Title: Cor Cordium

Disclaimer: J. K. Rowling and associates own these characters. I am writing this story for fun and not profit.

Pairing: Harry/Draco (preslash)

Warnings: Angst, mentions of torture

Rating: R

Wordcount: 2100

Summary: Tortured, and rescued suddenly by Harry Potter, Draco isn't about to trust easily. So Harry casts a spell that lets Draco see him.

Author's Notes: The title is Latin for "heart of hearts," and is the inscription on the grave of the poet Shelley.

Cor Cordium

"Malfoy, come on. I've got to get you out of here."

Draco woke with a gasp, shaking his head. He had dreamed of someone slamming his face into the wall over and over again—or, no, he hadn't dreamed, that had happened yesterday, hadn't it? He raised his arms in front of him before he thought about it, and heard the chains around his wrists clinking. He didn't even know what the people who had imprisoned him wanted. Something about his father's secrets, and Lucius Malfoy's political power, but his father didn't have any political power now, and Draco had spent the past year attending Hogwarts and then trying to restore the Manor. Why did they think that he was going into the Ministry?


Draco blinked, and he realized he knew that voice. Well, he should. It had been one of the ones that his captors had used to torment him, one of the faces they had assumed. Which meant this was another trick. He shrank from the Harry Potter crouching in front of him, his hands flying up again.

"Stop it, Malfoy!" Potter shook him hard enough to rattle his teeth, which was depressingly familiar. "We have to get out of here before someone realizes that dragon I made isn't real and comes hunting!"

"Sure we do," Draco said. His voice didn't sound as impressive as he'd wanted it to, but no voice did when it was hoarse from screaming. "Of course you're Harry Potter, and not a trick they're using."

Potter froze, blinking at him. Then he lifted his wand and laid it against Draco's forehead. Draco shivered and bowed his head, wondering what they would do to him for seeing through their disguises. It had been something he hadn't ever dared mention before.

"I don't see what choice I have." Potter's voice was ragged, and echoed in strange ways since he kept turning his head to look over his shoulder. "You won't trust me otherwise. Cor Cordium!"

Draco blinked at the tone of the spell, the words, the way that Potter's hands seemed to blaze with heat on his face. Had they given Draco a fever? Had they given the simulacrum of Potter a fever? They were mental if they thought that would encourage Draco to feel sympathy for him, as if—

The world around Draco turned red, for a moment, and he almost panicked, thinking they were submerging him in blood the way they had a week ago. But then the blood cleared, and he saw a golden landscape in front of him, grass lit by the sun of late afternoon.

Potter stood in front of him, facing a white tomb. Draco hadn't ever looked closely at it, but yes, he knew at a glance that this was Albus Dumbledore's, and that his enemies had chosen to show him some bloody weird shit.

Potter laid his hand on the tomb and spoke in a steady voice. "I promise that I'll do what I can to fight for the same things you did. But without the manipulation and the secrets. They didn't do any good, Headmaster. They really didn't." He paused for breath. "And you can hang onto the Elder Wand for me. Thanks."

Does anyone else know that, about the Elder Wand? The things I could do, the secrets I could buy, if I told someone—

But the scene blurred and changed around him, and Draco was in a different place, though still lit by golden light. Potter sat with his hands wrapped around a drink and his eyes full of laughter, in a pub, watching his two horrid friends dance clumsily in the middle of the floor.

Draco watched Potter, having less than no interest in the Weasel and the Mudblood. And Potter looked away now and then, and his hands tightened on his drink as though he had to keep them from reaching for someone else's hands.

He's lonely.

The insight had barely flashed on him before the sunlit world dissolved into red and green, and Potter was plunging through a forest of dim trees, pressing himself flat to the ground and wriggling on his belly as though afraid of who would find him. Draco had time to notice that Potter was much smaller than he normally looked, a child, before a hand reached out and grabbed the back of his neck.

"Mum and Dad said you had to come back."

The boy who pulled Potter out into the open was a lot bigger than he was, though Draco thought that bigness was almost all sideways rather than up. He shook Potter until Potter let out a weak little cry. Draco stared. Where was the Potter who would beat up someone like that or at least curse him and turn away with his friends?

Not born yet. Draco had heard the rumors about Potter living with Muggles, but there were always so many rumors about where he had been hidden away during his childhood that it was difficult to know what you should listen to. Draco hadn't listened to these.

He wasn't sure that anything would have told him the truth like watching Potter dangle from the fat boy's hand, though.

"Mum and Dad said you had to come back." The boy rattled Potter again, and then tossed him carelessly on the ground. "Don't make me chase you again." And he turned and stumped away, leaving Potter to pick him up and follow.

The colors mixed and bled, and became the golden shade they had been at first, though with more than a hint of green, and black. Draco saw Potter walking with his eyes closed, passing through trees, the Forbidden Forest. Was he seeing one of the times that Potter had sneaked out and got in trouble? Professor Snape had always ranted that Potter got away with sneaking out more than he was punished for.

