Chapter 15 – The Boy Who Lived
I wake up the sound of the anthem playing overhead, signaling the Tributes to pick up where we left off. I blink my eyes open slowly so that I can adjust to the light before looking down at my hand with a tired moan. While I was sleeping, I kept it facing palm up on my lap so that the medicine wouldn't rub off. When I look to see how well it healed there's almost nothing here. It slightly hurts and I can't stretch my hand out all the way yet, but for the most part the wounds closed into scars that look like they might eventually fade away over time. I smile in relief. Now I need food and water. It'd be nice if Snape sent me some water – I need that right now more than food, but why hasn't he? Maybe it's because he knows I can find it on my own or that I'm getting close. Either way, I don't think I can last much longer if I don't find any soon.
After I secure the medicine in my backpack, and wrap my hand in more bandages, I start to make my way down the tree, with much more ease then last night, only I can't ignore the weak shaky feeling in my legs from lack of energy.
My stomach is growling and I feel like it's echoing the whole arena. I wrap my arms around my waist to keep it quiet, groaning softly in aggravation. Harry where are you? He can't be too far, but I feel like all I've been doing is going in circles. Harry won't kill, I know that (aside from the Hufflepuff he saved me from at the blood bath). So maybe he's hiding. But where? If I can't find water I don't think I'd be able to find him.
Getting aggravated I reach into the side pocket of my backpack and munch on the leaves Pansy gave me hoping they'll satisfy my hungry at least slightly. Only, now, I'm instantly reminded of her and start to wonder what lie she's making up to cover up my absence. God, I hope she's okay. What if Goyle found out somehow that I escaped or that Pansy helped me get away? He'd murder her. All I can hope for is that she found some way to get away from him.
I also haven't seen Ron in a while. I wonder if he's suspicious of Hermione's death. He, above all people is aware of our history and the rivalry between Mudbloods and Pure bloods. He probably thinks or knows I killed her – but whether or not he wants to believe I was forced to do it is his decision. I can't let him find me. I don't trust him and I know he doesn't trust me.
It feels like hours now, and I'm still walking. "Harry…" I rasp. My voice sounds like I haven't used it in days. I want to yell his name, but I can't risk it – I'll only give myself away. I swallow hard, feeling how dry my throat is. "Water…" I look up to the sky with utter defeat in my eyes. "Snape…" I hope he can see me. I stand here and I wait for him to send me something – anything, but nothing happens. Sighing, I suddenly feel my heart leap in my chest at the sound of rustling in the nearby bushes of the clearing. My head pricks up in alarm, and I instinctively run behind a nearby tree for cover. I still don't own a weapon so my only option is to hide. I watch the bush carefully until a small rabbit hops out from it. I breathe in relief. Oh, good, it's just a rabbit… a rabbit! Food. Where there's an animal there's water – that rabbit needs to drink too right? There's no way I can kill it without a weapon and I don't think my legs are strong enough to chase it. Besides even if I did, running will only tire me out even more. I need to save whatever energy I have left.
I drop my shoulders in disappointment and let the poor thing go. "Better hide if you see me again." I say as it hops away. I must be getting close to water – maybe that's why Snape won't send me any. I can just hear him, "Don't be lazy, Malfoy, you're getting close. You want something this badly, work for it." Yeah, okay, Snape. He scolds me more than my own stupid father does.
I step out from behind the tree and continue my search, only to freeze when my boot lands in something wet and sticky. I hesitate, but eventually look down with caution, afraid of what I might find beneath me. I'm standing in a small puddle of…Blood?
There's a trail here. My heart sinks to my stomach. "Harry?" I whisper aloud, as I kneel down to examine it closer. Carefully, I follow the droplets of blood, so I don't lose sight of it. I find a few tuffs of brown fur on some broken branches nearby. It's definitely fur because for one thing it's brown – not black, and it's thicker and shorter then Harry's hair. Plus there's a lot of this stuff scattered around the clearing, like some kind of animal – something big was shedding. Ahead of me I see something that makes my heart sink even further. Harry's jacket. It's on the ground, near a thick tree root that lumps from the ground, not too far from me. My breath hitches with fear as I bolt over to grab it. I know it's his because it's a bit too small to be Ron's. On the back, the Gryffindor symbol has three ribbon scratches that tear right through the material – like thick claw marks. This thing is pretty much soaked in blood – Harry's blood. He's hurt and from the looking of it he's hurt pretty badly. I swallow hard and hold the Jacket to my chest as my eyes scan the clearing hopping I'd see him somewhere.
