Chapter Three: Healing Holiday
Disclaimer: Having written 37 fanfiction stories (36 for HP) with a total of 87 chapters, and a disclaimer in each chapter, I am running out of ways to convince you people that I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, J.K. Rowling, the creator of the Harry Potter universe.
Me: For Merlin's sake, I'm not even blonde.
Hermione: Honestly, Ronald.
Ron: *sulkily* Well you'd never know you're not blonde with the way you act...
Me: Shut up. *glares* Why on earth are you two here? I want Harry and Draco!
Hermione: *coughs* Harry and Malfoy are... ah... indisposed... at the moment...
Ron: *morosely* She means they're shagging in my dorm. That's why I'm here, not there. Hermione's just hanging out here in the library cause she's a SWOT.
Hermione: *hits him*
Me: *brightens* Well, in that case... *leans forward and whispers conspiratorially* How do I get to your dorm?
Ron and Hermione: ...
A/N: *coughs* I didn't do one of those "author has an imaginary conversation with the characters" things; what are you talking about... .
I'm bouncing back from a bout of depression/anxiety that really caught me off guard, worsened my writer's block, and has put me behind for finals. Updates will be intermittent until I'm done for the semester.
Healer Jamie Venestus is a shout-out to Venestus Loves James. :) Love ya, girl! Drarry on!
Sometimes life can knock you down
Just gotta pick your ass up off the ground
Probably don't matter anyway
'Cause in the end it's gonna be ok
Because life's a holiday
Don't wanna go and work harder
Just to keep my head above water
And tomorrow's another day
'Cause I know that we'll be ok
'Cause life's a holiday
Unwritten Law - Holiday
Harry's eyes flew open and he jumped, startled. "Malfoy! Merlin; warn a bloke!"
Malfoy was regarding him rather coolly from where he lounged against the doorframe of the study. He was dressed in black slacks and a dove grey jumper that brought out his eyes. Eyes which were currently narrowed in disapproval at Harry.
Harry squirmed uneasily. "What is it?"
Malfoy crossed his arms. "What the hell were you doing in here, Potter?"
Harry glared. "I just wrote to Hermione like you told me to!" He gestured at the pile of scrolls, then flushed as he realised how many of them there were. He coughed and looked away. "I, ah, thought I'd write to a few other people, too. I may have gotten a tad carried away."
Malfoy coughed, sounding suspiciously like he was trying to cover up a laugh. "So I see." His expression became stern again. "And just how did that lead to you looking like you had just returned from a funeral when I walked in?"
Harry toed the carpet, wondering how Malfoy could make him feel like a delinquent toddler. "I just... realised how much I've let everyone down. I haven't been there for anyone. Not even," he paused and swallowed. "Not even Teddy," he finished softly.
He stared at his feet. "That was the hardest letter to write; the one to Andromeda. I only hope she accepts my apology."
"One thing I've learned about my aunt is that she's a very forgiving person, Potter," Malfoy said quietly.
Harry looked up, eyebrows raised. "You've met her, then?"
Malfoy nodded. "Mother and I have a weekly tea date with her and young Edward."
"You never told me!"
"You never asked." Malfoy's gaze softened. "In case you've forgotten, you and I were still on "Hex first, ask later" terms before this trip started."
"You mean I was." Harry looked away again. "I was... a prat to you, I admit. You were far more patient and generous with me than I had any right to expect."
Malfoy let out a disbelieving snort. "Potter, you've been dealing with your issues from the war. We all understand that – and by that I mean everyone in your life, not just me. That doesn't excuse you being a prat, but it does explain it and make everyone more patient. And as for me... I deserve everything you've said and done and more."
Harry's eyes widened. "Malfoy..." he paused. "Why would you say that? You've been a good partner to me, and I've been horrid."
Malfoy looked away, sadness darkening his features. "You know what I've done, Potter," he said quietly. "You know very well what's on my left arm. As much as I want your forgiveness, I understand why you can't give it."
Harry felt terribly guilty. "Malfoy, the only reason I was a prat to you was because I was being a prat to everyone. You didn't deserve it, and I've already forgiven you for the things you did. Will you forgive me for being a rubbish partner?"
Malfoy turned back to him, eyes wide. He stared for a moment. "You're serious." His tone was incredulous, disbelieving.
Harry raised a brow. "Of course! You being an excellent partner aside; you've gone out of your way to help me on this holiday. I owe you, Malfoy."
