maxine_chan: (HP - HarryDraco paint by Sherant)
Maxine ([personal profile] maxine_chan) wrote2011-09-02 02:19 am
Entry tags:

FIC: All the Answers - Chapter 18

Title: All the Answers
Fandom: Harry Potter
Rating: NC-17
Pairing: Harry/Draco
Word Count: 5800
Disclaimer: It's not mine. JKR is the brilliant mind behind HP.
Notes: This is a post-HBP 7th year fic that is not compliant with Deathly Hallows at all. Many, many thanks to my awesome beta, [ profile] lksnarry1!
Summary: Horcruxes, former enemies showing up out of nowhere, and the usual teenage drama on top of it all - Harry isn't sure how he's ever going to make it through all this. But since when has conquering evil ever been easy?

--> All chapters can be found here. <--

previous chapter

~~Chapter 18~~

Harry’s lungs burned with the continued effort of holding his breath, but he ignored the demanding need for air as best as he possibly could and tried not to let panic overtake him. Dobby and Kreacher would pull through, they would, he only had to wait a few more seconds. Just a couple more seconds!

He’d lost track of Draco when the water level had finally overcome them, and he was kind of regretting it now. If these were going to be his last few moments alive (they weren’t, damn it), it would have been nice to have someone there beside him. Harry opened his eyes a little and peered through the murky water, trying to find the other boy. He spotted Ron and Hermione first, the two of them holding each other tightly as Ron banged uselessly again the invisible barrier holding them in.

Yeah, Harry thought somewhat hysterically, having someone like that would be nice. He’d rather not die alone. Or just not die at all, that would be bloody awesome.

An air bubble escaped him and Harry clamped a hand over his mouth as if it would help him hold the rest inside for a little longer. He turned, still looking for Draco, and found him just a couple of feet away, upside down in the water and alternating between kicking the barrier and casting nonverbal spells that seemed to be doing just as much good. Harry moved toward him; Draco saw him coming and flipped so he was upright again, then held out his hand.

Harry didn’t even hesitate as he grasped it, gripping hard and pulling himself closer. He met Draco’s gaze and they stared at each other for a few seconds, but then all of a sudden Draco’s chest hitched. A wildly terrified look entered his eyes as, seemingly against his will, his mouth opened and all breath left him in a rush of bubbles. Draco jerked and his grip on Harry’s hand turned painful as Harry watched, shaking his head desperately, alarmed and horrified. He had absolutely no idea what to do.

Suddenly there was a muffled sounding crack and a rush of movement in the water surrounding them. A small hand closed around Harry’s wrist.

Harry only had time to turn his head, catching sight of Dobby grabbing Ron and Hermione, and then his eyes met Kreacher’s. There was a sharp increase in the pressure around them and pure relief washed over Harry as the elf Apparated them away.

* * *

They landed hard in the damp sand outside the entrance to the cave, and inhaling that first lungful of air was the greatest thing Harry had ever experienced. He coughed violently for a moment as he collapsed backward onto the ground. For a few blissful seconds, he just laid there, sucking down breath after breath and allowing his racing heart to slow and the pounding in his head to fade a bit. He absently noted that the sun was high in the sky above him; they’d only been in the cave a couple of hours, though it had seemed much, much longer.

The coughing and spluttering coming from beside him broke through his daze and he rolled onto his side, watching as Draco pushed himself up to his hands and knees and apparently tried to breathe and throw up a stomach load of water at the same time. Harry forced himself to crawl over to him and rub his back, politely ignoring the fact that his gasping breaths eventually morphed into what sounded like sobs. He couldn’t seem to get enough air.

“Breathe,” Harry said simply. “Breathe, you’re fine, it’s okay now.” Draco’s fingers on his right hand dug into the sand; in his left hand he was still holding Hufflepuff’s cup.

Harry stared at it. They’d actually gotten it. The Horcrux. The cup gave a weird sort of shimmer as he looked at it, and he shuddered a bit.

