“You do understand why we have to do this?” the healer knew he had said it several times but when a patient had an extra confidential-clause he really couldn’t stress it enough.
“Yes, can we just move on I do have other things to do with my time.”
“Very well Mr. Malfoy.” The healer continued and handed the blond a sheet of paper. He signed it without a word and was swiftly ushered into a closed ward. There in the bed he saw a face he could never forget. Lightened by a small tableside lamp, tracing his fingers over the picture in an old Daily Prophet was the man, the hero, that three weeks earlier supposedly died while vanquishing Lord Voldemort.
“You’re alive Potter?”
“You’re alive Potter?” Draco blurted out clearly shocked. “Sorry, I should address you as just Harry now, shouldn’t I, after what we’ve been through?” He slowly laughed. The young man in the hospital-bed didn’t look up and Draco really didn’t know why he felt miles away from him though he was just a breath away. “Wait until I tell everybody that you survived, they all have been grieving so much. Oh Merlin you can’t understand what this means. You’re ALIVE! Say something!”
The healer silently pulled Draco away from the bed. “You do understand Mr. Malfoy that you can’t say anything about this. The confidential-document you signed prohibits you from uttering a word about anything involving Mr. Potter.” The healer continued “There is a reason you are here nonetheless, shall we continue this in my office?”
Draco could only nod at the healer.
“Mr. Potter was transferred to St. Mungo’s after the battle. He was assumed dead and when we’d successfully revived him we plainly didn’t inform the wizarding world about it to give him time to recuperate.”
“But you can’t do that!” Draco shout out angrily. “Do you have any idea of what you are putting his friends and family through?” He couldn’t believe he was defending his long-time nemesis. In the end you can get over anything, he thought slowly smiling to himself. The war changed everybody.
“Wait a minute Mr. Malfoy. We clearly didn’t know who to contact and what to say. The main thing is for the moment to keep him out of the spotlight until he’s ready to come home.”
“What’s wrong with him? You said there was a reason I was brought here.” Draco said softly.
“Yes” the healer said. “I’m not sure how to put it. Mr. Potter hasn’t been himself after the battle. We assume he’s under posttraumatic stress. We can’t find anything physically wrong with him and as long as he’s in denial no potion is going to help him.”
Draco nodded. “I understand, but why am I here?”
“We can’t get Mr. Potter to engage in any activity. He’s refusing to talk. He hasn’t been eating for himself since we brought him here and he’s not sleeping on his own. The first nights here he spent like the days, just sitting in his bed, his mind as distant as the moon. We thought that his body eventually would make him sleep but after three nights we started giving him sleep-potions. That turned out to be just as bad. He thrashed in his bed screaming his lungs out and cried. The only word he’s ever said was in his sleep.”
“And what was that?” Draco whispered, afraid to know the answer.
“So I guess you understand Mr. Malfoy that we brought you here in the hope that you would trigger a response from Mr. Potter”
“Yes.” He could barely hear his own voice.
“I’ll walk back with you to his ward and you’ll be able to spend some time with him. If your meetings are successful we would like you to stay here for the time being. Mr. Potter has a joined room where you can stay.”
“Why are you doing this?”
“He is our most important case. He did save the wizarding world from our most prominent evil. Now let’s go if you’ll be kind.”
Draco didn’t know what to do. Harry was just as they left him twenty minutes ago, sitting in his bed, quiet. He brought a chair and sat down beside the younger man. What I’m a supposed to do? He thought. He took Harry’s hand; he didn’t flinch away but didn’t acknowledge he was there either.
“Harry” he kissed his hand. “Harry, can you hear me? Please answer me I have something to say to you.” Draco took a deep sigh before continuing. “Do you have any idea of how this past month has been? We thought you were dead. We thought you were gone. We couldn’t celebrate; we couldn’t even enjoy the feeling of this whole thing being over; because you weren’t here with us. You weren’t here with me.” Tears started to form in Draco’s eyes while he mumbled on in Harry's hand.
“I should have told you a long time ago. Maybe things would have been different, maybe not. Harry; I love you so much.”
The war was rapidly coming to an end for either good or bad, everybody could feel it in their core. Draco ran through the mansion. He ran as fast as he could. He ran for his life. Nothing was easy, nothing was safe and most of all nothing was right or wrong anymore.
Seventeen days ago Draco wrote a letter, a plea, to his old nemesis Harry Potter. Asking or more like begging, him to get him out of the mansion, out of his parents claws, out of Voldemort’s reign. The answer came instantly and Draco hadn’t been more relieved in his entire life. He wanted to help. He wanted to help me. Long letters fallowed. Long letters about his life and with news from the inner circle. Now was the time. Harry was coming for him to keep him safe.
