Summary: The first time they entered the Forbidden Forest, Draco abandoned Harry out of fear. But that wasn't the only time they entered the forest together. Times change, people change, and hearts are forever altered.
Rated: T for language
A/N: I'm not a huge fan of Drarry, but I was watching the First movie the other day and this idea just popped into my head and wouldn't leave me alone. Hope you enjoy! PLEASE REVIEW!
"Wait til my father hears about this," Draco spat out, flashing his lantern around every inch of the ground. His skin was paler than usual, given the circumstances. Or maybe that was just from the darkness. Whatever the reason, Harry didn't bother over-analyzing his nemesis.
"If I didn't know better, Malfoy, I'd say you were scared."
"Scared, Potter? Don't be ridiculous- what was that?" His head whipped around, eyes wider than usual. Harry listened intently for a few seconds before determining that is was nothing and shrugging his small shoulders. Malfoy rolled his eyes and picked up his step, masking his fear with annoyance.
When the two boys stumbled upon a hooded figure bending over a dead unicorn, drinking it's blood, Draco didn't think twice about Harry. He turned and ran away as fast as he could, Fang rushing after him.
Harry didn't expect anything better from a Malfoy.
"Is it true that you fainted, Potter? I mean, you actually fainted?"
Harry allowed Hermione to pull him away from Malfoy and his antagonizing sneer. He had nothing to be ashamed of. He didn't expect a Malfoy to understand, though.
"Hold up, guys, I need to...uh, do something!" Harry was wandering through the brightest area of the Forbidden Forest with Ron and Hermione when he suddenly felt like his bladder was going to explode.
"Yeah, yeah. Go empty yourself, mate." Ron laughed unashamed at Harry's deep blush. Harry left them quickly, hoping Hermione hadn't heard his best friend's remark.
After Harry did his business he began walking back to his friends. That is, until he heard a loud thump. It sounded as if someone had fallen. Harry followed the sound, over a fallen branch and through a thick pile of thorns, and was shocked to see Malfoy slumped over on the dirty forest floor.
He leaned over the other boy and examined his pale skin. This time there was no trick of the light. Malfoy was definitely more pale than usual. Harry whipped the dirt off his clothes and spotted blood on his left hand from a thick thorn stabbed into his upraised palm.
It wasn't poisonous. Maybe he had an allergic reaction. Or maybe he fainted.
Harry lifted the boy up and into his arms. Maybe Draco wouldn't do the same for him, but he couldn't just leave him here. It wasn't right.
Harry knew he shouldn't be in here right now. He hadn't been in the Forest for some time, and Umbridge's decrees made it hard for him to get out. He knew that if he was caught he'd have hell to deal with, but he didn't care. Besides, he had his cloak. Umbridge would never know.
"I should turn you in right now," a voice whispered behind him. Harry spun around, his feet crunching on frost-bitten leaves, and faced Malfoy.
"Wouldn't you get yourself in trouble, too?" Harry turned around and walked away, heading toward the thestrals. He missed those weird, unique creatures.
"Course not. I'm in her little club, if you recall." Despite Harry's coldness toward the other boy, he could still hear footsteps following him. He kept walking for another half mile, slightly surprised when Draco was still walking with him, until he reached the thestrals. The were huddled up in a group of about thirty, picking at the ground for food. Harry reached in his bag and pulled out some food wrapped in plastic.
"What are you doing, Potter?"
Harry didn't reply to the snide tone. He ignored the underlying curiosity and ignored how confused he was in favor of his original reason for entering the forest. He began to unwrap the plastic slowly, pulling out shreds of raw meat.
"Ugh, what's the matter with you, Potter?" Harry jumped a bit when he realized how close the other boy was to him. He shook his head and threw a thick shred of meat to one of the thestrals. He smiled softly when the big thestral pushed the piece over to the smallest in the group, the latter of which gobbled the meat up. Their scurries where not lost to the blond, who couldn't see the creatures.
"What's going on?" His voice shook a bit despite his obvious attempt to sound brave.
"Thestrals. They can only be seen by people who have seen death. I come here sometimes to feed them."
"Why?" Draco sounded genuinely shocked.
"Because," Harry said, throwing a few more pieces. "It feels good to take care of others. Haven't you noticed?" It was a trick question; he doubted Draco had ever taken care of anyone else in his life besides himself.
"You want to feed them?" Draco nodded silently and Harry handed him some meat. Draco listened for a few seconds before throwing the food out where he thought the sound was coming from. Upon hearing Harry's laughter he looked over, his face cold.
