If there’s one thing Draco had in buckets, it was resolve. He knew that if he could get through sixth and seventh year with a megalomaniacal murderer living in his house, he could get through eighth year too. He had his plan, and it was simple: Don’t talk to people. Don’t get involved. Focus on getting as many N.E.W.T.S. as possible.
His plan was ruined, of course, by Potter. Potter and his stupid Interhouse Unity Rounders team.
Interhouse rounders had originally been the brainchild of Granger, who had wanted to call it Solving House Issues Through Sports. Weasley and Finnegan’s raucous laughter over the acronym had only gone some way to dissuading her. Until then, Draco hadn’t even been aware Muggles had any sports other than football. And that only had one ball, and no flying at all. Football players and Quidditch players had equally ridiculous haircuts, he knew that much at least.
Draco had been standing in the broomshed one Saturday, in a silent standoff against a Nimbus 2004. One of these days, he would be able to take hold of a broom without tasting soot and sweat and blood and panic. Losing his peace of mind was one thing, but losing the joy of flying, having it stolen from him, was too much to bear. The Room hadn’t shown itself since the Fiendfyre. Whether the castle was healing itself, or burning up from the inside, Draco didn’t know.
He heard voices and footsteps approaching the shed, the unmistakable cadence of Weasley and Potter. The broomshed only had one door, and he didn’t feel very much like explaining why he was shedding tears amongst sporting equipment. He knew Potter would insist on asking what was wrong, and not leave it alone. Tactless and insensitive, that’s what Potter was. Ever since they had come back for eighth year, he seemed to be everywhere, striking up inane conversations. Draco cast a strong Disillusionment charm on himself and hurried into the corner by the door.
“Beater’s bat, plastic cones and — what was it you said?”
Weasley’s voice echoed in the wooden shed, for the fool had shut the door behind him. They would doubtless notice it opening by itself if Draco tried to escape. That whole business of Death Eaters breaking into the school and killing a good proportion of the students had made people rather jumpy. Draco would rather wait for them to leave than end up with his legs jinxed together for all eternity.
“Just a ball… But not like a Quaffle, much smaller. And not magic.”
Potter and Weasley both started rummaging in the shelves, dislodging a good layer of dust. Eventually they found something satisfactory. A small white ball with stitching. Potter tossed it in the air and caught it a few times. Draco could only see his profile, but Potter looked pensive.
“You think Malfoy will want to play with us?” said Potter. Weasley snorted.
“I’ve told you before, mate. Any chance to beat you in a sport and he’ll take it. Doesn’t matter if he doesn’t know the rules.”
Potter hummed a non-committal noise.
“Doesn’t matter, does it? He’s got no choice, it’s interhouse unity. It’ll look bad if he doesn’t join in. And then McGonagall’ll be after him. Or worse — ‘Mione.”
Potter grumbled something in response.
“Oh, is that what’s got your knickers in a twist? Why do you care, Harry?”
Potter sighed deeply and scrunched a hand through his wild hair.
“I don’t know. Come on, we got the stuff, let’s go.” He swung the bat over his shoulder and stowed the ball in his tracksuit pocket. Weasley stepped out of the shed, but Potter hovered in the doorway.
He gazed around the air in the corner of the broomshed, then his eyes fixed on Draco. He surely couldn’t see him - not while Draco was disillusioned - but Potter smiled a little embarrassed smile. Draco held his breath and tried not to reach for his wand. At Weasley’s beckon, Potter tore his eyes away and slowly stepped out, closing the door gently behind him.
Draco didn’t know what they were doing with bats and balls and cones until later that evening, when Granger corralled all the eighth years into the common room for one of her announcements. Solving House Issues Through Sport was framed as voluntary, but Draco knew how seriously the ex-Prefect and Honorary Head Girl took interhouse unity. Each of the Golden Trio did this year, being offensively polite and genial and developing a sudden allergy to grudges. They were probably receiving a stipend from the Ministry for good deeds.
Granger and Potter explained the rules of the game, and everyone agreed to meet before lunch the next day. They would play in the grassy area behind the greenhouses, overlooking the lake. Draco sat furthest from the hearth and barely listened to any of it. He was too distracted by how Potter looked, stood in front of a crowd. Fidgeting incessantly, slouching, biting his thumbnails. He couldn’t stop thinking about the broomshed, how Potter had looked directly into Draco’s invisible face.
This scruffy eighteen year old saved the wizarding world.
Finnegan appeared by the greenhouses fashionably late and unfashionably dressed, wearing a baseball cap turned backwards. Draco, who had been discussing Transfiguration homework with Granger, was rendered momentarily speechless.