Fur, broken branches, blood, scratches… Harry what were you fighting?
Anxiety is building up within me by the second and I can't hold it in anymore. "Harry?!" I say aloud, keeping the jacket close to me. He could be dying – I don't care who hears me.
I run out of the clearing, with whatever strength I have, and suddenly hear something that sounds like a trickle of a fountain. My face brightens slightly when I find a long river running past me. Water! And next to me, about a few yards away, a giant boulder. The water doesn't even matter to me right now. "Harry…" I know he's here somewhere – he must be. If he's hurt he won't be able to get too far from here anyway, and he'd be needing a place to rest. I should look around.
I take a step forward, only to stop short when I hear a loud crack behind me. The sound is way too loud for it to be a stick. It sounds like a giant tree branch has just been snapped in two. Then I hear growling. My eyes widen and my back pins up straight in alarm and fear. Something big is behind me, but I'm too terrified to turn around and face it. I can feel heavy, warm breathing over my shoulder and it sends a shiver down my spine. Hesitantly, I back up into something thick and furry. I freeze, feeling my chest and shoulders rise and fall quickly with the beat of my rapid heartbeat.
I swallow hard, feeling my throat tighten with nervousness. I'm reluctant to turn my head, but I'm too afraid to do anything otherwise. I'm beginning to feel my body tremble and hear my breathing coming out in hitches. Finally, I turn my head with caution. Behind me must be what Harry was trying to fight off. A giant bear – not like a normal sized bear, this thing is so tall and wide that it can almost tower over the trees like a skyscraper.
I jump back in horror at this monster and hit the ground, unable to keep my footing. There's no way I can fight this thing off. It's probably about 100 feet taller than me and I have no weapon. It comes towards me with its massive paw raised high, opening it wide jaws. Its teeth are like razors. Lolling its pink tongue back, a loud roar to emanates from its throat, spewing drool and saliva off the corners of its lips. This thing looks about ready to gut me open. I back up and roll out the way when it brings its paw down. It bellows in pain when it fails to hit me, instead smacking the hard, rocky ground I was just on. I jump to my feet to run and that's when I notice this bear has one eye missing. It also has a few bald spots and ruffled fur. If this is what Harry was fighting – which I'm pretty sure it was – he managed to hurt it at least. But then if this bear is hanging around here then there's no doubt: Harry must some somewhere close.
My brief thoughts are cut off when this creature takes a step towards me; its humongous hind paw digging into the dirt, drool dribbling from the sides of its curled back lips, staring at me hungrily. The bear opens its huge jaws to roar again, but just as I'm about to run a spear flies through the center of the bear's head, cutting off its battle cry. I freeze in horror, and back up in panic at the tree behind me, pressing my back against it so hard, like I might go through it.
The bear's arms drop to its sides and its body falls at my feet, blood gushing from its mouth and head. I stare down at its huge face as its dead; black eyes glare up at me – like it's still alive and might jump up from its frozen position if I make any sudden movements.
"Took you long enough." A familiar voice says. Even still, I flinch and look up to see Harry walking over to pull his spear out of the bear's head.
"Harry…" I breathe, winded, still full of shock.
The bear's head is so big it goes up to Harry's waist and when he pulls out his spear only more blood oozes out with some brain guts mixed in. I turn away from the gore and watch as he sticks the spear into the ground beside his foot. The animal's body suddenly begins to emanate black smoke on various spots of its pelt. Soon the smoke consumes it and the bear's corpse evaporates into nothing by black mist, leaving its pile of blood behind in a puddle
"I thought you would never-" I don't even let Harry finish and run into his arms, hugging the life out of him.
"Harry, I was worried sick about you! Goyle used me to track you down and – you're jacket… I thought the worst…"
He hugs me back tightly, "Hey, I'm okay. I'm still alive. It's gonna take more than a few mutts to kill me."
I pull back and look into his perfect green eyes. "Harry, what if I didn't find you-"
"I'm The Boy Who Lived, remember?" He says boldly, despite his slight hunched posture.
"Let's make sure it stays that way." I say. I hand him his jacket I still have clutched in my hand, "You might want this back." I say, eyeing his white shirt, "Just so you're not seen more easily without it."
