For my dearest Laura.

Happy birthday, darling! You deserve this fic more than you can ever imagine. You're always there to put a smile on my face and to cheer me up when I'm down. Most of the things I post are because you've given me confidence to post them.

Because, m'dear, we're not living on borrow time; we're writing on borrow faith.

This is for you because you introduced me to this wonderful pairing, and now, we're Co-Captains.



"fall into me"

A loud pop causes Charlie to look up from his book. Standing in the middle of the kitchen is Draco. He is paler than usual, and he's shaking. That alone is enough to make Charlie get up and make his way to him. He stands next to Draco, who is just staring towards the living room. Charlie summons chocolate, and whispers, "Here, eat this."

Draco, however, doesn't move to take the chocolate from Charlie's hand. It takes several long moments before Draco's head snaps up to meet Charlie's eyes. "It was worse than I remember," he tells Charlie without any prompting. "I thought I experienced it all the last time I was there." He averts his gaze. "But I kept hearing Mother call out Father's name in that empty voice."

Charlie places the chocolate on the counter because it's evident that Draco isn't going to eat. "What happened, Dray?"

"He didn't care," Draco growls. "He didn't care that she loved him so much that she didn't want to live without him. He didn't care that she didn't care about me. He didn't care that he's the reason our family is in shambles. He didn't care," he repeats. He slams his fists against the counter in anger.

But as quickly as the anger comes, it's gone. He just looks defeated. It makes Charlie want to wrap his arms around Draco and shield him from everything, but he knows Draco doesn't want that. Instead, Charlie just stands there, waiting for Draco to continue speaking. "Even after he tore our family apart because of his ideals, she still loved him. She loved him so much that she didn't want to live. She wouldn't live for me. I needed her, but it wasn't enough for her."

Draco shakes violently. "I need her."

Charlie places a hand on Draco's cheek and forces Draco to look at him. "I know, my dragon. I know," he whispers softly. Draco's steel eyes meet Charlie's blue ones. Charlie sees the anger and the hurt swirling in them. It makes Charlie's heart hurt for the young man in front of him. He know all too well about loss and grief. "But you'll get through it. We'll get through it together," he corrects himself.

He brushes his lips against Draco's softly, hoping to convey comfort. Draco takes all the comfort that Charlie has to offer, weaving his fingers through Charlie's red hair. Draco pulls Charlie closer, holding on to him as if he would fall otherwise. Charlie wraps his arms around Draco waist, ensuring that if he did fall, Charlie would be there to catch him.

A/n – so many thanks to my wonderful wife, Paula, for beta-ing this for me. OTP boot camp: prompt – calm (more implied like calm down)