“Alright there, Malfoy? Stunned by my stunning physique?”
Dean Thomas appeared by Finnegan’s side, rolling his eyes. Now, Thomas really did have a stunning physique. Six foot something and biceps to die for.
“I was just thinking how that hat makes you look like Martin Miggs.”
“Martin Miggs?” said Thomas. “Is he in Ravenclaw?”
There was a bark of laughter and all four turned to see Weasley doubled over, and Potter standing next to him looking amused.
“Martin Miggs!” he shouted, pointing at Finnegan. “The Mad Muggle! You do as well, Seam!”
“What, from those kids books?” asked Potter.
“Oh, feck off! I look like Babe Ruth, more like!”
This prompted a babe who? from everyone but Seamus. He was about to answer, but was cut off by a piece of netted fabric flying into his face.
“Put your bibs on, losers!” Ginny Weasley shouted enthusiastically, arranging cones across the lawn in a large pentagon formation. Interhouse rounders was meant to be for eighth years, but she had brought Luna with her, so Draco didn’t feel like complaining. Plus, G. Weasley (Girl Weasley) had a big gob, but she was probably the most athletic of all of them.
She threw out a few more bibs and instructed the girls to form a line and boys to spread out across the field. An uneasy feeling settled in Draco’s stomach as he realised he hadn’t been listening to the rules yesterday at all. He decided it was safest to stand as far away from the action as possible, near the edge of the lake.
Granger was first in line, and Potter walked into the centre of the… pitch? In the centre of the cones, at any rate. He caught the ball G. Weasley threw at him, and bowled it to Granger, slow underhand. A swing and a miss. Finnegan was first to call “Out!” and a minor argument started.
“I thought we weren’t scoring points, Ginny? The whole point of S.H.I- of this game is interhouse unity.”
“Don’t be stupid, Herm! Of course we’re bloody scoring! We’re just not in house teams!” G. Weasley shouted back.
“I’ve told you not to call me Herm.”
“You said it was better than Bookherm.”
The dispute over whether ‘bookworm’ was an affectionate endearment or a jibe continued for a while until Hannah Abbott forcefully took the bat from Granger’s hands and stood on the green cone opposite Potter.
The game restarted, and Draco worked out that batters hit the ball, dropped the bat for the next player, and ran around the ring of cones until the ball was caught and thrown back. If a ball hits the base cone before the player, that player is out.
With the exception of Luna, all of the batters are right-handed, so the balls ended up on one side of the field. Fifteen minutes later, Draco had barely moved at all. He watched Harry bowl instead.
There are no foul throws, but it’s wasted upon this batting team. Luna caught the ball in her hand instead of swinging the bat. Granger missed several times, but everybody managed to be graciously looking the other way while this happened so as to not start another argument.
When Potter threw to G. Weasley, the ball swept across the air in a clean arc, and hit against the wood of the bat - but she made no move to swing it. Instead she picked up the ball and threw it back at him. It hit him hard on the thigh, and he yelped. Just because they were girls didn’t mean he had to throw so slowly, she yelled, and if he carried on with condescending bowling she would shove the ball where the sun doesn’t shine.
As amusing as this tirade was, Draco had been watching and knew she was wrong. Potter was throwing easy balls to an awful lot of them, but not to the Muggleborns. He was throwing slower to the witches who had never had a chance to play the game before, which Draco thought was very thoughtful of him. Still, it was thoughtless to bowl slow to Gryffindors best Beater, who was coincidentally Gryffindors best Bat-Bogey hexer.
It was because he had been watching Harry closely that he noticed immediately when he turned, pointed, and then started waving his arms at Draco like a drowning man. A split-second later a tentacle the size of a tree trunk had grasped Draco round the midriff, dragging him underwater.
“You know, that happened to Sirius once,” Harry said, when Draco stepped out of the showers. He must have been waiting. In ambush.
“Yeah. Well I say happened to him, I think he brought it upon himself. He was trying to teach it to sing.”
“It? By it, you mean the Giant Squid?” Draco asked. “Trying to teach it to sing?”
Harry grinned. Draco spelled his hair dry and there was silence while he put his shoes on.
“Your hair looks nice like that.”
This compliment comes out of thin air and slaps Draco round the face.
If Draco’s hair looked nice, it was a complete accident. He hadn’t cut it since the summer before seventh year, and didn’t see the point in spelling it straight anymore. He didn’t much like looking in the mirror these days.
“Yeah, it’s all… curly. Like your mum’s.”
“Are you trying to tell me you fancy my mother, Potter?”