He shakes his head and turns around, so his back is facing me. My heart lurches at what I'm seeing. The scratches on his jacket match the ones on his back: three ribbon claw scratches that cut through his shirt. They're deep and bloody, like he recently got them.
"Harry." I say tightly, holding up my bandaged hand to touch him, but I pull back, thinking I might hurt him unintentionally.
"Bad, isn't it?" He says, trying to hide his worry, but I can tell he'd scared. He turns back to face me, "It hurts like hell. You wouldn't happen to know how to fix cuts like this, would you?"
"Well, it needs to be cleaned first." I say thoughtfully, "I'm not a doctor, Harry, but I can try."
He smiles gratefully at me and notices my hand. His eyes change to concern as he takes it in his own hand to examine it a bit more closely, "What happened to you?"
"Goyle." I can't tell him about Hermione. Not yet, "He… cut me. I got some medicine from Snape, though and it feels slightly better. I can probably use it on your back – it helped me."
Partial worry leaves his face but he still looks nervous as he brings his green eyes up to face my gray ones. "You look more pale than usual. Come on, you need water."
I follow him to the river nearby and sigh with relief.
"Where were you all this time?" I ask him as I hold my water bottle under the water, waiting for it to fill.
He points over to the big boulder in the distance, "Over there. I heard that mutt attack you so I ran over."
I take my bottle out from the river once it's filled and take a few sips, even though I want to chug the thing, I know I'll only make myself sick. I haven't drunk anything in days and having too much water at once will just come back up a few minutes later.
He watches me in amusement and I finally swallow. "Hungry?" He asks me. My eyes blink in shock and I almost choke. "You have food?"
He laughs, "Yeah. Just a little bit though."
"I don't care. I'm starving!" I follow him as he gets to his feet, immediately getting some of my strength back.
I still can't get over that I found him. As soon as I saw his jacket I thought the worst. Then he saved my ass again. Maybe he's right – maybe it does take more to kill him. I know that from experience. I've only seen him grow up for almost eight years. Everything about him is perfect. He's still the same, yet he changed so much.
"How long were you with Goyle?" Harry asks me as he sits down under the huge rock. I'm a bit nervous to get under this thing, thinking it might roll on top of me. Even still, I sit next to him, just happy to have him back with me even if it's only for a little while.
"About two days." I say as he hands me a piece of bread from his back pack. I don't ask, but I'm guessing a sponsor must have sent him something.
"Wow." He says in shock, "How did you manage to live?"
"I got out just in time. Actually, Pansy let me go."
"Really? Huh…" He says before leaning back against the boulder.
I chew slowly, almost forgetting I haven't eaten in a while. "You sound socked?" I say, once I swallow.
"A bit. To be honest, I never thought she would let you go. She just sort of seemed… hooked onto you. It's almost like the Games changed her."
"What? She hasn't turned traitor." I say cautiously, not knowing if Harry means this in a different way. I know he doesn't really like Pansy and Pansy doesn't really like him, so I'm not sure if he's is trying to put her down in his own little polite way. I know he wouldn't do that, because he's Harry. I just want to be sure before I make any assumptions.
"No, I mean – well, you know how people say the Games change everyone for the bad?" I nod. "For Pansy it seems to be the other way around. At first I just assumed she never really knew what she wanted or what she was fighting for. In the end she picked survival for others above survival for herself. So in my metaphorical mind, she changed for the better."
I smirk as I realize he's right. He's always right. "Yeah." I say, "I guess so."
"She seems like a pretty good friend, Draco. I mean to you, at least."
I nod. "The best." I sigh, "I hope she's okay."
"Well, it's not over yet. She can still win."
I nod, just to humor him, "Right." I still don't know how to tell him that I want him to win, or a plan on how we can make this happen. I'm guessing the Games will come down to either Harry and Goyle or the three of us. If that happens, I have to die – or at least hold Goyle off and weaken him so that Harry has a better chance of surviving. Either way, I know I'll end up dying. Besides, there can't be two victors.
Suddenly I remember Harry's back, "Still need that medicine?" I ask him, placing the bread down.
He slowly sits back up, away from the boulder like he's in pain, but doesn't say so. I can see the tightness in jaw. He's trying to look strong, but I know he's holding back the urge to admit that he's in pain. "Yeah." He says weakly.