Malfoy smiled, and the brilliance of it nearly blinded Harry. The contrast with his earlier miserable expression was similar to the sun bursting out from behind dark clouds. It was awe-inspiring, and Harry felt desperately and pathetically drawn to it. It was all he could do not to leap up and snog Malfoy, so he settled for staring dumbly at him.
"If you owe me," Malfoy started to say, then hesitated.
"Yes?" Harry was a trifle breathless.
"You could call me Draco." Malfoy gave him a nervous smile.
"Draco." The name felt foreign on Harry's tongue, but it also felt like something he would love getting used to.
Malfoy gave him another brilliant smile. "Just like that," he murmured.
"I guess you should call me Harry, then, Mal- Draco."
Malfoy beamed. "Harry." His name was spoken with such reverence it made him blush.
Malfoy turned and headed out the door. "Well, Harry, it's time we got moving. If you want to stop at the Owlry before breakfast, we're going to need to hurry," he called over his shoulder.
Harry smiled weakly, before heaving himself out of the comfortable chair where he'd taken up residence and following Malfoy – Draco – out of the study.
"So, why does your family have its own Mind Healer?" Harry couldn't help asking the question as he and Draco strode towards the Apparition point. "It just seems a little unusual."
Draco nodded, biting his lip. "It is." He paused. "You've heard of the madness of the Blacks?"
Harry nodded. He vaguely remembered Sirius mentioning something about it.
"Well, it's not just a rumour. There's been a tendency towards madness in the Black family for generations. It's simply become common practice to employ a Mind Healer for the family as well as a regular Healer. Our Mind Healer doesn't look her age, but she's been with the family since before I was born."
"Oh." Harry took a moment to digest that information. He wondered if Draco would succumb to madness eventually, and found that idea rather painful. He shoved that thought away to deal with later. Or never.
"Aunt Bella went mad, you know. Azkaban worsened it, but she started going mad while she was about our age." Draco paused. "I know all you know of her is horrid – I don't know her any better, myself – but she used to be a rather lovely person, according to mother. She was mother's best friend when they were children, and it broke mother's heart when her mind started to go."
It was hard for Harry to think that Bellatrix Lestrange had ever been anything but a mad, evil woman, but he wondered now if there was any truth to Draco's words. It made him rather sad to think that there might be.
Draco led him into a room that was comfortably furnished like a small sitting room. The decor was chocolate-brown and royal blue. There were some comfortable chairs and a small coffee table, as well as some shelves with ornamental trinkets on them. It looked warm and inviting.
"This is Healer Venestus."
Draco gestured to a petite woman with long brown hair. She was pretty, yet professional in dark navy robes. While she wasn't dressed like a Healer, Harry figured that that was due to being out of the office and in a foreign country. There was an air about her that immediately put Harry at ease. He still felt uncomfortable about opening up to her, however.
Healer Venestus bowed her head. "Mr. Potter," she said with a small smile. "It's a pleasure to meet you."
Harry nodded back. "The same to you, Healer Venestus."
She smiled. "Please; call me Jamie."
"Call me Harry." Harry couldn't help returning her smile. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed Draco frowning, but chose to ignore that. He couldn't afford to pay any more attention to Draco than he already was.
"I trust Draco told you how this works?"
Harry nodded. "If you mean the Unbreakable Vow, yes. There's actually a second Unbreakable Vow I'd like you to take, if you're willing. I'll tell you why after you take the first one."
Jamie's eyebrows lifted, but she made no comment. "Shall we get started, then?"
Draco stepped forward and raised his wand. He spoke the words binding the Healer to secrecy, and once she and Harry completed the ritual, he felt marginally better about the idea of talking to her.
"I'd like you to take a second Vow, if you're willing," Harry said, feeling a trifle nervous. "One never to reveal how I was able to defeat Voldemort to anyone, and never to use the information for your own benefit or that of anyone else. To never use or speak of Voldemort's method of gaining immortality for your own sake or anyone else's."
Both she and Draco looked rather startled. "Immortality?" queried Draco.
Harry nodded. "Voldemort was immortal. That's why I had to wait a year to face him; I had to end his method of immortality without him finding out what I was doing."