“Harry!” Ron’s voice said suddenly, and Harry whipped his head around to find Ron staggering toward him, Hermione right behind him.

And it seemed to hit Harry all at once. Shit. Shit. Fuck, they’d almost just died, the four of them, hadn’t they? Harry had survived the Killing Curse and yet he’d never felt closer to death’s door. They’d almost died, but it was over now. They were all here, they were here and alive and they had made it through this and–

Harry lurched to his feet, threw open his arms, and met Ron halfway when the other boy swept forward and hugged him.

Ron,” he said, relief bubbling up inside him all over again. They held on to each other for a moment before Harry released him and turned to give Hermione the same treatment. She laughed weakly against his shoulder and held on tight, and then Ron threw his arms around both of them and all three of them were laughing and asking each other if they were okay. Harry felt another pair of arms wrap around his legs and he looked down to see Dobby clutching him and blubbering all over his already wet pants.

“Harry Potter is alive!” he wailed. “Harry Potter is okay! Dobby was so worried we wouldn’t be getting out in time!”

“We did,” Harry said, letting go of his friends and crouching down so he could look Dobby in the eye. “Thanks to you and Kreacher. You were both brilliant.” He looked up to find Kreacher as he said it, wanting the other elf to know he was included, and saw him standing beside Draco and watching him worriedly.

“Alright, Malfoy?” Ron asked, apparently having noticed as well. Draco was still on his hands and knees, staring blankly at the sand underneath him.

“No,” he croaked, and then abruptly he fell onto his side and curled into himself, clutching his left wrist to his chest.

“Malfoy!” Harry exclaimed, shooting forward and dropping down beside him instantly. Ron and Hermione hurried over, as well, Ron falling in on Draco’s other side with Hermione near Harry.

“Draco, talk to us, what hurts?” Hermione asked quickly, sounding gentle and businesslike at the same time.

Draco cracked open one eye and scowled blearily up at her. “My bloody arm, you daft bint, what do you think?”

“Oi,” Ron said, frowning, but Hermione hushed him.

“Let me see,” she said, and Draco glared at her for a moment longer before caving to her no-nonsense tone and slowly pulling his arm away from his chest so she could see it.

Harry sucked in a breath. Draco’s red skin looked worse now, obviously burned and starting to blister, but worse than that was the still slightly green look of the Dark Mark. It made Harry’s stomach churn unpleasantly. Then, he spotted the Horcrux in Draco’s hand again.

“Malfoy, you can let go of that now,” he said, reaching for the cup.

Don’t!” Draco said loudly, abruptly, as he immediately drew his arm back to his chest. “Don’t touch it, Potter, it’s–” He stopped talking, his jaw snapping shut.

Harry frowned. “It’s what?” he asked slowly, eyes narrowing. “Malfoy, what’s going on? We need to–”

“It’s cursed,” Ron interrupted, leaning over Draco and staring at his arm. “Harry, his hand.”

“No one asked for your input, Weasley,” Draco griped, letting out a low hiss as he clutched his own arm too tightly. “Butt out!”

“No,” Ron said easily. “Also, I’m bigger than you and probably stronger. So, unless you want me to lay you out flat so we can force that damn cup away from you, you’ll cooperate.”

“Here,” Harry said, shaking off his jacket. “Wrap it in this for now.

Draco hesitated and then forced himself into a sitting position, grunting and wincing a bit from the effort. He took Harry’s jacket and wrapped the Horcrux carefully into it. Harry noticed that he kept his hand covered as best he could the entire time.

“Master Malfoy is needing healing salves,” Kreacher spoke up suddenly. “For the burning.”

“And the pain,” Dobby added. “Dobby remembers how Master Draco is when something hurts.”

“Nobody asked you,” Draco said loudly, and Ron snickered.

