On the worst nights, he went to the Clock Tower.
It had been rebuilt, after the battle. Draco had actually helped with that, once the first round of trials was over. His mother called it paying his penance. His father…
His father was the reason he was here, pushing his way up the stairs in the bitter wind instead of curling up in his warm bed, and Draco didn't intend to think about him any more tonight.
Upon reaching the top, he went immediately to the ledge and looked out. It reminded him of being on his broom, the air rushing by his cheeks, the grass sparkling with frost far below, the lake shining black in the distance. He didn't need to think about anyone or anything, up here.
"Draco?" said a voice from behind him.
A less composed person might have spun around and fallen off the tower, with only a quickly cast levitation spell between himself and the cobbles below, but Draco turned slowly, having barely jumped at all.
Naturally it was Potter looking back at him. The universe wouldn't have it any other way.
With barely a glance at him, Potter strode out of the shadows and hunched over the railing at Draco's side, his breath puffing white.
"It's late," Draco said, angling his head at the huge hands of the clock coming together high above them. "What are you doing up here?"
It was new, this talking thing. The two of them comparing notes in Charms. Harry calling him 'Draco'. Sometimes he thought it was Harry's own form of penance. Sometimes he could even summon enough pride to be annoyed by the thought. He had precious little of it to spare tonight, though.
Harry chuckled. "You'd run away too, if you'd been woken up by the sound of Ron moaning, 'Can you feel this?' in the next bed."
"I'd have at least expected Granger to be more discrete," Draco said with a grimace.
"Me too. If she'd been that careless with her charms back in the Forest of Dean we'd have all been dead. Of course, when I mentioned that, she dropped the Imperturbable she'd just put up and they started moaning even louder."
Draco snorted. "Gryffindors."
"Actually, I blame Pansy."
Thinking he must have misheard, Draco echoed back, "Pansy?"
Harry's eyes went wide. "You didn't know about the three of them? Hell, and you used to date her."
"Pansy?" Draco said, yet again, feeling like the conversation had run away without him. "I never dated her. What gave you that idea?"
"She was always touching your hair," he said, scowling at it hard enough to make Draco wonder if it would be safer to shave it the rest of the way off. Pansy had said it looked 'phenomenal' after she cut it, but she clearly had questionable taste.
Harry shook his head. "Anyway, what about you? What are you doing up here?"
"Just...needed to see the sky," Draco admitted.
"Ah," Harry said, nodding. "Not much of that in the Slytherin dormitories. The couches are good, though."
Draco refused to give Harry the satisfaction of asking how he knew that.
Not that it mattered. Without any prompting, Harry said, "I think it was third year. No, maybe second. We snuck into your common room to prove that you were the Heir of Slytherin. Didn't go as well as we'd hoped."
"Well. I am a constant source of disappointment," Draco said, turning the words from Father's letter into a joke. After all, it worked on boggarts.
"Not constant," Harry said lightly. "You're good on a broom. Nice hair, good grades."
It was the second time he'd mentioned Draco's hair, and it was tempting to be distracted by the compliment, but something far less pleasant was going on here. "Why are you saying all this?"
Harry huffed and looked out over the grounds. "You know, some people tell the truth all the time, and they don't need a reason."
"Too bad you're not one of them."
Harry actually smiled at that for a moment, before he looked down at his hands. "Maybe I should be. There were a lot of lies and secrets leading into the war, so maybe…" He turned, the moonlight turning the green of his eyes to a deep luminous grey as they locked onto Draco's. "But we wouldn't have won without lies. I wouldn't have survived."
"You heard about the new interrogation methods," Draco said, not bothering to make it a question.
"It's not right," Harry said, with that same passion that always made Draco want to be on his side, especially when it was impossible for him to do so. "Combining Veritaserum with a Pensieve? It's the worst kind of Legilimency, Draco. You don't have to go through with that, I'd testify for you, if--"
"That won't be necessary," Draco said.