It was a long time ago Draco hated Harry. He wasn’t even sure he ever hated the boy. More like detested him for not following him. But for what? What was the point with all the childish games and hurtful names? While living with the order, planning the final battle against the dark side Draco learned a lot. First and foremost he learned that he never wanted to be without Harry ever again. He was a great wizard, strong and powerful. He was a great man, loving and forgiving. He was a great friend and ally, trustworthy and reliable. And without Draco noticing hate turned to love and detest turned to lust for the young man standing in front of the biggest challenge in his life.
“Please talk to me.” Draco could barely hide the desperation in his plea. “Come back to me, we have so much to talk about. I never told you the truth, I was scared and I thought you were planning a future where I wasn’t involved. But then you went off to face that bloody idiot Lord and I took you in my arms. I felt your heart beat against mine and I felt your shiver. Do you know how many times I’ve wondered what would have happened if I just claimed your mouth right then and there? What you would do when I kissed you? Would you have returned it? Would you have wanted it as much as me? If I dragged you into my bed and kept you from facing Voldemort had you understood? “
Harry didn’t respond and Draco didn’t want anything more than to crawl up into his bed and hold him. He never was much of a crier but something changed during his stay at the order. Harry changed him. He didn’t understand it at first. Not until he tried to pick his life back up after the war did he understand the full impact of Harry Potter and what he’d turned his life into. Draco was reborn stronger and prouder than ever. He would never sway from what he thought were right and what he wanted to do just from the authority of another more influential promise of power. He was reborn to the purity of love and now he knew harry was alive he vowed to never leave his side.
Draco spent his day by Harry's bedside, talking silently with him or rather too him but he preferred thinking of it as “with”. He talked about the battle, about what happened after he slayed the Dark Lord and how the wizarding world looks like today. He talked about how everybody tries to pick up the pieces and moving forward through the grief and heartache. You could imagine there would be much celebration after the war now that the light won but the losses had been big and happiness would come later, relief would come after the first wave of pain had passed.
Just before nightfall Draco’s heart skipped a beat. Harry looked up at him and whispered “Draco” wide eyed. Draco scrambled up and sat in his bed. “Harry, Harry, Harry, can you hear me love?” tears started pouring out of his eyes and then he said “Draco… I killed somebody.”
Draco sat and kindly soothed Harry while he cried and he wasn’t even frustrated because of the sheer relief he got a respond from him.
The night healer came in an hour later with Harry's potion. “Is this really necessary?” Draco asked.
“Mr. Potter needs his strength to recover and that’s not possible without his rest. If he doesn’t fall asleep by himself this is of utter necessary Mr. Malfoy.”
“Fine then I’ll stay”
“Very well Mr. Malfoy. We’ll clear up in the room next to this and we’ll send for your things.”
Harry was persuaded to take the potion and the healer left. Draco helped Harry into a more sleep-friendly position and kissed his forehead. Harry moaned under him and turned his head up slightly. Draco shuddered and played with Harry's nose with his own. “Uhm… Harry… may I…?” he stuttered out. Harry tilted his head a bit more and took Draco’s mouth with his own lightly. All of Draco’s finesse and caution disappeared in an instant and he plowed his tongue inside his mouth taking everything Harry had to offer. Harry shifted his head to be able to gasp for air. “I’m sorry love. I didn’t mean to… I mean I didn’t intend to… I’m sorry if I hurt you… I’m not good at this. Will you forgive me? Come here, you should go to bed.” Draco mumbled fast.
The potion did its work and Draco fell asleep shortly after in the chair beside Harry's bed. He didn’t want to leave him even though he had a perfectly fine room just next door.
Draco woke to a scream at 2:47 AM. Harry sat in his bed shouting out in agony and crying out “Draco” over and over again. Draco shot up in a second and tried to calm him. “Harry, love what’s wrong? Are you in pain? Should I get the healers?” Harry barely got in air between the screams. “Harry, please tell me what’s wrong. I can’t stand to see you like this. I love you.”
“How can anybody love me? Do you have any idea of what I’ve done Draco?”
“You have to tell me what’s wrong Harry. Why are you saying things like that? I love you, I always will. Please tell me what you’re going through. I want to help you. Please talk to me love.”
“They should take my wand and break it. They should lock me up. I don’t understand how I’m not in Azkaban. I broke the law. I performed an unforgivable. I took my wand, pointed it at him and killed him. I killed somebody. I am a murderer. It doesn’t matter if he deserved it. It doesn’t matter that he was the foulest most loathsome dark wizard that ever walked this earth. It doesn’t matter that the whole community begged and pleaded me to do it. He is dead; because of me. I’m not the hero everybody thinks I am.”
