes were screwed shut, and his hands balled into tight fists.
"I'm contacting St. Mungo's. That's it." Draco felt his entire body shake. His stomach revolted. He could barely keep any food down. Everything seemed to flash, and the room tilted. Draco ran back into the room, stumbling and falling onto the bed. He could barely focus.
"No, Draco. I don't need to go to the hospital. Draco stop!" Harry's voice was distant and almost foggy, but Draco could barely concentrate.
"Expecto..." How was he going to contact them? They didn't have a Floo Powder right now, and he couldn't just leave Harry. "Expe –" Clenching his eyes shut, he saw Harry laughing and smiling, his face clean. It was before they had the disease. He launched himself on a broom and waggled his eyebrows challengingly. Draco choked out a sob as he grabbed his wand tightly."Expecto Patronum!" A silver fox burst out of the tip of his wand.
"Draco, don't! Please stop..."
"Ha – Harry's hurt. We're at our apartment on Clerkenwell. I don't know what's... Please. Just come." The fox leapt off, disappearing in a second. Draco ran out of the room again, gasping for breath. He tasted the salt as tears freely fell down his face. But before he got out, he heard a scream. "Harry!" Draco sprinted, grabbing onto the doorframe for support. His hands violently shook, and he glanced down to see Harry groaning.
"Why did you call them? I just had an accident. I'm sorry." Draco nodded, and he leaned down, reaching over and around Harry in an attempt to prop him up. But he felt something wet. Pulling his hands away, he looked at them to see them stained in blood.
"Oh, fuck. Harry?" Draco looked down to see Harry's eyes fluttering shut. "Harry, no. Please, Harry..." Draco sobbed, grabbing Harry's hand and squeezing it tightly, as if that could somehow wake him up. "Shit. No. They're coming..."
The hospital was quiet.
"He's fine now," the Healer said, sighing. "I'm sorry."
"Just tell him I love him when he wakes up," Draco replied after a pause. His eyes were red and swollen; every part of him felt numb.
"You can stay overnight. Tell him yourself when he wakes up." Draco shook his head.
"I can't do this anymore." The Healer gasped, and her eyes closed for a moment. When she opened them, Draco could see repressed the tears. How many tears had been shed over this? Draco just couldn't handle any more.
"You're leaving him? He needs you now more than ever." Draco knew the words were true. It wasn't easy. He had told himself time and time again that he was the one who was dying, withering away. But he just wished he was the one dying.
"I can't do this anymore. I can't watch him lose. I love him, but each day I feel more and more lost." She nodded understandingly.
"I can't say I approve. But I understand. Still, if there's any way you can stay..." She glanced over at Harry, who was sleeping peacefully on the hospital bed. His lips twitched into a smile, and he remained oblivious to what was going on in the world around him.
"I'm sorry. Just tell him that." With that Draco turned around. He couldn't even look back. He had always been the coward.
"How long have you been here?" Hermione asked. She tried to reach for Harry's hand, but Harry flung his arms out, throwing her off. She jumped, afraid, but her heart broke when she looked up to see Harry. He broke down and fell apart like ashes scattered in the wind.
"I don't remember. I want Draco. I want my boyfriend. Where the fuck is he? I'm dying! Where's Draco?" His voice cracked as the anger flooded away from his voice. It turned into a whisper void of any hope.
"Just fuck me. Punish me." Draco bent over the bed. The room was dirty. It reeked of piss and semen. The man reached for a condom, and Draco turned around, hissing. "No!"
"You could get infected."
"Good. I want to! Why is he the one dying? Why don't I have it?" The man regarded him for a second.
"No, I'm heartless." Draco laughed bitterly, and grabbed the man closer. "Now do it." He gasped as the cold tip of a wand jabbed into his chest.
"No. Out. I'm not going to do anything with a madman."
Their flat seemed oddly abandoned. It had taken over two weeks after Harry was admitted to the hospital for Draco to summon enough energy to go back. The walls were dotted with pictures of them together before it had happened. Draco felt his throat go dry as he picked up a picture of them outside on a picnic. It was a year after they had gotten together. Harry was laughing at something Draco had said, and Draco's smirk melted into a smile. His eyes burned.
This was all the past. It would never be like this again. "I'm dying," Draco said aloud, wishing it was true.
Hospitals were too clean – sterilised, almost – Draco decided. The white walls seemed to press in, and with each step closer to the door, his heart seemed to hurt more. And yet each step it surprised Draco. How was it possible that there was room to hurt more? He felt like he was holding his breath. His chest felt like a squeezed balloon, and he wasn't sure how much more he could take before he popped.
The door creaked as he pushed it open. Harry was facing the window.
"Draco." His voice was hollow. The sound of his name so emotionless – Draco almost turned around and ran.
"I'm sorry." What was he supposed to say?
"Oh, you're sorry." Harry flipped over. His cheekbones jutted out. In fact, he seemed brittle and breakable. He had to have lost at least ten kilos in the past five months. How was that even possible? He looked like a skeleton already. "That explains it all."
"What do you want me to say?" Draco's voice came out a raspy whisper.
"I want to know why you abandoned me. I'm dying, you bastard. Dermatitis, lesions. Every day I wake up thinking, 'If Draco were here, at least I'd still have a point in still being alive.'"
"And you think I can just see you die? I love you."
"Oh, that's precious." Harry attempted to laugh, but the dark sound grew into a cough. "Fuck off."
"Just leave. Fucking leave!" When Harry started howling and the Healer came rushing in, Draco turned and ran. It was what he was best at, after all - simply running away.
"I'm sorry." Draco sat on Granger and Weasley's couch. Weasley looked like he wanted to kill him, but Granger sighed.
