Title: Anthem of the Angels
Summary: In the days after Hogwarts and in the midst of the war, Harry is surprised to find himself developing feelings for Draco Malfoy. At war's end, he is devastated when an unknown curse threatens to separate them forever.
Warnings: violence, character death (not Harry or Draco), non-linear timeline, lots of angst
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters and I make no money from this work.
A/N: Written for the 2011 round of hd_holidays at LiveJournal. Inspired by the song Anthem of the Angels by Breaking Benjamin. This story is canon up until HBP and the only difference in that case, is that Draco was not the one chosen for the task to kill Dumbledore (so alas, no Sectumsempra bathroom scene!). DH is disregarded entirely and Harry, Ron, and Hermione don't begin the hunt for Horcruxes until after they finish their 7th year.
"White walls surround us; no light will touch your face again
Rain taps the window as we sleep among the dead
Cold light above us; hope fills the heart and fades away
Skin like it's winter as the sky returns to gray
Days go on forever but I have not left your side
We can chase the dark together; if you go, then so will I
There is nothing left of you; I can see it in your eyes
Sing the anthem of the angels and say the last good-bye
I keep holding on to you, but I can't bring you back to life
Sing the anthem of the angels and say the last good-bye"
Anthem of the Angels by Breaking Benjamin
31 May, 2001
Every inch of Harry's body ached. A part of him longed to just head home and crash in his bed. He knew, though, that if he did so, he would not emerge for the entire weekend. There was no way that he wasn't going to go by St. Mungo's before he went home.
Auror training, while it was his dream, was also something of a nightmare. The classes made Hogwarts look like primary school and the exercises were intense, often just as dangerous as when he'd been fighting Voldemort himself. But as much as he wanted to rest his weary bones, he would never be able to relax until he checked on Draco.
This was a journey that he made every day, and one that he would continue to make until something changed. He ignored the few stares as he made his way down the hall to the Janus Thickey Ward. Since he'd been making this trek every day for the last year or so, the gawking had lessened somewhat. Still, Harry knew the Wizarding world's obsession with him would never go away, not completely. It was something he was trying to learn to live with.
"Harry. You're right on time, I see."
"Hullo, Morag. Has there been any change?"
Morag MacDougal, the night shift healer, gave him a sympathetic look. "No, still the same, I'm sorry to say."
The little spark of hope that always flared on his way into St. Mungo's faded as it always did. He had the same conversation with Morag every day. Harry refused to lose hope, however. Even if Ron and Hermione thought he was wasting his time, nothing would ever make him give up.
"I'll just go in and see him for a bit, then," he mumbled.
"Certainly, Harry. Take your time," Morag said softly. She stepped aside to allow Harry entrance into the room she'd just exited.
Harry had to take a moment to find the courage to go into that quiet, sterile room. Thankfully, he managed to dredge it up from somewhere. The room was dimly lit, but the patient's blond hair still caught the small amount of light, and glowed with its own special luminescence. Harry took the chair that was sitting beside the bed, and spun it around, straddling it backwards. He held on the back of it, and rested his chin on his hands as he gazed down at Draco.
Just a few years ago, it would have been Malfoy, but Harry could only think of him as Draco now. He reached out with one hand and gently traced a finger down the length of Draco's arm. When Harry got to his hand, he covered it with his own, interlacing his fingers with Draco's and giving a squeeze.
"I miss you," he whispered.
3 August, 1998
"Harry! You're here!"
Ron's excited yell roused everyone currently at Number 12 Grimmauld Place. Several Weasleys came pounding down the stairs and embraced him enthusiastically, nearly smothering and deafening Harry in the process. It took Hermione scolding them to get them to let Harry go, and only then could he tell who was who.
Ron, Fred, George, and Ginny grinned at him and Harry couldn't help grinning back. Dumbledore had been insistent that Harry stay one last time with the Dursleys after his final year at Hogwarts, for the blood wards. Harry had thought that he might be able to avoid it, what with the Headmaster's death at the end of his sixth year at the hands of a desperate, newly-marked Theo Nott. Unfortunately, Albus had made his wishes known to Minerva McGonagall, and she had made sure that Harry followed them to the letter. But now he was eighteen and he never had to go back to Privet Drive again.
"Come on to the kitchen! Mum made a cake since you couldn't be here on your actual birthday," Ginny said as she took him by the hand and began pulling him along with her.
Ron, Fred, and George all began talking at once, asking Harry how he'd been, had the Muggles been perfectly terrible, had he gotten the chance to practice Quidditch any since they'd left Hogwarts.
"Ron! Don't be ridiculous! How could he have played Quidditch when he was in the middle of Muggles? The more important question is, did you get your NEWT results yet, Harry? I've been going absolutely mad waiting for mine! I don't see why it takes so long for them to let us know-"
All the noise and craziness just made Harry laugh, because even this pandemonium was better than being at the Dursley house.