Dobby looked momentarily cowed, but then he straightened up again and turned to Harry. “Dobby could be going to Malfoy Manor, Harry Potter. Dobby knows where the elves keep all the healing supplies and it won’t be mattering if they know Dobby is there this time.”

Harry nodded. “Alright. Good. Can you meet us back at Grimmauld Place?”

Dobby nodded and then Disapparated on the spot.

Kreacher shuffled his feet for a moment and then said, “Kreacher is going, too. Dobby might be needing help or he might be grabbing the wrong things and Master Malfoy needs to be having proper care and attention. Kreacher will take care of everything!”

Harry couldn’t help grinning a bit. “If you like,” he said, and then before the house elf could disappear, he added, “Kreacher? Thank you. I mean it.” His grin widened. “Regulus would be proud of you, I reckon.”

Kreacher looked inordinately pleased and puffed his chest out. “Kreacher will also prepare lunch for the young masters,” he said, and then Disapparated before Harry could say anything else.

He turned back to Draco. “Now, show me your hand.”

Draco glared mulishly. “No.”


“Back off, Potter, it’s my hand!”

Ron looked at Harry. “His fingers were bla–”

“WEASLEY,” Draco interrupted.

“Wait, what?” Harry said, alarmed.

“It’s nothing,” Draco said quickly. “It’ll heal.”


“Oh, honestly!” Hermione said suddenly. “You’re being ridiculous, Draco, we’re only trying to help!” And with that she reached out, firmly grabbed Draco by the wrist and elbow, and yanked his arm out into the open. “Boys,” she muttered under her breath, before her eyes went wide.

Draco made a distressed sound, and Harry felt something like ice settle in his gut.

Ron gave a low whistle. “Really did a number there, mate.”

“Mind your hands, Granger,” Draco said quietly. “The – the Dark Mark. Don’t touch it.”

Hermione shot him a curious look, but nodded.

Harry swallowed. “It’s like Dumbledore,” he said numbly, eyes glued to the blackened skin of Draco’s fingers. It hadn’t yet bled into the rest of his hand, instead fading into the harsh redness of his burn, but it would spread, Harry knew it would. He just didn’t know how quickly.

“What do you mean, like Dumbledore?” Draco asked. “This happened to him?”

“I think so,” Harry said, cupping a hand over his mouth. His stomach rolled uneasily. “Shit, I can’t believe I forgot about the bloody ring,” he muttered. Hermione quietly began casting what healing spells she could on Draco’s arm. “I was so caught up in the locket and the cave that I forgot about the fucking ring.”

“…Look, this isn’t a big deal,” Draco said after a moment when Harry didn’t further elaborate. He was pale, despite his words. “I’m sure it’ll go away.”

“If you thought it wasn’t a big deal, you wouldn’t have minded showing us right away,” Ron pointed out. Draco glowered at him.

“There,” Hermione said, pulling her wand back. “You’ll still need the salves, but that should take the edge off.”

Draco looked at her in a slightly bewildered way, then glanced down at his arm and flexed his fingers. “…Thanks,” he mumbled, and when Hermione beamed at him he went a dull pink.

Harry frowned.

“How’s your head?” Ron asked.

Hermione put her fingers to her temple and winced a bit. “I’ll live,” she said. “I can heal it when we get back.”

“Speaking of, we should probably do that,” Ron said, looking around at everyone else.

Harry ignored him, caught up in thoughts about the ring and the curse and Dumbledore and his black, dead looking hand– “This must have been what Snape meant when he mentioned it would leave a mark,” he said abruptly. “You wouldn’t be able to go back to Voldemort with a curse like that on you without him noticing.”

Draco, who had gone back to looking at his hand in a mix of disgust and dismay, slowly raised his head. “You think?”

“Seemed kind of obvious,” Harry said. “Between that and the burn...”

