a/n: wow. okay. hi. so, this was actually one of the first chapters i planned out and i can't tell you how many times i completely changed it, but i think i'm relatively happy with it now. i should also warn you that this wasn't proofread very thoroughly. and lastly, i'm sorry for saying it would be up yesterday, because that was a lie. i'm sick and busy. but here you go. (sidenote: i like reviews.) oh, and no, i can't explain why there's apparently no one around in the middle of the campus on a beautiful spring day. i just can't.

What We Take; How We Win
Chapter Five

The sun is brighter than Draco thinks necessary. He uses his bony hands to shield his eyes, unsuccessfully attempting to remember when he was last outdoors. It's cool outside but not cold, and his Slytherin robes feel heavy in the breezy air. He isn't sure what season it is. He hopes it's spring.

The ground is wet like it rained recently, so Draco is careful not to step in muddy spots even though it seems to take ages to navigate his way to the Quidditch pitch this way. Time seems to be rushing past him, while he takes baby steps, and he's not sure he'll make it to the future in time. He's not sure he wants to.

As he approaches, he sees Harry sitting in the middle of the pitch. On the ground. Oh, no. There is no way Draco is sitting in the mud: he still has some pride. However, when he reaches speaking distance and annnounces this, Harry merely smirks and remarks, "Ah, theres the Draco we all know and love."

Draco Malfoy's heart does not flutter at the idea of Harry Potter knowing and loving him.

Draco Malfoy is not at a loss for words after Harry Potter uses "Draco" and "love" in the same sentence.

And when Harry grabs him and pulls him to the ground, laughing, Draco Malfoy definitely, definitely, does not stop breathing.

He's sprawled out in the wet grass, and before he can register this and straighten himself out, he looks up and is captivated. Above him and just to the right are the greenest eyes he's ever seen. Framing those are perfect black paintstroke eyelashes. The sun glints off the thin silver glasses that are perched on a slightly crooked nose. Theres a pearly white smile under the nose and it's crooked, too. But what most takes Draco's breath away, even more than the brilliant emerald eyes, may just be the hair that tops it all off. It's dark and messy and sticking up in every possible direction. Draco doesnt like it, per se. He doesnt like messes. But it just looks so soft, and it occurs to him that if he could run his fingers through that hair, he could die happy.

That's when he realizes he's staring.

Pulling himself together and sitting up, he tries his best to scowl but it probably isn't very convincing because Harry chuckles, which kind of irks Draco and reminds him that he's covered in mud.

"So. What exactly is it you want, Potter?"

The smile fades from Harry's lips as he speaks. "I want to talk to you."

"So talk. My clothes are filthy, thanks to you, and I'd like to spend as little time as possible in your company..."

He can feel the mud on his skin and it's driving him crazy.

"Yeah. Okay," Harry stutters and seems to struggle to find the words he needs, which almost makes Draco smile, except he's mad so it doesn't.

Harry apparently settles on the words he wants to say, for he continues: "I want to give you a chance to do the right thing. Don't leave yet, prat," (Draco had made a move to stand up), "Listen to me. Look... I can see you're having... a shit time, lately... And I want... to help."

"And just how do you expect to help me, Potter?" Draco's genuinely curious.

"I don't know. But just, let me try. I know we're enemies and all that, but I really don't want to kill you. Or see you killed. Or get killed myself, for that matter," the last sentence is quiet, almost a mumble.

He's not sure why, but Draco's temper completely flares at this, full-power, and in that moment this unexplainable rage is coursing through him. His voice reflects this.

"How many people have you brought out here? To try and convince them to switch sides?"

"What? None, I-"

"Fuck you. Why would you even think I'd want to come over to the joyous land of Gryffindors and Mudbloods? Did you think I'd just smile and skip over to join hands with Granger and Weasel and sing happy Muggle songs, and everything would be fine?"

"MALFOY. SHUT UP AND LISTEN TO ME."

Much to his own surprise, Draco shuts up and listens to him.

"I am going to kill Voldemort. I don't fucking care what you say, or what you think. But before I kill him, he's going to kill tons of other people for no good reason. And his stupid mindless followers are, too, and then they'll spend the rest of their lives rotting away in Azkaban."

"You really think you can beat-"

"Draco, do you want that to be you? Rotting away in Azkaban?"

"I don't have to sit here and listen to this-" Draco starts to stand up again, startled when the other boy quickly pushes him back down, and even more startled when he remains on top of Draco, pinning his body to the disgusting ground.

The grey eyes look up at the green ones, both equally surprised.

"Do you?"

"...No?"

Harry just looks at him. "So let me help you."

"I don't want your bloody saving. Potter," Draco murmurs.

"I know."

Up close, Harry's eyelashes are a lot less like paintstrokes and a lot more like wings. Especially when the sun is shining on them like this.

And maybe they are wings, because when the two boys' lips somehow end up entwined a moment later, softly, carefully, yet deeply... Draco is sure he's flying.

(Let the records show that Harry Potter's lips taste like heaven, if heaven is a beautiful afternoon lying on the ground, covered in mud, kissing a boy you despise.)

Harry is the one who pulls away. And when he does, the blond boy just mumbles, eyes still closed, "Ugh... I hate you..."

Whether he hates him for the kiss or for pulling away, or for everything else, neither of them knows.

Still, Harry smiles. "I know."

Draco doesn't move or say anything else for a while, just lays there on his back on the mushy ground, eyes closed to block out the sun and everything else. His mind is a mess. After some amount of time - maybe a minute, maybe a day, he doesn't know - he breaks the silence.

"Potter?"

"Yeah?"

"What season is it?"

"Uh, spring. The beginning of spring."

Draco smiles to himself. I knew it.