He looked away. "I'm sure that you wouldn't reveal it anyway; but I promised Dumbledore I'd never tell anyone except Ron and Hermione. Hermione's told me lots of times since I killed Voldemort that she thinks I need to talk about it to someone, because of... what I had to do. She thinks it... damaged me." He flushed. "So I think I should listen to her and tell you. But I have to ask for the Vow, because of my promise to Dumbledore."
"What you had to do?" Draco sounded entirely too curious for his own good, so Harry decided to shut him up. He turned and met Draco's eyes.
"I had to die." The words felt strange on Harry's tongue. He'd only ever said them once before, to Ron and Hermione. For some reason he felt driven to explain, once he'd started. "I didn't survive the killing curse in the Forbidden Forest." Both Draco and Jamie were staring at him wide-eyed. "I was able to come back because of... something I can't explain, without that second Vow. But I didn't know that I'd be able to come back when I went into the Forest. And I went into the Forest to die, because it was the only way to kill him. My soul had to leave my body."
Harry looked away again. "It wasn't horrible, you know," he said quietly. "It was so peaceful. I almost wished I didn't have to come back. But he wasn't dead yet, and I couldn't let myself stay there when I could come back and finish him off. Even though I was given a choice... it really wasn't a choice."
Both Draco and Jamie looked shocked and a little sad. There was compassion in Jamie's eyes as she said, "I understand. I'll take the Vow."
Draco served as their bonder again, and Harry was grateful when it was over. Then he was suddenly nervous, because now Draco was going to leave and he was going to have to talk to the Healer.
"This is where I take my leave." Draco smiled at him, and he gave a weak smile back. He ran his fingers through his hair.
"I guess I'll see you later, then." Harry tried not to sound as miserable as he felt. From the way Draco quirked an eyebrow at him before he left, he had a feeling he hadn't succeeded.
"Do you want to sit down?"
Jamie motioned towards the chairs. Harry shook his head. "I'd rather stand right now, if that's alright."
She smiled warmly. "That's perfectly fine, Harry. We'll go at your pace, and I'll help you as well as I can."
Harry wandered over to the book shelf, eyeing the trinkets. He wondered if he was supposed to start.
"How have you been feeling, Harry?"
Harry jumped. "Er, fine?"
"Since the war," Jamie prodded softly. "How have you been holding up?"
Harry scowled at the shelf. "I've been fine."He huffed. "I'm working as hard as I can to try to make the sacrifices of the people who died worthwhile, is all; people don't seem to understand that!"
"Is that why you've been working so hard?"
Harry turned to look at her, rolling his eyes. "Of course! I have to make up for their sacrifices!"
"Do you really think that, Harry? That you can make up for anyone's sacrifice?"
"Of course not!" Harry shouted. "But I have to try, don't I?"
"Because it's my fault!"
Harry stood facing her, fists clenched at his sides, breathing shallowly. "It's my fault," he whispered.
She reached out and touched his arm. "And why do you believe that, Harry?"
He clenched his jaw. "I should have killed him sooner. I should have been faster, smarter, stronger..." He swallowed around the lump in his throat. "I should have killed him sooner. I failed them." He closed his eyes.
"So why didn't you?"
Harry opened his eyes, blinking at her in confusion. "Why didn't I kill him sooner?"
She nodded. There was no judgement in her eyes, only a desire to understand.
Harry swallowed again. He wasn't used to this. People – that is, Hermione and Ron – who had heard him say that simply rushed to assure him that it wasn't his fault, and that he couldn't have done anything differently, etc.
He had assumed a Mind Healer would do the same. But she wasn't doing that, and Harry found it refreshing, even as it somehow also hurt for some unfathomable reason.
"I had to destroy all his Horcruxes before I could," he said quietly. "And I wasn't smart or strong or fast enough to find them all sooner."
"What's a Horcrux?"
"Very Dark magic." Harry turned away. "A Horcrux is created by storing a piece of your soul in an object using a murder as the catalyst. It's one of the Darkest forms of magic in existence, so Dark that few have ever dared to use it; even though it gives the maker of the Horcrux immortality. Voldemort made seven."
She was silent a few moments. "I see."
He nodded, absently fingering one of the trinkets on the shelf; a little silver Hungarian Horntail. "We had to figure out what the objects he used were, where he'd hidden them, and what protections we'd have to overcome to retrieve them. Then we had to destroy them – which is harder than it sounds, since there are very few ways to destroy a Horcrux. Fiendfyre, Basilisk venom... like I said; it's very difficult to do."