Draco nodded and didn’t say anything. After a moment his jaw clenched and a hard, determined look entered his eyes. He got unsteadily to his feet. “Move,” he said to the others.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione stood up, the latter two backing away a bit. “What are you doing?” Harry asked.

Move,” Draco said again, in a tone that left no room for arguments. He leaned over and grabbed the jacket and Horcrux bundle.

Harry took several steps back.

Draco let the jacket unravel and Hufflepuff’s cup fell to the ground.

“Malfoy, are you sure–?”

With a vicious downward slash of his wand, Draco yelled, “Avada Kedavra!” and hit the cup with the Killing Curse.

A loud shrieking sound cut through the air and a black cloud exploded from the Horcrux and red hot pain instantly burst from behind Harry’s scar. He fell to his knees, crying out as he pressed his palm against his forehead. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Draco collapse, as well, grabbing at his wrist again, but then Ron and Hermione were in front of him blocking his view and his head hurt too much for him to focus on anything else anyway.

It lasted for what felt like ages but couldn’t have been more than a few seconds. Harry gritted his teeth and tried not to cry out again. He could hear Ron and Hermione calling out to him but couldn’t make out their words. Then, as suddenly as the pain had started, it stopped. The shrieking faded and the black cloud dissipated and soon all that remained was an innocent looking golden cup.

Harry slowly uncurled from where he was hunched over his knees and let his hand fall from his head with a grimace.

“Bloody hell,” Ron muttered, still clutching Harry’s shoulder. “Alright, mate?”

“Yeah…” Harry shrugged Ron’s hand off and scooted over to Draco. The other boy was on his back and panting, and he looked up as Harry settled beside him. “You know, for someone who was all worried about getting cave gunk in his hair, you’d think you’d try to avoid rolling around in the wet sand,” Harry said, absently reaching out and brushing some of the hair off Draco’s forehead. He quickly realized what he was doing and yanked his hand back, clearing his throat and looking around at anything that wasn’t Draco’s face. “You okay?” he asked, and instead ended up glancing down at Draco’s arm.

…Well. On the bright side, his Dark Mark was no longer a sickly green color.

It was, however, now writhing about on his skin like it was actually alive.

Draco didn’t answer him. “Potter,” he said urgently instead, “we need to get out of here. I can’t–” He winced just as a fresh wave of pain sliced through Harry’s scar. “He knows,” Draco said, his voice climbing higher with each word. “I think he knows something just happened, he felt that, and I can’t – Potter, I can’t focus, everything fucking hurts and I don’t think I can keep him out. We need to go now before he figures out where we are!”

Icy cold tendrils of fear clenched around Harry’s heart. He looked over his shoulder at Ron and Hermione, who were wrapping the cup back up in Harry’s jacket, and held out his hand. “Come on!” he said. “We’re leaving. Now. Back to Grimmauld Place!”

“Harry, what’s he talking about?” Hermione asked, even as she reached out with one hand to take Harry’s and grabbed hold of Ron with the other.

“I’ll explain later.” Harry put a hand on Draco’s shoulder. “For now, concentrate!”

There were four loud cracks as they Disapparated, and then the beach was empty.

* * *

As soon as the drawing room of Grimmauld Place took shape around them, Harry started barking out orders.

“Ron, find some parchment and a quill, write a letter to Professor Snape,” he said while hauling Draco to his feet and leading him over to the couch.

“Snape?” Ron asked, looking confused.

“Yeah, tell him we have an emergency and we need to meet with him as soon as possible.” Harry turned back to face Ron and Hermione once Draco was seated. “Don’t sign it, don’t say anything about where we are. Let Snape send us back the details.”

“Don’t sign it? How will he know–?”

“He’ll know,” Draco said between clenched teeth. He was, once again, gripping his arm, and each time the snake in the Dark Mark thrashed, Harry’s scar gave an answering throb. “He’ll be expecting something from us anyway, and who the hell else would be asking him for help right now?”