I pull my backpack off of my back and dig through to find the medicine I got from Snape. When I take it out, I eye Harry nervously and suddenly realize something. "Uhm…"
"What?" He asks, in the cutest and stupidest way, blinking his green eyes at me questionably.
I point to his dirty and bloody white T-shirt. "That'll need to come off."
He shrugs, "Okay." He says, like it's nothing. I swallow hard as I watch him. I fight the urge to help him since he grunts in pain as he tries to pull it over his scratched up back.
I sigh, "Hold on." I say, reaching over to help him. "Stay still." I carefully pull his shirt over his bloody cuts, but the blood is beginning to dry, making the fabric stick to his skin. He grunts with pain I jolt back in worry, freezing in panic, thinking I hurt him, "Easy, it's okay." I try to sound calm for his benefit.
"It doesn't feel okay." He winces, "Ow."
Finally I get the shirt over his head so I can have a better look at the cuts. They're deep, very deep. If this doesn't get fixed professionally, it could definitely get infected. You wouldn't need a doctor to see that.
"H-How does it look?" He asks nervously.
"Want me to sugar coat it?" I say with a hint of sarcasm in my tone.
"No. Be honest."
"Okay. Bad. It's too bloody, Harry, it needs to be cleaned first. Plus there's some dirt wedged in here." I say as I pick a bit of dirt out of the blood.
He nods, "Okay. Can you do that?"
I roll my eyes, "Well, I'm going to have to, Potter. Get up."
"Back to your old self I see." He says as he gets to his feet slowly, using the boulder to support him.
I try not to stare at his tan and muscular torso and get to my feet as well. I bit my lower lip and turn away to pick up Harry's shirt so I can use it to wash his cuts. Now, with the medicine and shirt in hand, I follow him slowly to the river, staying close to his side just in case he loses balance. He's trying to act like he's not in pain, but I can tell he's suffering.
Carefully, he sits down by the river and I lean down to soak his shirt and squeeze out the extra water. "Okay. This may sting." I say as I unroll to the thing like a towel.
He slowly turns his bloody back to me and I try to fight back the worry at how bad these cuts look. I really don't want to hurt him, but I know I will unintentionally.
"Okay." I breathe, trying to make him brace himself. Gently I press the wet shirt to the three ribbon scratches and he grunts in pain. I grit my teeth, trying not to pull away as I see him hurting. Being as careful as possible, I rub the shirt against the cuts to whip off some blood and I hear him yelp. "Ow, I know, I know. I'm sorry, Harry."
"Don't worry." He breathes. "I'm fine."
I soak the shirt up again, but this time I squeeze less of the water out so it can clean better. He feels stiff when I go to touch him again and I feel my heart beat faster, feeling his muscles tighten under my hands. "Almost done, Harry, hang in there."
The cuts are looking better, now without all his blood in the way, and once I clean the wounds, Harry's nerves seem to calm down slightly. I watch at his shoulder blades loosen under his skin, and even though he can't see me behind him, I still turn away when my face flushes up. Finally I move the shirt to clean in between the scratches to get rid of some extra blood. When that's finally done, I feel like I can breathe in relief. If I didn't get here in time, this would have gotten infected. I try not to think about how bad it would have been if that were the case.
Now, I try to dry my wet hands against my cargo pants and reach for the medicine container when they're dry enough.
"How does that feel for so far?" I say as I take the cap of the medicine off and use my non bandaged hand to get a lot of pinkish stuff on it, so that medicine can cover up most of his cuts.
He sighs, "A bit better. What are you doing now?" He says as he tries to turn his head over his shoulder to see what I'm about to do.
"Does it hurt?"
"It shouldn't. But just be prepared if it does."
He nods and turns back around. Gently, and slowly, I rub the stuff to the first scratch. At first he stiffens and winces in pain, but quickly resigns, assuming it'll hurt at first but doesn't. I'm guessing it starts to feel better.
His skin is warm and soft under my touch and I smirk slightly at the feel. His muscles are tight with anxiety and to be honest, if these scratches turn into scars, I wouldn't mind it. Scars are hot… besides, this is the first time I've ever gotten this close to him and I like it.
Once that cut is finished, I soak my head in more medicine to work on the second one. He seems a lot more relaxed and doesn't tense up as much. "Almost done. How are you feeling?"