There was silence for a moment. At Harry's touch, the little dragon had woken up, shaking its head and blinking its eyes blearily. Harry couldn't help admiring it, any more than he could help noticing that it was the same colour as Draco's eyes. It yawned, and Harry smiled faintly. The little guy was really cute.
Then it launched itself into the air, flapping its wings and circling around Harry's head. His smile grew as he craned his neck to watch it.
"So, these Horcruxes are what the late Headmaster made you promise never to tell anyone about?"
Harry nodded absently, his attention focused on the little dragon.
"There was his diary, the Gaunt family ring, a locket that belonged to Salazar Slytherin, a cup that belonged to Helga Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw's lost diadem, and his snake, Nagini.
He reached out and stroked the little dragon's scales, and he flew closer and nuzzled Harry's cheek with his tiny snout.
"You said he made seven, but you only mentioned six," Jamie pointed out.
Harry's smile faded, and even the little dragon butting his head against the side of Harry's face couldn't revive it. He wrapped his arms around himself protectively.
"He only made six intentionally. During the Battle of Hogwarts I found out... I found out that when he cast the Killing Curse on me as a baby and it rebounded, he accidentally made me his seventh Horcrux."
Harry stared at the wall without seeing it. He spoke mechanically. "I had to die before he could."
He turned his attention back to the little dragon, wondering absently why it was so hard to talk about this stuff. It wasn't that it hurt, or anything. But it made him feel somehow vulnerable and he didn't like it.
He stroked its back while it sulked at him, clearly not pleased to have been ignored before. He grinned. "I'm gonna call you Little Malfoy."
The little dragon snorted at him and butted his chin again, forgiven.
"So you died to save everyone, then."
Harry stiffened slightly. He nodded, and continued playing with Little Malfoy.
"How did you find out about the Horcruxes, Harry? You said Headmaster Dumbledore told you?"
Harry nodded. "I destroyed the diary at the end of my second year – that was what was behind that whole mess with the Chamber of Secrets. Hearing my account of it was what made Dumbledore suspect Horcruxes, and he began searching for more. He found one the summer after my fifth year, and destroyed it – but there was a curse on it that meant he was dying. I don't know if you heard about my testimony at Malfoy's – Draco's – trial or not, but that was why he was already dying."
He ran a hand through his hair. "He figured out where another one was at the end of sixth year, and we had just come back from trying to retrieve it when he died." Harry shook his head. "Of course, it turned out that what we thought was a Horcrux was a fake; a decoy. The real one had been moved by a Death Eater turned traitor. But Dumbledore figured out what the Horcruxes were. He didn't know what heirloom of Ravenclaw's or of Hufflepuff's would be a Horcrux, only that it was likely some important artifact belonging to one of those Founders."
"So, let me understand this, Harry – over the course of four years, Professor Dumbledore; a powerful, intelligent wizard over a hundred and fifty years old, found out two Horcruxes. You, a seventeen year old wizard who hadn't even written your NEWTs yet, found and destroyed the remaining four Horcruxes in one year."
Harry opened his mouth and closed it again, trying to find something to argue with. Nothing she'd said was technically incorrect, but it sounded wrong.
"I had help," he managed, finally.
"Yes; two other seventeen year olds who hadn't written their NEWTs yet, either."
"Harry," Jamie's tone was kind. "You somehow blame yourself for not being smart enough or strong enough or fast enough to end the war sooner – but if Dumbledore couldn't do it any faster, what makes you think that you should have been able to?"
Harry swallowed. He didn't know how to articulate what he felt.
"You have nothing to feel guilty about, Harry."
"Then why do I feel so ashamed?" He wasn't even conscious of speaking the words aloud.
"What do you feel ashamed of?"
"Surviving," Harry whispered. He stared at the ground again. "Why should I have got to come back, when no one else did?"
She was silent for a while. "Why don't you tell me how you came back? I want to be able to help you, but if I don't understand everything, it'll be hard for me to do that."
Harry shivered involuntarily. So far he'd been speaking more out of the desire for shock value and the sheer liberation of saying things out loud that he'd been sworn to secrecy about for so long, but he was beginning to feel cagey about revealing so much.
"You know about the Deathly Hallows, right?" He glanced at Jamie, and she nodded.
"The children's story?"