“Not to mention he’s been grading our homework for six years,” Hermione added. “He’ll recognize your handwriting.” She shooed Ron out of the room to get the parchment, then went and sat beside Draco. “Dobby should be here soon with the healing salves.”

“It’s not the burn that’s bothering me at the moment,” Draco said.

Hermione nodded, gently taking Draco’s wrist and tugging at his other hand. “I know. Let go, that can’t actually be helping.”


“Touch the mark, I know.” Hermione looked up at him, giving him a wry smile. “You seemed pretty adamant about that before, I haven’t forgotten.”

“Parchment!” Ron said loudly from the doorway. He was watching the two sitting on the couch with a somewhat perplexed look. Harry went over to help him draft the letter, though it only needed a few lines so it didn’t take them long. They were finishing writing it when it suddenly occurred to Harry that no one had come running yet to see what all the commotion was about, which was kind of odd considering Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were supposed to be living there now. He was about to mention this, but Draco spoke first.

“Do you think that the Killing Curse actually destroyed it?” he asked, using his foot to prod at the bundled up cup that Hermione had set down on the floor.

Harry hesitated, glancing over at it. “Here’s hoping,” he muttered. “I mean, it doesn’t feel as if… I can’t sense it anymore. If you know what I mean.”

Draco nodded, and then jumped a bit when his still sopping wet clothes suddenly turned dry and warm. He blinked at Hermione as she cast the same spell on herself, then pointed her wand at Ron and Harry.

Ron grinned at her. “Thanks!” he said cheerfully, and she blushed.

“You should get someone to heal your head now,” Draco said suddenly. “I mean, instead of worrying over everyone else,” he hastened to add when she turned back to him with raised eyebrows.

“I can do it,” Harry said. “Hedwig should be upstairs, Ron.” Ron nodded and bounded out of the room again.

Harry was pointing his wand at Hermione and murmuring a spell under his breath when two cracks echoed through the room and both Dobby and Kreacher abruptly appeared, their arms overflowing with jars and bandages and more healing supplies than they could possibly need.

“Dobby has returned with the healing salve, Harry Potter!” the elf cried, dropping everything else and bringing the necessary jar over to Harry. Kreacher grumbled something under his breath and then set his own load down. He began organizing everything in neat little rows as Harry grinned at them both and took the salve from Dobby.

“Thanks,” he said, watching as Dobby nearly started bouncing in excitement from his gratitude alone.

“Dobby is bringing the one that doesn’t give Master Draco a rash,” he said, nodding and suddenly using a serious tone because this information was clearly of the utmost importance. Draco looked momentarily horrified, his face slowly growing red as Dobby continued talking obliviously. “When Master Draco was still practically being a baby, Master Draco tried to follow Master Malfoy through the floo. Dobby got him out right away, of course, but he was still needing the salve and then it was only making things worse! Oh, Mistress Malfoy was furious.” Dobby pulled at his ears and Harry couldn’t help snickering at the gobsmacked look on Draco’s face.

“Yes, thank you, that story was entirely necessary to share,” he bit out, crossing his arms over his chest.

Dobby looked up at Harry. “Dobby had to iron his ears for that one,” he confided, which really wasn’t funny at all, but Draco still looked mortified at the realization that this house elf could share potentially embarrassing childhood stories of him, and Harry was just glad Dobby was able to do so without feeling the need to relive the past and punish himself all over again.

“Alright, she’s off,” Ron said as he reentered the room. “Hullo Dobby, Kreacher.”

“Master Weasley!” Dobby exclaimed, dashing over to shake his hand a couple times. “Dobby is going to make lunch! Is there anything Master Weasley or Harry Potter or–” He hesitated, glancing over at Draco on the couch, but then just looked back at Ron. “Dobby can make whatever you is wanting!”

Kreacher made an annoyed sound and straightened up from his row of healing supplies. “Kreacher is going to prepare lunch,” he said, shoving at Dobby’s arm to get his attention.