Harry was crying again and Draco had no idea of how to help him. He always seemed to be certain of his destiny. His animosity against Voldemort was well known at Hogwarts. He always made it clear that he wanted him gone. Didn’t he understand that he had to kill him? Draco thought.
“I didn’t want to leave that last day, you know. When you… you know… when you hugged me I wanted you to make me stay. I wanted you so bad. But you never said anything about that. You fucking said goodbye! Do you know what that done to me? You acted like it was the last time we’d see each other. Either you never thought that I would survive facing Voldemort, or… or… or you’d decided that you didn’t want to be near me after the war; when you didn’t need me anymore.”
“I’ll always need you.” Draco whispered.
“Why did you say goodbye?”
“I was scared Harry. I didn’t know if you wanted me there because you really wanted me there or just because I had good information for you during the war. I couldn’t figure out if you perhaps thought the same as I did and I didn’t know if you would ever consider, I mean… we weren’t close or anything in school so I didn’t know. I thought that you might like a few and that maybe you didn’t but I just couldn’t say anything when you never showed anything like that…”
“Please stop Draco. I was, I mean I am still you know… and I wanted… I want… Please kiss me Draco.”
“You never have to ask me that.” Draco murmured before seizing his lips again. This time Harry reacted instantly and returned a demanding kiss, dragging Draco onto the bed. They both moaned when they lay against each other. Draco was cradling Harry's face, his lips now nibbling on his jaw. Harry's hands were drawn down on Draco’s ass, clutching him and pressing him close against his crotch. “I need you Draco. I always wanted you, even before I knew how I knew I wanted you.”
“I want you too, oh God, I’ve wanted you for so long. I thought you were dead, I thought you were gone. Please don’t leave me again.” Now it was Draco who cried.
“I won’t leave you.”
“Please let me help you. I understand what you are going through and I would never leave you, but you have to know; you are the hero. You saved us.”
Draco spent the night thinking. He knew his word wouldn’t be enough. If he only knew how it was living with Voldemort. The constant fear of being noticed or approached. The fear of him reading your thoughts when you are most vulnerable. Even the most devoted Death Eaters was uneasy in his presence, at least the ones that were smart enough to know he wasn’t a friend. Voldemort didn’t have friends or allies he had servants. It was a blessing getting out of that house.
Draco would have bet not even Voldemort himself liked who he really was. Not in the very core of his body and soul. He destroyed himself long before he split his soul. And with his humanity pieced out in the world he couldn’t really be called a man. Maybe he wasn’t a villain either maybe he just was a wizard who was seeking for power and stripped off all he was in order to get it.
That’s it, Draco thought! If he wasn’t living he couldn’t be killed therefore he had no murderer. But how can he make Harry see that the great Lord Voldemort had nothing to live for?
“Harry, are you ok with me trying something that might be hurtful?” Harry looked confused and obviously not ok with that. “I mean I think I found something that might help you get over your guilt about, you know what” Draco tried to explain. “I will if you promise to quit explaining things like that. If things have a name, use it.” Harry all but whispered. “Tell me about it.”
“This potion will make you have an insight to Voldemort’s life and even his body and soul.” Draco held his breath trying to read Harry’s face. “I haven’t tried it myself so I really don’t have any way of knowing what you’ll be seeing. But I can tell you that it’s not going to be a pleasant trip but nonetheless important. He was broken and left for dead a long time before you came along.”
“I’ve been here before” Harry said to the empty space. Everything was bright, he almost had to shield his until now idle eyes. Harry half expected Dumbledore to pop up in this, was it a dream, or was it a vision? “Bugger, how can I be back here.” The white King’s Cross where he talked to Dumbledore during the battle all those months ago looked the same. But Harry was alone.
Right after that thought a bundle showed up on a bench. Harry approached it carefully and noticed it was nothing frightful only a baby. But he’d seen that baby before. It was here that night as well but he didn’t get to see it fully, not really. It was still screaming and writhing in agony. It was hard not to do anything. In a sudden the baby disappears and before Harry have time to turn someone or something comes up behind him.
Harry spins around and stares at the boy he once saw in Dumbledore’s pensive. “What are you doing here?” Harry spat out at the boy he knew to be young Tom Riddle. Tom started to get a faint glow around him and without knowing why Harry grabbed one of his arm and the world disappeared under their feets.