Harry absently petted Little Malfoy, reluctant to speak. He'd already shared so much, and didn't really feel any better at all – in fact, he almost felt worse. But he heaved a sigh and forced himself to continue sharing.
"They're not just a story. Ignotius Peverell was my ancestor; he passed the Invisibility Cloak down through the generations, to me. I'm also the Master of the Elder Wand, and the Keeper of the Resurrection Stone. I'm the Master of Death." He made air quotes as he gave himself the title; it made him feel a little less ridiculous.
"Because there were two souls in my body when Voldemort cast that second killing curse on me, and because I'm the Master of Death... I was given the choice to move on or come back." He shrugged. "That's all."
He glanced up, and noticed Jamie was staring at him, wide-eyed. "You do realise what an absolutely astonishing person you are, right, Harry?" she asked.
He flushed. "I'm not; not really. I'm just an ordinary bloke. I just did what I had to do."
She shook her head. "Harry... think about it, for a moment. You and your friends found and destroyed all those Horcruxes in just a year. Then you willingly chose to die to save everyone, and because you somehow became the Master of Death – something most witches and wizards have always believed to be a mere children's story – you chose to come back to life to defeat You-Know-Who. Harry... you're anything but ordinary."
He flushed and scowled. He'd thought she was different; someone who wouldn't fawn over him.
"Harry," she said again, voice gentle. "I don't mean that in a bad way. I don't mean that in the way that you're the Saviour of the wizarding world, either – but that you're an amazing individual, with great strength of character."
"I'm lucky," Harry insisted. "Not smart, or clever, or powerful; or anything really. Just very lucky."
She chuckled. "Even if it is only luck; it's more luck than anyone I've ever met has ever had before – more luck than I've ever heard of anyone having before."
Harry flushed. Little Malfoy head butted him, trying to get his attention again. Harry smiled and returned to his petting and stroking of the little figurine. He was already feeling regretful about the end of the session, when the little dragon would have to be spelled back to sleep again.
Toy or not, Harry was growing fond of him.
Jamie sighed. "Harry, I'm not trying to convince you that you're anything like the hero the Prophet is always trumpeting you as being. I just want you to understand that you have no reason to feel guilty for anything. As a neutral party, not one of your friends or enemies, someone who knows everything you can't tell anyone else... I want you to believe that, if nothing else."
Harry stared at Little Malfoy, stroking the little dragon's head, struggling with the warring emotions within. "I guess I'm just pretty messed up, then," he said softly.
She gave him an encouraging smile. "Admitting you have a problem is the first step towards fixing it, though."
He shot her a grateful look. "You sound like Hermione, sometimes."
She grinned. "I think I'd like your friend Hermione," she declared, and Harry laughed.
"Let's have some tea, Harry," she said, gesturing to the small coffee table, where a tea service appeared when she waved her wand. He felt just a little lighter as he moved to sit down across from her.
"So how was it?"
Harry jumped. He and Jamie had just finished bidding one other goodbye, and she had informed him that she would be coming back every morning to meet with him until she felt comfortable dialing back their appointments somewhat. He was still smiling as he watched her walk away when Draco's voice startled him.
He turned and gave Draco a sheepish smile. "It wasn't too bad. She's quite lovely. I didn't really enjoy opening up very much, but she was very understanding and didn't push me too much. We had tea and I made a new friend." He reached up and stroked his dragon's tiny snout. "Draco, meet Little Malfoy."
Draco's brows shot up and he let out a disbelieving snort. "Little Malfoy?"
Harry grinned at him cheekily. "He's got quite the attitude when he's ignored," he informed his partner, snickering. "Besides," he added, his voice softened as the little dragon nuzzled his cheek. "He's the same colour as your eyes."
Draco's eyes widened and he flushed. He looked away and coughed. "Potter, you do realise it's just a toy, right?"
Harry rolled his eyes. "See what I mean?" he asked Little Malfoy. "The two of you have loads in common. I bet you'll get along famously."
Little Malfoy lit upon his shoulder, curling up and nuzzling into Harry's neck contentedly.
"Except you're cuter," he told the little dragon with an unhealthy degree of fondness in his tone.
He shot Draco a glare. "I'm keeping him, Malfoy." He jutted his chin out stubbornly. "Tell me how much you want for him. But I'm not putting him back to sleep."
Draco looked stunned. Then his lips twitched and he looked like he was trying not to laugh.