“Dobby can do it–”

“Kreacher isn’t needing other elves clogging up his Mistress’ kitchen–”

“Dobby can help–!”

“Why don’t you both get lunch ready, yeah?” Ron cut in, ushering them towards the door. “I’m sure we’ll all be happy with whatever you make.” Kreacher grumbled under his breath but Dobby seemed to think that was a fantastic idea, and the two of them disappeared around the corner headed toward the kitchen. They could still hear them arguing as they went. Ron let out a breath. “Don’t get me wrong,” he said, “I’m bloody grateful they were there this morning, but I’ve already got a headache and they were starting to add to it.”

“Shame,” Harry said with a grin. “Dobby was sharing embarrassing stories of Malfoy when he was a kid.”

“Oh.” Ron paused. “Well now I want to call him back in here.”

Draco scowled. “Ha bloody ha, Weasley. I don’t think so.”

Hermione chuckled and held out her hand to Harry. “Here, I’ll take that. Draco, hold out your arm.” Harry handed over the salve and Draco did as told, giving Hermione an appraising look as he did before smirking a bit.

“Be still my heart, Hermione Granger, are you going to be my Healer today?” His smirk turned into more of a playful leer. “You’re not really wearing the right robes for that, you know. Haven’t you got a nurse’s uniform you can put on?”

“Watch it,” Ron said, but Hermione just grinned.

“Sorry, Draco, I’ve left it upstairs,” she said in a teasing tone as she carefully spread the salve over Draco’s burned arm. “Maybe I’ll slip into it later, but only if you ask me nicely.”

Harry had known since his first year at Hogwarts that there were some things it was impossible to share without ending up liking each other. Evidently that truth still held even when it came to someone who had been an utter prat to you for years. Harry supposed that Draco nearly sacrificing his arm in the process of destroying a Horcrux was a fairly impressive show of good will that would go leaps and bounds toward improving his relationship with Harry’s friends.

“There, done,” Hermione said. “We’ll check it again later, but I think you’ll be alright.” A tiny crease formed between her eyebrows as she finished wrapping Draco’s arm. “Well…the burn will be, anyway.” Her eyes lingered on Draco’s blackened fingers, but she didn’t say anything else.

Draco gave his bandaged arm a scrutinizing look. “Looks good, Healer Granger. I’m…much obliged.”

“Anytime,” Hermione said. She seemed pleased.

Ron shared a look with Harry. “Well!” he said loudly. “I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m knackered. Think I’ll have a quick lie-down before lunch. Join me, Hermione?”

“Oh, that does sound good.” She stood and met Ron by the door, automatically reaching for his hand. That seemed to relax him a bit, and he smiled at her. Hermione returned it, then looked back around at Harry. “…I feel like my heart is still racing,” she confessed. “Like it still needs to sink in that we’re okay for the moment. We’re safe here.”

Harry nodded. “I know what you mean.”

“You’re alright?”

The concern in her voice was familiar and comforting. “I’ll be fine,” Harry said, giving her a tired smile. Hermione nodded, and then she pulled Ron from the room.

“See you at lunch, mate!” he called back over his shoulder.

Draco’s eyes followed them as they left. “She actually grew up quite pretty, didn’t she?” he commented lightly. “Hermione.” He said her name carefully, like he was testing out the way it would sound coming from him.

Harry stared at him blankly.

Draco noticed. “What?” he said, immediately on the defensive. “She did!” He gestured vaguely in the direction of his own mouth. “Her smile is different than I remember.”

“…She did that in fourth year,” Harry said carefully, watching Draco closely.

“Oh yeah.” Draco nodded, looking thoughtful. “The Yule Ball. Do you know, I didn’t actually believe that was her? I think I convinced myself that it wasn’t.”

“Have you suddenly got a crush on her or something?” Harry asked abruptly, and Draco snorted.