"I don't forgive you. I can't. But I can understand why. Every day I think about leaving and never coming back. I just don't do it." Draco nodded, feeling almost tired as tears rolled down his cheeks. "I know you love him, though. And he knows it too."
Draco didn't feel anything. If anything, he felt as if he was dreaming. It couldn't be real. That simple pine coffin couldn't hold Harry Potter. How many times had he pictured Harry's funeral? Yet now that he was here, he couldn't grasp the concept; Harry couldn't be dead. Not his Harry. There had to be some sort of mistake.
"He'd want us to celebrate his life, not mourn his death," Granger said, swallowing thickly. "He'd probably yell at me for crying..." She turned away, and Weasley grabbed her hand, leading her down the stairs to their seats.
"I'm sorry," he muttered, excusing them.
Nothing made sense. The massive crowds of people tore him down all over again, yet somehow managed to give him some sense of joy and meaning. Of course Harry's funeral was not going to go unnoticed. But he had never expected to see so many people. It was as if the entire wizarding world had turned up to say goodbye. And everyone had something to say about how he wouldn't give up, how brave he was, how lucky they had been to have him.
Draco doubled over, trying to keep on breathing. Everything felt like it might explode within him. And when he heard his name, it jolted him.
"Perhaps Draco Malfoy would like to come up and share a few words..." Draco had known something like this was bound to happen, yet what was he going to say? He had left his Harry all alone when he had needed someone to cling on to. He had proven himself heartless.
Draco muttered apologies as he scooted through the crowd. His fingers curled and he felt the moisture on his palms. The air suddenly seemed thick, and he gulped it in. His wand moved to his throat and he muttered a spell to amplify his voice. But when his mouth opened, it felt too dry to speak. People glared at him as if they truly despised him. And perhaps they did. It wasn't as if Draco could blame them.
"Hello." His voice was raspy, and he cleared his throat, feeling a balloon blow up inside of him. He whimpered as his eyes screwed shut, and the sound echoed. "There's not much I can say." A few people nodded, but people were too polite to tell him to go sit down. Still, people like Finnegan and the Weaselette sat in the crowd, looking as if they were on the verge of doing just that.
"I know I fucked up. Harry was brave and kind, and..." Draco sobbed quietly and his eyes blinked rapidly. Did he even deserve to cry after what he did? "Well, I really miss him." There was a small murmur from the audience, and Draco coughed, averting his eyes. Every bit of him felt wrong, and every bit of this funeral felt surreal. Draco choked, and his sleeve went up, pressing against his eyes.
"I miss talking to him and seeing his face. And I just wish I could say sorry."A feel people shifted. A part of him felt ripped out, lying about in a dumpster somewhere to be lost and forgotten. "I know a lot of you don't forgive me." The next part came out as a whisper. "I don't forgive me." With a quivering breath, he continued.
"But I loved him more than anyone else. I just wish I had the courage have shown him that. The only comfort I can take is that he didn't die alone. Still, he died calling my name. I just couldn't respond." Draco shook his head. None of the words were making sense. How was he supposed to tell them how he felt? These weren't things he could tell himself, let alone a mass of people. Draco turned around and collapsed to his knees. His wand fell out of his hand, and rolled down the steps.
But Draco simply put his head down on the wood and wept. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry..." Draco felt a hand on his shoulder, but he ignored it. His eyes ached, and he wondered how it was possible that he was still crying. Every knot of pain built up, and soon he felt like he was overflowing or drowning.
"Draco?" Draco looked up to see Granger standing above him. Her eyes were swollen, and she reached down to help him up. He could barely remember grabbing her hand or getting up. Somehow walking faded from his memory as well. Just one minute he was clinging onto the coffin, and the next he was sitting down in a chair. His head felt like it was going to explode.
"I'm so sorry." But Harry couldn't hear him anymore.
Draco opened his eyes. With a small handheld broom, he wiped off the dirt and grime that had accumulated over the past two weeks. And then he sat down by the grave, leaning his head on the cold marble. His eyes looked over at the field of grass; in shadow that green was almost the same as Harry's eyes. But then the sun peaked out from behind the clouds and lit it up. It was almost beautiful.
"So, it's been three years," he said, and he pulled his head back. A small wet patch dotted the tomb, and Draco rubbed it away with his hands. He had come every two weeks since the funeral. And now it was the anniversary of his death. Of course, Harry probably wouldn't have wanted him to continue dwelling on it, as Granger constantly told him, but he couldn't let it go.
"Not much has happened. Oh, umm, Rose is going to be a year old in nine days. Oh, and Dean and Seamus are still together. They got over their little tussle." He laughed, but the sound barely passed his lips.
For a moment he waited, trying to imagine what Harry would say. He could picture the smile in his head, and the way the green eyes would shine. Harry would lay his hand on top of Draco's, and the two of them could have even sat there in silence. But this silence was only because Harry couldn't reply.
"I think we're close to finding a cure. At least, we're working towards it. I know I've been saying that for a while, but I promise we really are close," Draco said, rubbing away more tears. "I promise." Every day he went to the hospital. He had quit his job with the Ministry and had relearned everything to become a Healer.
If there was one thing he could do to help Harry, it was to make sure nothing ever happened again like what happened with them. Even if he saved just one person walking out on the other... No one would have to die or be afraid. They wouldn't have to live in hell, their minds filling with enough "what if" and "if only" statements to drive a man mad.
They had progressed. There was a chance that they had found something. It wasn't like AZT, merely prolonging their lives, but an actual cure – an end to the pain and misery.
And Draco felt forgiven.