"How's this," he bargained. "You put him back – for now –" he cut in when Harry opened his mouth to object. "You can play with him when you and Jamie have your sessions, and when it's time for us to go back to Britain, you can take him with you. Deal?"
Harry pursed his lips. He wanted to object, but he had to acknowledge that he technically didn't have a right to keep the little dragon, anyway. He nodded reluctantly.
Draco grinned. "Good. Now let's get that little guy put away, and we'll go have lunch. I booked the pitch for after, so you'd better eat enough to keep up your energy for a few Seeker's games."
Harry laughed, delighted. The idea of flying with Draco again was cathartic. The images his mind supplied them of Draco sweaty and flushed after a game or two of chasing the snitch made his trousers tighten and he groaned mentally.
"Alright, Draco," he sighed. "You're gonna have to show me how to put this little guy back to sleep."
Little Malfoy shot him a betrayed look and Harry tried not to acknowledge that a knickknack was guilt tripping him.
Draco threw back his head and laughed at the stricken look on his face. Harry stared in fascination at the pale lines of his neck, the way it curved and almost glowed with milky white perfection. He swallowed roughly.
Merlin, I am so fucked.
"Is that the best you can do, Potter?" Draco jeered.
Harry grinned and leaned flat on his broom, putting on a burst of speed and quickly passing the blond. Draco swore and sped up, trying to reclaim his lead.
Harry laughed and flew faster.
"You're all talk, Malfoy!" he called back. "But you haven't beat me yet!"
"That's it, Potter!" Draco snarled. "This means war!"
Harry burst out laughing again and dove sharply, pretending to spot the snitch. Draco was hot on his tail, practically foaming at the mouth in his eagerness to overtake him.
Spotting a little glint in the distance, Harry did an abrupt one-eighty and shot off towards the actual snitch, arm outstretched. He could hear Draco in the distance, swearing a blue streak and he struggled to catch up.
Harry cackled and leaned into the wind, reaching until he felt the soft fluttering wings of the snitch against his hand. He raised his arm, holding the snitch aloft as he crowed in triumph.
Draco glowered at him and he threw back his head and laughed. He felt lighter and freer and happier than he'd felt in so long.
"Who showed who, eh, Malfoy?" He beamed at Draco, then noticed the stunned expression on the blond's face.
Draco was breathing heavily, sweaty and flushed from exertion. His hair was wind-blown and the blond strands were plastered to his face. His eyes glowed dark silver. Harry felt the desire for him uncoil in his gut like a living thing, screaming for release.
He couldn't speak. Couldn't move. It was all he could do not to launch himself at the Slytherin. He felt dizzy from the force of sheer want that coursed through him. All he could do was stare and ache with every fiber of his being for Draco.
He couldn't even remember that he wasn't supposed to want this. That he was cursed and that that was the only reason he felt this way.
All he could think of was Malfoy, Malfoy, Malfoy. Draco. Draco, Draco, Draco.
"Alright there, Harry?"
Harry closed his eyes and forced himself to breathe. He forced a smile onto his face and opened them again.
"Yeah, Draco. Thanks for the game!"
Draco's answering smile lit his world.
So fucked. Oh, Merlin. I am so very, very fucked.
Harry was astonished when Draco didn't make him wait while he showered, but rather led the way back to their rooms where they could shower in privacy.
"Don't you want to shower here?"
Draco paused and arched a brow at him. "Do you want to shower here?"
Harry reddened. "Well, no... I'm er, not good with group showers."
Draco shrugged. "So we can head back to our rooms and shower there."
"You're okay with that?"
"Well, I don't want to make you wait around for me to shower. I can handle waiting till we get back. I'm not interested in making you uncomfortable for something that doesn't even matter to me." Draco gave him a crooked sort of smile, and Harry felt himself glow.
Draco just looked so... edible. His face was flushed from exertion, and his hair hung damp around his face, some of the strands plastered to his forehead and the nape of his neck. They looked more golden than white when they were wet. His shirt clung to him, and his trousers were just snug enough to outline his assets enticingly. The way he stood, looking so elegant, made the desire in Harry's gut flare.
Then there was the talk of showering, and Harry couldn't stop picturing Draco in the shower. Picturing that gorgeous body on display, his handsome face; hearing that incredible voice. He remembered it all vividly – every inch of Draco he'd seen, with water cascading over it – and it was all he could do to keep his knees from buckling.