“No,” he said. He stood and stretched his arms above his head, then shot Harry an amused look. “Besides, what would you care if I did?”

“…I wouldn’t,” Harry said after a beat, and Draco snorted again. Harry felt his face go warm and he scowled. “I wouldn’t! Only, she’s my best friend’s girl.” He glared. “So back off.”

Draco laughed. “Oh, Potter. I’m sure my natural Malfoy charm could win out over Weasley’s ginger hair and freckles any day.” He smirked at Harry. “But you’ve got nothing to worry about.”

“I wasn’t worried,” Harry said stubbornly, because he wasn’t. “But – good. I don’t need you and Ron going at it when you’ve only just started getting along.”

That had Draco grimacing and shuddering for effect. “Getting along with a Weasley,” he said. “Somewhere in Azkaban, my father just had a heart attack.”

The unusually casual mention of his dad and his current whereabouts startled Harry a bit, but he was distracted from saying anything about it when Draco swayed suddenly on his feet and had to put a hand on the arm of the couch to steady himself. “Alright?” Harry asked, taking a step toward him.

“Fine,” Draco replied with a frown, rubbing at his forehead with his other hand. His already pale skin seemed to go a shade lighter.

“Liar.” Harry closed the distance between them in one long stride and helped Draco ease back down onto the couch. “It’s your hand, isn’t it?”

Draco shook his head. “I’m just tired,” he insisted, shifting around until he was lying down comfortably. “And possibly in shock. I’m delicate right now, Potter, that’s all. You’ll have to wait on me hand and foot whilst I recover.”

Harry settled onto the floor beside the couch and then raised an eyebrow at the other boy. “We have house elves here now; you don’t need your own personal slave.”

“But I want my own personal slave.”

“Yet we don’t always get what we want, do we? Shame, that.”

“Well, that’s gratitude for you,” Draco said snootily. “I nearly lose my arm because of you and you can’t even be bothered to give me this one little thing in return.”

Harry grinned. “I just don’t think I could pull off a tea towel as well as Kreacher, that’s all.”

Draco gave Harry a long look out of the corner of his eye. “Oh, I think you’d wear it quite well,” he said after a moment, with a bit of a smirk. Harry felt his face grow warm and he didn’t reply, instead shifting his gaze away uncomfortably. Draco sighed and, after another pause, said in a guileless tone, “Sorry.”

Harry’s brow furrowed. “What for?”

“For all but throwing myself at you when you clearly aren’t interested–”

Harry nearly choked on his own spit and his face flamed up again.

“The thing is,” Draco continued obliviously, staring hard up at the ceiling, “I’m not even entirely sure why I’m doing it. Other than that I’m bored, maybe, and a little hard up, but it’s not as though I usually go for blokes. I mean, I guess I – in the past, you know, before everything went to shit, maybe I would’ve–”

“Is now really the time?” Harry interrupted somewhat hysterically, feeling panic well up inside him. “You should be resting, this can all wait–”

“But I certainly wouldn’t have gone sniffing around you,” Draco interrupted right back, his nose wrinkling as if the thought alone disgusted him. “You’re an annoying git and not my type at all, I’m sure.”

There was silence for a second, just long enough for Harry to become irrationally offended, and then – “Not your type?” he repeated incredulously. “You’ve been pulling my pigtails since first year, Malfoy, what the bloody hell do you mean I’m not your type?” And whoa, hold up, he hadn’t meant to say that. Harry wasn’t even sure where the words had come from. His eyes went wide.

Draco’s gaze snapped back down to meet Harry’s, his cheeks going furiously pink as he pushed himself up to one elbow and turned to face the other boy. “I have not been pulling your pigtails, Potter!” he snapped. “I’ve been cleverly insulting you at every turn and besting you in as many ways possible and–”

“Poking and prodding and trying to get my attention or make me jealous ever since I said no to you on the train,” Harry said, voice growing louder and more amused each time Draco tried to cut him off again. “You’ve probably wanted me since then, you just didn’t know it!”