"Better." He says with a sigh. I smile lightly when his shoulders drop with ease. "What is that stuff? It's like I can't feel much of anything."
"I don't know, but it helped my hand. Snape sent it to me, so I'm guessing it was expensive."
"Do you get that many sponsors?"
Maybe keeping a conversation would be better this way because I can't stop staring at his perfect, sexy, tan, muscular back, thinking about how good his skin would feel against my own. I need a distraction.
"Not many. Just one." I say, trying to concentrate on the medicine and not how soft he is. I can feel my face getting hot. Stop it!
"Do you?" I ask, trying to keep the conversation going.
"I got one, also. Remember that bread I gave you? Someone sent that and a whole bunch of other stuff. I still got a lot left. I'm trying to salvage anything I can."
"Oh, Good." I say, "Because I can't hunt."
He's not laughing out loud, but by the slight quiver of his shoulders, I can tell he is inaudibly, "I'd love to see you last a week in the Muggle world. Do you think it's hard to not use magic?"
I swallow hard and feel my heart lurch. Right away I shift my right arm against my leg. "It's just different. I'm not use to it." I try to sound convincing.
"It's not too bad."
"Right. You grew up with Muggles." I say and finally pull my hand away from his back, "You're done!"
"Awesome. How's it look?"
I blink and stare down at his skin again, "Perfect…" I mutter, almost mesmerized.
"What?" I say a bit startled, "Oh, I said, it looks better."
"Great!" He starts to stand up, this time with much more ease then before. I rinse my hand off quickly, just to get the extra medicine off before screwing the cap back on. "We'll leave your shirt to dry overnight."
"So… I can't wear anything?" He asks.
Secretly, I wish he wouldn't. "Well, nights are usually freezing. If you want, I have a bunch of bandages. Once they're on you can use your jacket." I'd give him my shirt, but… I can't take my jacket off. I grip my right arm as I think about it.
"Okay." He says and we walk back to the boulder.
I use a combination of the bandages Harry has in his back pack and the rest of mine. Since I'm just realizing that I'm running low, but Harry has yet to even use his.
I carefully wrap them around his chest and torso so that they will stay in place and keep the scratches safe. Finally, he puts his jacket back on and zips it up. The bandages show a bit through the claw marks on the Gryffindor patch, but Harry looks much better than he did when I first saw him.
"Better?" I ask with a slight smile.
"Much. Thanks! You're good at this healing stuff."
"Nah, not much. Pansy's pretty good at it and I kind of picked up some pointers third year when she took care of my arm." I look away shyly, only to have his finger grab my chin gently, tilting my head back up. "Draco. Thank you. You saved me." I can see the respect and softness in his eyes.
I smile weakly, "And you saved me." We start to lean in, but something pulls me back, like I can't bear to look at him. I don't know why I'm so ashamed and nervous to kiss him or tell him that I love him, but… I just am… I'm worried, but I think it's because I'm scared of my father. No, I know I'm scared of him. He'll disown me if I get closer to Harry. We already got close enough and I'm feeling things for him I shouldn't be feeling. This isn't right… is it?
"So, uhm," I say, seeing the disappointment in his green eyes. "What did you call that bear before?"
"The bear?" I can hear the dismay in his tone. Something in me tells me to just grab him and kiss him, wrap my arms around his body and never let go. But I fight that urge even though it's tearing me apart. "It's a mutt – muttation. They're just animals that have been engineered by the Capitol. The Game Keepers throw them in to make the Games harder."
I swallow hard at the thought, "Will there… be more of them?" I hope not. Those things are huge, if there are any more of them – especially a pack that'll only be impossible to escape from.
"I dunno. I've only meet the one I killed before. They're could be more but," – he shrugs – "I'm not sure."
"Right." I say. Suddenly I jump at the sound of the cannon. "Pansy!" I whisper, staring up at the bright sky like the sun will sink below the arena, darkening the sky into night to announce the fallen Tribute. Only that doesn't happen. All I can do is stare like it will.
It better not be her. Please… please don't make it be her.
AN: Chapter 15! So we get Harry back, finally and find out what kind of mutts there are. I'm pretty sure I got the whole mutt thing right. I wanted to use bears instead of dogs just to make it harder and different. Anyway, I hope you like it. Hopefully in 16 we'll find out who the fallen Tribute is. Enjoy!