When Harry could was safely on the ground again he yelped. He was in the middle of a large room. Death Eaters were everywhere and in the midst Lord Voldemort stood in all his living glory. Harry couldn’t believe this, was Voldemort alive? It was several people in the room who supposed to be dead, it didn’t make sense. “But when is magic making sense?” Harry heard from the side. Young Tom Riddle was there again and Harry began to think that this too was just another memory magic allowed him to see after it was played out.
“Why am I here, Riddle?” “I never wanted this to happen,” Riddle said. “I was young and naïve and to be honest, I didn’t care about anyone else. I wanted power, craved it really. I knew I was special and that I was going to succeed in everything I did if I just gave it my all. After all, I didn’t have anyone depending on me, I was free to do anything and everything.” Harry didn’t know if he should say something, but before he could think it through Riddle said, “Look around closely Potter, what do you see?
Harry looked through the room and gasped. Everyone was glowing now, some in a faint and fuzzy light seeping on the floor and some in bright colors. It was over two dozen of colors in the room and Harry was riveted about the beauty of it all.
Harry saw Draco, standing in a corner watching the scene unfurl. He looked scared and so sad. Fragile in a way that scared Harry. He glowed in the palest blue he’d ever seen. Surrounded by it head to toe, it was pulsating in time with his heart and Harry had never seen anything more beautiful in his life.
But then he saw it. Voldemort stepped up and there was nothing. No color, no light, just a dense aura of a blackness that shocked Harry. “Go on, touch him” young Riddle said. Harry was shaking, did he really want to do this? He looked back at Draco and decided he had to do everything he could to return and be the man he deserved to be with.
Harry stepped up and slowly reached out and touched Voldemort arm. He knew nobody in the room could see him and he was safe but he still hesitated. When Harry’s palm touched Voldemort’s he heard a scream. His ears went numb at the sound calling out. He couldn’t figure out where it came from. Harry started to feel lightheaded when he suddenly felt despair in his whole body. A pain beyond anything he’d ever felt. It was a plea for help, a plea for peace, a plea to die.
Then Harry’s world went black.
Draco didn’t know what to do. Harry had taken the potion 2 days ago. At first he had fought, and hard. That was over 40 hours ago and Draco was falling apart. Did he do enough research for this potion? After all this was supposed to put him into a trance for a few hours, this was not normal.
Draco had just watched Harry sleep hour after hour. He didn’t want to leave his side in case he woke up. Draco didn’t know what Harry had seen and therefore didn’t know what to expect. Was Harry going to be better? Or was it possible it would turn out wrong and he never got him back?
Early in the morning, nearly 3 days after Harry had taken the potion his eyes slowly opened. Harry didn’t know where he was at first but the he saw Draco sleeping in a chair next to his bed with the soft glow of the summer sun reflected on his worried face. Harry had to take a deep breath and he had to conclude that Draco Malfoy was indeed one of the most beautiful men in this world and now he knew that Draco got a soul so pure and true to match his appearance.
Harry wasn’t sure what had happened. Was it a dream or did he really just went into an old memory of Voldemort and his minions? To be honest the latter sounded really crazy, but then again, what couldn’t magic do? Harry didn’t want to remember the last part. Touching Voldemort, it felt like…like nothing else in this world. Death, despair and an uncontrollable feeling of brokenness. Harry felt the remainder of Voldemort’s soul. It was wrecked and curled up in the otherwise inhuman body. Voldemort wasn’t a man, not even close. He was a creature, formed by his actions whilst his pained soul searched for serenity. Harry didn’t have to feel bad over his death. He always had to live with taking someone’s life, but what was the other alternative? Letting Voldemort get stronger and take over the Wizarding world, the country or even the world? Where would he have stopped?
Harry needed to get on with his live. Mourn the one that counts and strive for a better future, hopefully a future with the man sitting beside him.
“Coming, love?” Draco called throughout the house. “Why do you keep forgetting your mittens?” “Because I love how you run after me, that’s why my little muffin.” “Don’t call me that Harry! I’m not some bloody pastry.”I know love, I just love the way you blush when I use a pet-name, baby.”
Draco gave up his act of indignity and kissed his boyfriend. “So are you up for my surprise?” “Of course I am, Harry, you only been hinting about it for a week.” Draco did one of his trademark smirks and stepped out on the street. Outside their flat stood a big sleigh with two horses white as the snow below. “You did this for me?” Draco turned around to look at Harry. “I mean, how did you know I wanted this? I never said anything because even I thought it sounded silly.” A sleigh ride through the winter landscape, looking at the stars with the man he loved.
“I know how to read you love.” Harry said smugly. “Now will you do me the honor of accompany me on this lovely night or do I have to stand and freeze my arse off?”
“No” Draco smiled at Harry. “I have better use for that when we return.”