Harry blinked as he woke up.
His vision was blurred without his glasses, but he'd seen that ceiling enough times in his time at Hogwarts to know he was in the hospital wing.
"He's awake!" a familiar voice said, and when Harry looked up he could make out a bushy-topped blur that was Hermione.
Reaching to the bedside table, he picked up his glasses and slipped them onto his face. Instantly, everything shifted into focus. He could see Hermione and Ron and Ginny, as well as Professor Dumbledore and Madame Pomfrey at the foot of his bed.
"Wh-what happened?" Harry croaked. "Why am I here? Did I fall off my broom again?"
Ron opened his mouth to answer, a look of pure rage on his face. Dumbledore cut across him before he could speak.
"Maybe Mr Malfoy is the best person to explain this to you," he waved a hand to the side of the bed, and Harry turned his head, confused. Sure enough, a very distraught looking Draco Malfoy was sitting in a chair beside Harry's hospital bed. His knuckles were white with gripping the arms of the chair too tightly and his hair stuck up as if he'd been running his hands through it. His usually pin-neat clothes were untidy and unkempt; his school tie was loose, his black robes in a dishevelled heap on the floor, his white shirt sleeves rolled up to the elbow. Where his left forearm had borne the Dark Mark for the last twelve months, it was now blank and red raw, as if the flesh had been scrubbed with vigour.
"Wh-what happened?" Harry asked again, addressing the question at Draco this time. Draco shook his head, evidently unable to find words. Madame Pomfrey spoke up for him.
"Mr Malfoy saved your life, Potter," she informed him, in the brisk way she always spoke. "You're incredibly lucky he got you here when he did."
"Y-you saved my life?" Harry sounded disbelieving.
"I'd rather not explain in front of people," Draco's voice wasn't like it usually was, arrogant and pompous. It was rough and wet and cracked, as if he'd been crying. Dumbledore was the first to take the hint, and he got to his feet, leaving the hospital wing and silently ushering the others to do the same.
"Are you okay?" Harry asked, delicately.
"Do I bloody look okay?" Draco snapped. Then he sighed. "I'm better off than you are, at any rate. Do you not remember a thing of what happened?"
"I… I remember being in a room full of Death Eaters. I remember kneeling on the floor, not being able to move," Harry sniffed. "And I remember Voldemort being there. I-I remember you being there. And then he told you do something and you came and you knelt in front of me and you were crying and you said you were sorry and then… and then I can't remember."
"Do you read the Prophet over summer, Potter?" Draco asked. Harry nodded once. "So you know what happened to me around a month ago? How I was bitten on a raid the vampires carried out on my father's office? Well… Voldemort wanted me to… I don't know. Drink enough of your blood to totally immobilise you, I suppose. Make you an easier target for him. Except I couldn't. I don't know why, but I couldn't do it and I just sort of… at the last minute I apparated the fuck out of there and we were in the middle of some woods somewhere and I didn't know what to do so I just walked and we eventually ended up at school. You've been unconscious for a week."
"Oh," Harry swallowed.
"That's not all," Draco confessed. "I think I… I might have… by accident, like… but I might have sort of… well… claimed you."
"You… you what?" Harry sniffed.
"Come on, Potter, you've learned about Vampires. Don't make me go into it," Draco sighed.
"Well why did you… I don't…" Harry said.
"Look I didn't do it on purpose, Potter, and I don't like it any more than you do," Draco told him. "If it's any consolation, you don't have to do anything."
"What d'you mean?" Harry was confused. Draco buried his head in his hands.
"Look, when a Vampire claims a… a mate… they can never be with another person. Like ever. I'll just get more and more obsessed with you until my body realises it's being rejected. Then it'll lose interest in being alive anymore. I'll die, eventually, but don't worry. It won't affect you. It's unfair, I suppose. If you die, I do too. If I die, you carry on life as normal. Still. It doesn't matter. It's just gonna save me a lot of schoolwork, right?"
"What… what does being a mate entail?" Harry asked.
"I… I'm not sure," Draco didn't look up. "I know a Vampire has to feed from their mate. And they form this… this bond. It hurts if anyone else touches their mate. Physically hurts. But other than that, I don't really know."
"The biting… is it… does it hurt?" Harry asked, crossing his legs underneath him.
"A bit. You get used to it," Draco sighed.
"D'you promise not to try and change me?" Harry said, softly.
"What?" Draco's head snapped up. "You can't be serious, Potter!"
"Of course I am," Harry said, gently. "You saved my life, I can't very well sit back and watch you die, can I? I owe you one."
"I… well…" Draco said. "Look, Potter. I get that you're Harry Potter and you're the noble Griffyndor and you have to do the right thing and all, but I don't want you to feel obligated to do this. I don't mind if you say no."
"But I do. I've said yes," Harry informed him.
"Well… the sleeping arrangements will be tricky…" Draco began. As if on cue, Professor Dumbledore swept back into the hospital wing.
"Ah, Mr Malfoy," he said. "I'm glad you're still here. A bed in your room has been arranged for Mr Potter. He'll be joining you as soon as Madame Pomfrey deems him well enough."
"Your room?" Harry said, confused that Dumbledore hadn't called it the dormitory.
"I'm a social pariah now, Potter," Draco sighed heavily. "The people who don't hate me for being a vampire are the ones who hate me for saving your arse. I sleep in that old prefect's bedroom on the fifth floor. And… I suppose now you do too."
"Oh," Harry swallowed. "Okay. Cool."
"I suppose I should go," Draco go to his feet. "You'll need your rest. Oh, and Scarhead? This doesn't mean we're friends."
"Absolutely not," Harry agreed, as he watched the blond leave the room.
When he was alone only one thought circulated in his head.
What the fuck is happening?