"Sorry, you completely missed! Here, let me..." Harry grabbed for the boy's hand, placed a piece of meat between his slender fingers, and stood close to him, pointing his hand in the right direction. Draco allowed Harry to guide his hand and he was happy to hear the frantic sound of scuttling and observe the soft smile on Harry's face that meant he had done well.
"Thanks...Potter." Draco gripped his fingers for a second before he released his hand and wandered away. "Hurry back to the castle, or I'll be forced to report you."
Harry watched Draco's retreating figure with a smile on his face, a smile that had nothing to do with thestrals.
Why Slughorn thought it was a good idea to spent the day in the Forbidden Forest on such a lovely spring day, Harry would never know. Still, he, Hermione, Neville and Ginny were cutting through thorny bushes and swatting away mosquitoes left and right.
"Psst, Potter." Harry locked eyes with Malfoy, who he had seen entering the forest shortly before their group. He looked from Malfoy to his friends, unsure of what to do. Ginny was the one who helped make up his mind.
"Go, Harry. Better than sticking round here." She gave him a knowing smile and pulled Hermione and Neville in the opposite direction. Harry sucked in a deep breath and made his way over to the blond.
"What do you want?"
"Last year you showed me the thestrals. I figured I might return the favor and show you something I personally enjoy visiting in the forest." He looked around them before grabbing Harry's hand and leading the way. They walked in silence for what seemed like forever, Harry's hand sweating too much from his nerves. They soon came to a clearing with bright patches of light everywhere and a beautiful stream glistening down the slope.
"I like to come here and think. Makes me feel like life is really simple...but it's not." He dropped Harry's hand and sat on a large rock. Harry joined him after a few moments of uncertainty.
"I suppose you figured this out a long time ago, though," he said to Harry. The younger boy shrugged and stared down at his hands.
"I suppose I did. When did you figure it out?" He watched Draco kick off his shoes and stretch out his legs so that his feet were submerged in running water.
"I suppose...it was the day I became attracted to you." Harry looked up, shocked, to see Draco leaning closer. He pulled away slightly.
"Malfoy, we can't. Everything about this is just wrong!" Draco placed a hand on his shoulder and pressed his soft lips against Harry's ear.
"They don't call it the Forbidden Forest for no reason."
Harry didn't know how they had come to this, but he couldn't bring himself to regret kissing Draco Malfoy that day.
"Dammit, Potter, slow down!" Draco stopped and leaned over, heaving in deep breaths. He stood up and began running again.
"Come on, we aren't too far away." Despite his reassuring words, Harry's voice sounded like it had to be miles away. Draco kept running, though, because he had no intention of letting the Potter boy get away from him without finding out this big secret.
He pushed passed the thick foliage and ran straight into a stream. His pant legs were soaked in mere seconds and Harry's laughter filled the forest.
"Sorry, I shouldn't laugh. But I thought you of all people would remember this area!"
Draco looked around and felt a smile pull at his lips. The forest floor was thicker than he remembered, the moss spread over the rocks, and the stream had gotten much bigger, but it was still the same place. He walked over and stood next to Harry, who had the most peculiar look in his eyes.
"Do you remember what you told me right here?"
"I told you many things," Draco waved it off, toying with the other man. Now it was Harry's turn to roll his eyes, a trait he had picked up over the years from Draco.
"About life, Malfoy."
"Oh, now that you mention it, I do recall something. I do believe I told you that I never realized how complicated life was until I became attracted to you. Why?"
"Because," Harry took Draco's hands in his and kissed them both. "I never realized how simple life could be until I fell in love with you."
Draco sucked in his breath so hard that he felt as if he were running through the forest all over again.
"I complicated everything, including the one thing that never needed to be complicated: love. I'm not saying it's been easy, but honestly, what's so complicated about it? It's just you and me. Nothing else matters. Only you. And I want to spend the rest of my life making you happy."
Harry knelt down on one knee, pulled a box out of his pocket, and before he could say anything Draco fell next to him and pressed his lips to those of his lover.
"Yes." Draco whispered.
It was that simple.
This was actually heading in a very angsty, sad ending, but I changed my mind. I decided that I wanted them to be happy :)
PLEASE REVIEW PLEEASEE!
A/N: I'm in the mood to write. If you'd like, give me a prompt and a pairing and I'll write a one-shot if I like the idea. :) Thanks for reading!