But no, Draco heard laughter and a familiar voice from up ahead, and shuddered. Potter was walking to face the Dark Lord.

He did it with the kind of trembling smile on his face that Draco had seen his mother wear when she didn't want to burst into tears. But his steps were steady, and his fingers didn't even lock on his wand. He had something small clutched in his hand, but Draco couldn't see what it was before the scene changed again.

Potter sat at a desk, and stared at the parchment in front of him. Then he dragged a quill across it, and the words appeared in ink on the parchment at the same time as they appeared in blood on his skin. I must not tell lies.

Draco gagged. The scene wouldn't change, wouldn't let him look away from Potter, but he knew where this was, where it must be. Umbridge's office. Rumors had circulated about the kinds of things she made Mudblood students do during detentions, too.

Draco had laughed about it when he was fifteen. But he had been an idiot when he was fifteen. He thought most people were.

The scene ran away as though it was chalk with rain falling on it, and Draco was in the stands during a Quidditch game. He thought Gryffindor was playing Hufflepuff, but he couldn't be sure. The attention of the memory, and the spell, and thus Draco, was all for where Harry circled and danced in the air.

His mouth was open, his hair blew back, and if he had ever been in a detention with a professor who made him use a blood quill or suffered from the bullying of his Muggle cousin, there was no sign of it in the pure, heartbreaking exaltation of his flight.

He wheeled away into one of many spots in darkness, and Draco caught a vision of Potter writhing on his bed, mouth open as he panted. He had his hand down his pants, and Draco swallowed. He should be glad that Harry was covered. He didn't know how he would deal with a vision like that.

But he wasn't oblivious to the way that Potter arched his back, the soft desperate sounds as his hand worked himself faster and faster, or the way that he froze, shivered, and collapsed on the bed with a dark stain spreading above his fingers.

Draco might have liked to linger there, staring, and he wouldn't have named the reasons why even if someone pressed him. But that scene hurried away, too, and narrowed to the light of a single flame.

It was Potter, and he crouched in front of what Draco thought at first was a candle, except he wouldn't be cradling a candle between his bare fingers. His lips moved in what looked like a whisper, and then resolved itself into an audible prayer.

"Let me find someone," he said. "Someone I can trust, someone I can love, someone who trusts and loves me. I want someone I can trust with all my secrets, and they won't back away from me in horror and they won't expect me to save them all the time. We can just laugh and argue and eat together like anyone normal. That's all I want."

He blew out the flame, and the trace of smoke faded into the darkness, while the light seemed to linger in the brightest green eyes Draco had ever seen.


Someone was shaking him, but this time, Draco knew who it was. He opened his eyes and clamped his hands on Potter's arms. "I know you," he whispered. "Fine. I trust you. Let's go."

Potter nodded, and pulled Draco to his feet, and led him at a dead run through twisting corridors, around corners, down stairs, once up stairs, and several times pressed to freezing stone walls while pursuers ran past a few meters away. Potter would stare into the darkness for a long, heart-racking moment before he'd nod, and they'd run on.

And then they were coming up out of the earth, and Draco wanted to collapse when he saw Healers waiting for them with a stretcher. Apparently his legs followed the impulse immediately, because Potter was catching him up and murmuring into his ear, "Time to lie down later, Malfoy."

Then it was, and the stretcher was beneath him, and Draco fell asleep and dreamed of candles.

"Welcome back."

Potter wasn't the first one Draco had expected to see when he awakened in hospital, but he could accept it. He turned on his side and watched Potter with the same frank, undivided gaze that Potter watched him.

Potter tossed his head under it, and fidgeted, and finally stood. "Well, you look like you've recovered from your injuries pretty well," he announced. "I'll tell the Healers you're awake. See you, Malfoy." He started to move towards the door.

"How long have you been here?" Draco asked, his voice a whisper of breath, and not because it was hoarse.

Potter paused and looked back at him. "I—most of the time. I wanted to make sure that you were really going to be all right."

Draco smiled, and knew it touched his eyes. He reached his hand out. Potter stood there still looking at him.

He knows what the spell does. He cast it to reassure me that he really was who he said he was. Why is he holding back now?

But Draco could answer that question for himself, if he thought about it. Potter had no corresponding insight into Draco's heart. He had no idea how the sight of those memories had affected Draco.

What it had done was make him curious. And greedy. And hungry.

"I think I'll introduce myself," Draco said. "My name is Draco Malfoy." His hand remained extended.

Potter's breath caught. He stared at Draco with eyes that had some of all those different colors of light dancing in them that Draco had seen in his memories. And Draco began to wonder about other reasons that Potter might have come after him, and stayed with him when he was unconscious in hospital.

Potter took a step towards him. Another. Draco waited, although his hand was trembling now.

"Harry Potter," Harry said, and took his hand. "Nice to meet you."

The End.