Story Title: A reality, an illusion

Pairing: Slash Male/Male.

Characters: Harry Potter, Draco Malfoy, Harry/Draco

Genre: Romance, Hurt/Comfort, Angst, Tragedy

Rating: PG-13

Warnings: Angst, Main Character Death, Hurt/Comfort, Implied Violence.

Disclaimer:All characters depicted in this story belong to J.K. Rowling and friends. I am in no way claiming ownership. I am just borrowing them so I can play, promise to put them back when I'm done.

Author Notes: This started as my homework for Philosophy class, in which I had to avoid using names and pronouns because they'd kill me if I wrote about a relationship between two men. After handing it in, I decided I needed to edit it so the story was properly written. I had no beta, so all mistakes are mine. Just before you start reading, go fetch your Kleenex box, you'll need it! When you're done, please comment with your thoughts whatever they may be, they're highly appreciated. Without further ado, here you go. Enjoy!

Everything was tragedy. Everything was suffering. Everything was pain. To that black-haired and green-eyed man's life made no sense. He had lost everything: his family, his friends, and most importantly, the love of his life.

He remembered the day they met with crystal clear clarity. How could he forget that summer morning at Madame Malkin's? They hadn't been friends while at school, quite the opposite, in fact. Throughout their school years they rowed quite a lot, insulted each other, had fist fights and even threw hexes in the hallways. But with time, he realized there was much more between them than a petty schoolboy rivalry, it was kind of passionate. Every time emerald eyes met silver ones passion fired up, the air became heavy and tinged with electricity.

Years went by and their friendship was a well kept secret. Harry knew that if their friendship became public he could lose it all. His friends would never understand it, his family wouldn't even try, blinded by their hatred, and society would judge him. How was it that he, their hero, Saviour of the Wizarding World, could be friends with the lowest of scum, a Death Eater's son?

It wasn't his fault. He had never had a choice. He had done everything he could to save his family and what little honour and pride he had left. He had done foul things, yes, but he never really meant them. He had been no more than a pawn in it all, dragged into it by his father. The situation had made him do the unthinkable, but it had all been for him family. Nobody had ever given him a chance. Everyone thought he had been a Death Eater trainee since the day he was born. Oh, how wrong they were! He had never agreed with his father. Yes, he was a proud Pureblood and a Slytherin, but that did not mean he wanted to go killing muggles. He was never given a choice.

But Harry didn't care. When they had gone back to Hogwarts to finish their NEWTSs after the War, he had offered Draco a truce which in turn made them become friends. Every time he looked into Draco's stormy gray eyes he saw someone who understood. There had never been someone who cared about him, who taught him things, who loved him. Then all of a sudden he was a wizard, had money of his own and was surrounded by friends. It was all too good to be true.

With his new friends along came his adopted family, his beloved Weasleys. The war was over and few times had he been so happy, except he wasn't. Little by little, he had fallen in the claws of love: those silver eyes had him swooning, and the platinum blonde hair seduced him without difficulty. His pointy features and alabaster skin were a dream, and his aristocratic demeanor had him fascinated. Draco was like a fallen angel, and he was his. He just could not understand how his friends and family could hate such display of perfection.

He confessed his love, and those silver eyes he adored so much filled tears; he had never seen them so alive. He was happy, and he felt he had to share his happiness with his loved ones. As he had expected, Draco was rejected. His friends were in denial and tried to make him change his mind, but he was sure that blonde angel with silver eyes was his whole world.

His friends and family tried talking to him, gifted him books and scheduled Mind Healer appointments, but they didn't understand. That silver-eyed creature was the love of his life, his everything, what made him truly happy. He asked them to give Draco a chance to prove he had changed, that the snobbish Pureblood prat was gone; to show them that they had a healthy and loving relationship, and they agreed. But alas, it didn't last long. Harry's only wish was for everyone to get along, and like so many other times, his wish did not come true.

Eventually, they made him choose. With a broken heart full of disappointment, he said goodbye to the people with whom he had spent the best years of his life, the ones who had promised to support him and be there always. In the end they weren't, but Harry was happy nonetheless.

After an unstable life filled with difficult situations and emotional crises, Harry had found his peaceful place. The simple fact of waking up, spending the day with and going to bed snuggled in the arms of his love was enough. He felt ecstatic. He felt complete. He was living a dream. He felt the world was finally paying his due to him, that after going through so much shit this happiness was his price, and he very well deserved it.