"Cease this racket at once!"
The six of them froze at the sharp words. Harry was stunned. Surely that could not be Professor Snape in the kitchen? At Grimmauld Place? He had hoped to never see his hated Potions instructor ever again. Deep down, he knew that was unrealistic, as Snape was also a member of the Order of the Phoenix, but it would have been nice if he could have gotten through his first day away from hell without seeing the old bat.
"Honestly, Professor. You should have realized by now that this is normal volume for Gryffindors. I believe you'd have to stun them to quiet them." That utterly bored and superior tone could only be one person, and it was probably the second-to-the-last person Harry wanted to see.
And now Harry's horrible day had just gotten worse. What the hell was Draco Malfoy doing at Order headquarters?
"Just you try it, Malfoy, and see what happens to you!" Ron shouted, his hand hovering near his wand.
"My, was that a threat against Mr. Malfoy, Weasley? Someone who has sought asylum within the Order? What would your mother say?" Snape said with a sneer.
"She would say all of you need to stop aggravating each other, and get back to your chores!" Molly said as she came out of the pantry, a bag of flour in her hands. "That includes you, Severus. You're as bad as the children sometimes."
Snape glared at her so fiercely, Harry was surprised Molly didn't burst into flames.
"Harry! Dear boy, so glad you've finally made it! Oh, come here and let me give you a hug!" Molly said. She set the flour down and walked over to him with open arms.
Harry was nearly smothered again as Molly hugged him hard. She finally released him and stepped back to look closer at him. She put her hands on his cheeks and pursed her lips. "Too skinny, by far," she murmured.
Harry flushed in embarrassment. It would have been bad enough just in front of his friends, but did she have to say so in front of Snape and Malfoy?
She looked up at her children as they snickered. "And what are you lot doing down here? I told you to finish cleaning out the bedrooms on the second floor! Hop to!" she ordered.
"But, Mum, Harry-"
"We only wanted-"
"We were going to have cake-"
"Nonsense! Upstairs, and don't let me see you again until your chores are done!"
The Weasleys moved towards the stairs, grumbling the whole way, Hermione following behind quietly. Harry started to go as well, but Molly pulled him back.
"Not you, Harry. I know those Aurors that dropped you off didn't feed you. You can have some lunch and then go up and help."
"Sure, Mrs. Weasley," Harry said.
He sat on one side of the table, trying not to look at Snape or Malfoy who were sitting on the opposite side. As Molly set a plate piled high with sandwiches and a glass of pumpkin juice in front of him, Harry looked up at her to say thank you. She patted him on the head, and turned to whatever task she'd been doing before having to corral her children.
As he picked up a sandwich and started to take a bite, his gaze met Malfoy's. To his surprise, the other boy was just staring at him with a bland expression, no sneer in sight.
"Erm, did you want one?" Harry asked, as it was all he could think of to say. He wasn't sure why he said it, except that Malfoy didn't seem to be his normal obnoxious self, and Harry felt this weird obligation to be nice to him in return for that favor.
"No, thank you, Potter. I've already eaten," Malfoy said, and he still wasn't sneering.
Harry wasn't quite sure what to make of this situation. He took a bite of the sandwich and chewed silently for a few moments. After swallowing, he felt the need to break the silence again. Besides, he was awfully curious about how Draco Malfoy had ended up at Grimmauld.
"So, how did you come to be here?" he asked hesitantly.
"Is the brave Gryffindor scared of sharing space with Slytherins?" Snape asked, his sneer firmly in place.
"No," Harry said, his face flushing again. "Just curious, is all. Last I heard, you were ready to join up alongside your father," he said, directing his reply to Malfoy.
"It may come as a shock to some people, Potter, but I am not simply a miniature version of Lucius. I informed him that I would rather not take the Dark Mark, and he showed me the door."
"He kicked you out? His own son?" Harry asked.
"He could have killed me. He should have killed me. That he didn't is my only proof that he does still love me. I'm sure he took a few curses from the Dark Lord for my defection," Draco said stiffly.
"I'm sorry," Harry said softly.
"Yes, your grand display of sympathy has truly touched all of our hearts, Potter," Snape said sardonically. "Come, Draco. There is still plenty of work to do in the lab."
"Yes, Professor," Malfoy said as the two of them rose and headed for the door. Malfoy turned and gave Harry one more look before they exited the room. When he saw Harry's eyes on him, he gave a little smile that wasn't quite a smirk and said, "See you around, Potter."
Harry finished off his first sandwich, and reached for another as he contemplated the fact that Draco Malfoy, the boy that had started every sentence back at Hogwarts with 'my father says', had defied his sire and was now apparently working for the Order. Not to mention the fact that he and Malfoy had just talked for at least five minutes without getting into a fist fight! Life was just downright strange sometimes.