Draco glowered at him, trying to cover how flustered he suddenly was. “All I wanted then was – look, I just wasn’t used to being turned down like that!” he cried, and then shoved Harry’s shoulder when he snickered. “Oh, piss off, you’re twisting everything around! That’s not how it was and you know it. I was eleven, for Salazar’s sake!”

“Oh, I don’t know…” Harry said in a teasing tone, all traces of his earlier panic gone in the face of Draco’s embarrassment. “So many things are making sense to me now.”

Draco made an annoyed sound, but then his eyes brightened. “Well you’re one to talk,” he said, and Harry didn’t like this new hint of smugness he’d suddenly adopted. “Seems to me you enjoyed all the attention, even though you acted like you didn’t.”

“What’s that supposed to–”

“I mean, as soon as I stopped paying attention to you, you got all huffy, didn’t you?” Harry paled a bit and Draco grinned at him full stop. “Didn’t like it at all last year when I had other things to do that didn’t involve spelling your shoelaces together anymore. If I recall correctly, you’re the one who started following me all around the school.” He flopped backward onto the couch again, getting comfortable and letting his eyes slide shut, smirk still on his face. “Got a bit obsessed there, eh, Potter?”

“The only person I was obsessed with last year was Ginny,” Harry said automatically, but he knew it wasn’t true.

Unfortunately, so did Draco. “Yeah, she’s always your excuse.”

“I did actually like her, you know,” Harry muttered. “A lot, at that.”

“I’m sure you did.” Draco cracked one eye open to look at Harry. “Past tense, might I point out. Your words, not mine.”

Harry swore. “Look, I don’t know what to tell you. I’m not into…” He gestured helplessly at Draco.

“Some of your recent actions would indicate otherwise.”

Harry let out a frustrated breath. “You just said you’re not even sure why you’re angling for this.” And actually, what all this even entailed, he didn’t know. He figured it was better that way. “You’re probably not actually into blokes either, you know?”

“I think I just never considered it as a genuine possibility,” Draco said, closing his eyes again. “It’s not unheard of, obviously, but it’s also generally not as well accepted in the pureblood community and I always assumed I’d just be married off when the time was right. Likely to Pansy.” The thought made him grimace a bit. “But, when it’s suddenly shoved in front of your eyes, well. You can’t help wondering, I suppose.”

This conversation was wandering back into the realm of weirdness and something that hit a little too close to home for Harry. After all, it wasn’t a concept that had occurred to him, either, until Seamus and Justin had–

Harry shoved his glasses up and pressed the heels of his hands against his eyes until they started to hurt, then dropped them and abruptly pushed himself to his feet. “Snape should have some idea about what to do for your hand,” he said, opting to just go for a complete subject change rather than deal with…that other stuff. “Hopefully he’ll get back to us soon.”

Draco peered up at him. “Fingers crossed,” he said after a moment. “Because it…doesn’t feel right. And it’s not just my hand, I can feel it spreading everywhere. It’s – I don’t know. Strange.”

“Thought so,” Harry murmured. He chewed on his bottom lip worriedly for a moment, but there wasn’t anything he could do. “You’re alright in here?”

Draco nodded. “For now. Too tired to move.”

“Yeah, my bed’s calling,” Harry said, and then flushed a bit as if mentioning a bed at all in Draco’s presence was somehow suggestive. Draco snorted and rolled his eyes, and Harry scowled back down at him. “Shut up. Arse.”




“That’s not an insult.”

“Says you.”

Harry gave a soft laugh and turned to leave the room. “I’ll come get you when lunch is ready.”

Draco mumbled something unintelligibly, and by the time Harry reached the door and gave him a final glance over his shoulder, he was asleep.

Look, Ma - no cliffhanger! :D

New chapter next week. Thanks for reading!


next chapter

You can also read it at Skyehawke.

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