Harry's mouth dropped into an O, but then he nodded. "Sounds like her."
"You think I should have stopped her?" Draco asked, too desperate for the answer to keep the vulnerability of it out of his voice.
To his surprise, Harry laughed. "Draco. I hate to tell you this, but nothing will ever stop her from trying to keep you safe. Not after what happened in the war. Why, did someone…" He trailed off as something dawned in his eyes. "Your father."
"He's not especially pleased with her. Or with me. He says cooperating sets a bad precedent, that we're encouraging the Ministry to re-try cases whenever new spells are found."
"They're not allowed to re-try--"
"He's afraid of spending more time in Azkaban, but that is the way the Ministry is heading."
Harry had been biting his lip, but a look of heroic resolve was quickly overtaking his features. Draco did his best to head it off, by saying, "So, absolute honesty all of the time now, eh? Isn't that rather dangerous for you?"
"You should at least make an exception for reporters."
"I was more concerned about teachers, actually."
"Better extend that to all the staff. Imagine having to tell Filch the truth about anything." Draco shuddered dramatically, and was delighted that Harry laughed, throwing his head back and closing his eyes in that way he did.
Still half-laughing, Harry said, "If we keep narrowing it down like this you'll be the only one left."
Draco's breath caught in his chest, and refused to exit without uttering the word, "Me?"
"Yeah. You." Harry's smile didn't fade, exactly, but it sort of...softened. Warmed. "Why, what did you want to know?"
It was so absurdly Gryffindorish that, of all the vital and important things Draco could ask, about their childhood rivalry, about how Harry survived the war, about Dumbledore or Voldemort or the nature of good and evil, what came out of his mouth was, "You really like my hair?"
Harry blinked, looking a little crestfallen. "Doesn't everyone?"
"I don't really care about everyone." Feeling rather Gryffindorish himself, Draco added, "You could...It's sort of fuzzy, on the short bits. Want to feel it?"
Ever the Seeker, Harry moved startlingly fast, lifting both hands up by Draco's ears, then gently settling his fingertips against Draco's scalp, which was nearly bare on the sides from Pansy's latest efforts.
They froze like that, for what seemed like quite a long time, Harry's fingers radiating heat, Draco breathing too shallowly to survive, when Harry suddenly drew his fingers in small circles, and Draco dipped his head closer, and Harry surged up and kissed him.
Before he even realized what he was doing, moving with Seeker's instincts of his own, Draco pulled Harry closer, wrapped his arms around him and clung tight.
With a sound like a muffled sigh, Harry broke the kiss and pressed their foreheads together, his thumbs sweeping in arcs along the top of Draco's spine. "Anything else you wanted to know?"
"Will you go to the dance with me?"
"Yes," Harry said, without the slightest hesitation, not worried at all about them being seen together. Gryffindors were terrifying.
"I wouldn't be surprised if the Ministry sets the public meeting about their new interrogations for that night," Draco warned.
Harry gave him a fierce grin. "Then I'd still go to the dance with you, and Hermione would go to the meeting."
"Ah. And Weasley and Parkinson would both go with her, I suppose. I don't like the Ministry's odds against those three."
"They've already made signs and charts for it."
"Be a shame for us to ruin their fun, then." Draco brushed a kiss against Harry's temple, marveling at the idea that he was allowed to do so. "Especially since they coincidentally forgot to do an Imperturbable on the same night when Pansy knew I'd gotten an owl from Azkaban."
"Oh Merlin, those sneaky bastards."
"Did one of them suggest that you go to the Clock Tower, too? Or were they more subtle than that?"
"No, I just like it here. It reminds me of flying."
Draco couldn't help grinning, especially once Harry kissed him again. And although he didn't manage to avoid thinking about his father altogether, the weight of his disapproval was lifted almost entirely, by the simple act of sitting with Harry through the small hours of the night, talking about everything and nothing at all, fingers entwined, looking out over the twinkling grass and the glossy lake and the moonlit sky.
It was even better than flying.