His throat felt so dry, and he felt such intense need for Draco that he could have cried from sheer frustration. But he didn't. He gritted his teeth and forced it back, using every ounce of control he possessed to turn his head away from Draco and begin moving towards the Apparition point.
"Let's go then!" he snapped. He knew he should be grateful, but the sight of his partner, coupled with how thoughtful and considerate he was being, made it impossible for Harry to be nice to him right now. If he didn't plan on seizing the prat and doing unspeakable things to him, that is.
"Yes, why thank you, Draco. It's so nice of you to think of me!" Draco's sarcastic drawl reached his ears and made his face burn with embarrassment, at the same time as his trousers tightened. Draco started walking alongside him, matching his long stride to Harry's.
Harry cleared his throat, deliberately not looking Draco's way. "Uh, erm, thanks, Draco." He knew it was insufficient, and sighed. "I'm sorry; I just started thinking and got upset." That was true. There was no need to mention what he was thinking.
"About your session?" Draco's voice was both sympathetic and worried.
Harry coughed. "No, I, er..." He searched frantically for a safe topic. Damn this stupid spell! That gave him an idea and he rushed to use it. "I'm just frustrated because of that spell. I hope Hermione's gotten back to me already."
There. Nothing Draco could be suspicious about with that.
Draco stopped walking. "I'm sorry," he said in a small voice. "I wish I could take that spell back. You have no idea how much." He finished in a whisper, and Harry turned to look at him, feeling somewhat guilty that he'd made Draco feel bad after everything the blond had done for him.
"It's alright. You didn't do it on purpose. Please don't feel bad about it." He ached to comfort the blond. The sight of him looking so wretched made his gut twist. Draco shouldn't look like that. He should look as untamed and wild and happy as he'd appeared in the air.
Draco gave him a wan smile. "I can't help that."
Harry reached out without thinking. He trailed his fingers along the side of Draco's face. "Please," he said softly. "I don't want you to be unhappy."
Realising what he was doing as Draco's eyes grew wide, he snatched his hand back as though it had been burned. He whirled around and strode to the Apparition point as quickly as he could.
Because he moved so fast, he didn't see the way Draco's cheeks flushed or how he raised a hand to touch his face where Harry's fingers had been moments before. He missed the wide-eyed look of stunned disbelief and happiness on his partner's face as his lips parted in a small "Oh."
Harry entered the little foyer between his and Draco's rooms, and started towards his door when he noticed a letter sitting on the little table between their doors. His name was scrawled on it in familiar handwriting.
He lifted it curiously, before Draco walked in and glanced at him.
"The staff must've brought it in while we were flying," Draco offered.
Harry nodded, and headed into his room, almost forgetting to say goodbye. He turned. "I'll see you later, Draco. Oh, and, er... thanks for... for everything."
He blushed lightly, and noticed that Draco's cheeks were pink as well. Still flushed from flying. Why does he have to be so fucking beautiful?
"See you, Harry," Draco said softly, and damn if that voice didn't just roll across him like silk and make him shudder. He headed into his room right away, where he slumped across the door as soon as he'd closed it behind himself.
One more minute with him and I'd have lost control. I can barely help myself anymore.
Is it possible to want someone that much without being under the influence of a spell or a potion? I can't believe it is. It's like I'm starving and he's the only meal in existence.
He glanced down at the letter in his hand, where his name stood out in Hermione's flowing script. He opened it.
Of course I'll help you! What kind of friend do you take me for? Honestly.
I've never heard of anything like that, but I'll start researching right away. I have some free time right now, since things have slowed down at work. It would really help if I knew your symptoms. I understand that if it's personal, it might be embarrassing, but if I'm having trouble finding anything, you're going to have to tell me.
You know you can trust me, right?
I love you. You're my brother, and I'll love you no matter what.
I'll do my best to see what I can come up with, but I wanted to let you know that you need to be prepared to give me more information if I need it.
P.S. You have nothing to be sorry for. Understand? Absolutely nothing. I know how hard things have been for you, and I'm so glad you're getting help – because you deserve to be happy, and you haven't been. That's all I want for you, Harry – happiness.
Harry folded the letter and smiled. Even though his gut clenched at the thought of telling anyone about his obsession with Draco, he couldn't help feeling relieved that Hermione was going to help him.
Maybe things weren't so hopeless, after all.