Both Draco and Harry were happy. They spent time together, laughed, cried and had fun together, fought each other, but everything was part of the incomprehensible bundle of joy that was their life. Because they were together, they belonged to each other. Together, they could conquer the world. It felt too good to be true. Every day, Harry wondered if he deserved it, and after a look at Draco's angelic face it was enough for him to decide he really didn't give a toss, he was happy. That was all that mattered. Anyone else would have claimed such state of happiness was either impossible or the result of a spell gone wrong, that being with someone couldn't produce such effects unless under the influence of a love potion, but to Harry, it was.

Every time he encountered any of the ones who had called themselves his friends the interactions were awkward and uncomfortable. They shot him disdainful looks and glared at him, rejection, hatred and repulse evident in their eyes. They felt Harry had betrayed them by choosing Draco over them, but he thought that if they had been true, loyal friends they would have never made him chose.

One morning, he woke up to a non breathing Draco. His lips were blue and the once gorgeous silver eyes were dull, having lost all the life and light from them. On his face was that smirk Harry had learned to love. It was his birthday. Harry was frantic. He started crying desperately, hysterical sobs going out of him when he found a letter with his name on it on the bedside table. Through tears, he could see it was done in Draco's elegant handwriting. It read:

To the love of my life,

Ever since we met, I have admired you. I had this strange fixation with you, always aware of what you were doing. When I was home at the Manor I did nothing but talk about you. It was "Potter this, and Potter that", you weren't Harry back then. Mother and father used to say I was obsessed with you.

As years went by, I realised that my fascination with you ran deeper than a mere infatuation, it was pure attraction. I did not know how to get close to you, I was scared. Then, you took the first step. It was the happiest day of my life. You, so different from me, were talking to me. Harry Potter was talking to me. Not the THE Harry Potter Saviour of the Wizarding, but Harry Potter the boy I fancied. Saying my situation was not flattering is being kind, as we both know that we were going through some difficult times. Knowing that, you still made the impossible and risked yourself every time you came to see me. I yearned for those moments, and when you were finally there I was the happiest.

The day you told your friends and the Weasleys that you chose me over them I could not believe what I was hearing. I remember thinking, "This has to be dream!" How could I deserve something so good? For some time, I was convinced that it was some ploy you and your Gryffindor friends must have schemed to embarrass me, that at any moment you were going to break my heart. But the longer we were together, the faster those dark thoughts dissipated.

I loved you with all I had. I knew it wasn't enough, that you deserved everything and more, that I was going to hurt you, but I didn't know how to give more. I never knew what real happiness was until I really met you. I thought happiness was being a wealthy Pureblood living at a huge manor, going to all the important Quidditch games and attending fancy balls with the minister. I was wrong. You were real happiness. Being loved was real happiness. You illuminated my life, a spark of light in the dark abyss that was my life. You made sense of the mess I was, gave me back my will to live.

I don't want you to cry, please. I could never stomach seeing you cry. I understand that you are furious with me right now, but I could not tell you. Probably by now you know I could not escape an early death due to my poor health, but I could not even imagine how you would have felt if I had told you. You would have gone mad, going into hysterics, ranting and pacing the room while running your hands through your already messy hair. I am smiling at your antics and crying at how heartbroken you must feel. You have this saving people thing, giving up your happiness for others', and this time, I was not going to allow it.

Seeing you happy made me happy. Merlin, everything about you made me happy! I am pretty sure you hate me now and wish I was there so you could scream your throat raw at me. I can picture you perfectly asking me how I could do it, if I really was that selfish and cold hearted to cause you such pain. I just wish you knew how hard it was, how it took all of me not to tell you. I could not stand seeing you worry over me. After you left everything you had for me, your friends, your family, your life, I could not take away your happiness. I reckon I still did.

I am not asking for you to forgive me since I do not deserve your forgiveness. I do not forgive myself. I want you to know that I did it thinking it would spare you the suffering. As I am writing this I realise how wrong it was of me to think that. If I had told you, we could have done so many things differently, that you would have been at least warned if not ready for my departure. I did not want you to worry.

I am writing this with the moonlight coming through a gap in the curtains. I look down and you are sleeping soundly beside me. Oh, how I am going to miss you. Some birthday you'll have, I am so sorry. You look so peaceful, so beautiful, that is why I never found it in my heart to tell you. When you fell like it, open the drawer of my bedside table, I got you a little something for your birthday. I know it is not much, but I could not leave knowing you did not have it. Would it be inappropriate to wish you a happy birthday? Maybe it is, but I was never known for my tact.

Please, stop what you are thinking right now. I know you are blaming yourself, thinking of what did you do wrong. You did nothing wrong. You have done more than enough for ten lifetimes, and did not deserve more worries. I was happy to make you happy, and now that it is too late I see what my death will do to you. Whatever you are thinking, you must go on. Go back to your friends, to the Weasleys, love again. Please understand I did not want things to change between us. You made my life take an unexpected turn; you showed me that happiness was not just feasible, but achievable too. After spending what was left of my life with you, I felt I had no other purpose in life than to make you happy, and you have no idea how much it kills me to know I failed in the end, that I hurt you.

Harry, baby, I am so sorry. I know you wanted a long a happy life together, and you deserve it. My last request for you is to go out there and find some nice man who will love you and whom you love. Please, don't stop living because of me. I knew your plan for us was to get bonded and have children, but you can still have that. I am deeply sorry we never had the opportunity to do all the things you wanted us to do, I really am. Before I forget, do not kick yourself over not taking care of me. There was nothing to be done, my death was imminent and unavoidable, but know that I was never in pain. Physical pain that is, I was dying at the thought of how much I was hurting you.

My Harry, my love, my life. I love you with every fiber of my being, my soul and my heart. I love you so much it fills me to overflowing. I love you so much it hurts. You made me the happiest man on Earth, and despite my mistakes I do not regret even the tiniest one for they all led me to you. You were the best thing in my life, my everything.

I am sorry. I love you.

Your Draco.

After he finished reading the letter, he could not hold the never-ending stream tears. He was a wreck. His life had been turned upside down in just a night, and he was at a loss regarding what to do. The pain was too much, the sorrow unbearable, the frustration infinite. He was angry at himself, angry at Draco. How could he not notice something was wrong with his Dragon? Some lover he was! How could Draco be so much of a selfish prick to do that to Harry? How could he have left without saying goodbye? Harry wanted to kick himself in the balls. Hard. The last thing he had said to Draco was that his feet were cold, not even a 'goodnight', not an 'I love you'. Now he was gone forever and could not hear Harry anymore. He cried a silent apology, hoping that wherever Draco was he would be able to hear it.

He got up and stumbled to Draco's side of the bed, opened the nightstand's drawer and saw a leather bound notebook. He took it and went back to his side of the bed and sat next to Draco's lifeless body. When he opened it, a brand new stream of tears attacked him. It was like taking a bullet to the heart. It was a scrapbook filled with pictures of his and Draco's time together. Harry was dumbstruck. Not only did it have wizarding photographs, but beneath each one was a footnote in Draco's handwriting. In every photograph, they were happy, laughing, enjoying each other. Harry shook his head and hugged Draco to him, rocking them on the bed. His love was gone, his best friend, his life. Now he had lost it all. He didn't know how much time he was hugging Draco. It could have been minutes, it could have been days. Either way he didn't care, because his angel was gone.

On the last page was a photograph on the both of them at a park, holding hands and just grinning stupidly at each other. There was one last note: "This is my last gift for you, Harry. For you to remember how happy we were, how much our love meant. For you to always remember me. With all the love I possess, your Draco."

Before now he thought his worst birthday had been one where the Dursleys had beat him to unconsciousness for asking about a cake, he had been four. Today, he thought that was a walk in the park. He would take a round of hundred Cruciatus curses and still the pain would be less than the one he felt now. Happiness had turned into a lie, nothing good ever lasted. What was the purpose of life now? He had been naïve enough to believe that happiness was everything, he could not have been more wrong. He was sure his life was some sort of sick joke everyone laughed at. Everyone being entertained at his expense. He had come into the world to cover a specific function and suffer along the way, not to be happy.

It seemed as if that thing was being miserable. Everyone he loved had died on him. His parents, Sirius, Remus, Cedric, Fred, just to name a few. He had nothing left. Happiness was an illusion for the helpless, a flick of hope. For him, it was nothing but a terrible disappointment, a lie, a stab through the heart. Life had no sense if you could not be happy, and since happiness was nothing more than an illusion, there was no reason to live.