“Well, she is a pretty lady,” he said with a crooked smile. Draco whipped him with the discarded wet towel.
“As flattered as she would be to hear you say that, please never express that opinion again in my presence.”
“So it’s alright to express it to other people, then?”
It only takes one raised eyebrow for Harry to hold his hands up in surrender.
“Kidding! Really though, it looks nice.”
They walk to lunch together, and Harry fails to mention that he has been writing to Narcissa for months.
The second game of S.H.I.T.S. is also somewhat of a disaster. Draco is run out by Hermione, which is something he didn’t know could happen. If one player runs to a base another player is already on, the player at the base is out. Which means they have to sit on the grass by the batters, wondering which they will die of first: boredom or heatstroke.
On top of that, Hannah Abbott’s home run has sent the ball over the wall and crashing straight through the roof of one of the greenhouses.
Her and Longbottom, it has been decided, are the players least likely to be flayed alive by Professor Sprout, so they have gone off to retrieve it. Somebody grumbles about it being idiotic to bring only one ball to a rounders game, but it’s pointed out that the Hogwarts broomshed doesn’t have a surplus of non-magical balls. Seamus then offers Lavender his magical balls, Granger docks ten points from her own house for chauvinist pig-ness, and it all ends in a lot of shouting.
Harry is stood on second base, hands thrust moodily into the pockets of his tracksuit bottoms. Eventually he gives up waiting for Neville and Hannah, strides over and flops down on his back next to Draco, away from the others. Draco busies himself with the task of pulling grass out of the field, clump by clump.
“Are you okay?”
It would be an ordinary question, if not for the way Potter said it and the length of time it took to ask. He looks over, and Potters face is so earnest that Draco feels he should give an honest answer. But he doesn’t know what to say.
He’s not in Azkaban, like his father. He’s not under house arrest, like his mother. He should be okay. But to say so would be a lie. He hasn’t felt anything close to okay for a good few months, and he’s not sure he will ever deserve to.
“I’ve just noticed,” he said. “Lately you seem a bit… reticent.”
“That’s a big word for you, Potter.” The jibe falls off his tongue before he can stop it, a reflex.
“Hermione bought me word-of-the-day toilet paper.”
Draco can’t help but laugh. He’s grateful for the levity, the defusal, the knowledge that Potter won’t let them fall back into old patterns.
“If you ever want to talk,” he said, quietly.
“We’re talking now.”
“You know what I mean.”
Draco did know what he meant. They looked at each other for a long time, until they couldn’t look at each other anymore.
Harry picked a blade of grass, cupped it in his hands and held it up to his mouth.
“What are you doing?”
Harry blew against his thumbs.
“There used to be a trick,” he said. “If you blow on the grass right, it whistles.”
He tried a few more times, with no luck. “That’s what I thought magic was, before Hogwarts. Making grass sing.”
Curse Headmistress McGonagall. It was all her fault. She was the one who, when allocating private rooms for each of the eighth year students, had decided initials would be a suitable naming convention. That is why when a tired Draco attempted to return a book to Hermione Jean Granger, he ended up walking into the room marked H.J.P. instead.
Draco had already stepped over the threshold before he noticed Harry was crying. He froze, trying to work out how incredibly callous it would be to back out of the room slowly and pretend he didn’t see anything. He was hideous at comforting people, one of the side effects of being a lonely only child.
“…Are you alright?”
Harry rubbed his hands over his eyes, under his glasses, and left them there. Draco saw parchment pages of a letter and photographs in his lap.
“I’m alright,” Harry said, in a voice far too small for someone who had singlehandedly defeated a Basilisk at twelve years old.
The awkwardness of standing at the bedside of a sniffling Harry Potter eventually got too much, and Draco decided to sit down next to him. He didn’t know where to look, so he looked around the room. Harry’s school robes were crumpled on the floor, along with a pair of muddy trainers with knotted laces. A jar of broom polish sat on the bedside table, leaking black onto scattered chocolate frog cards.
“Your bedroom is a disgrace.”
This earned him a wet laugh. He wondered if a comforting hand on the back would be appropriate, and it probably would be, if Draco wasn’t Draco and Harry wasn’t Harry. While thinking about this, he saw movement in the photograph out of the corner of his eye. It was a Polaroid. A little blonde girl stood in frame, no more than ten years old, wearing a red pinafore dress with wildflowers tucked into the pocket. She was waving excitedly at Draco, bouncing on the balls of her feet.
“Is that… Is that my mother?”
“Must be,” Harry said, looking down. “She sent it to me. She said she had an old picture of- of Sirius, and thought I’d want to see it.” A young boy with close cropped hair bounded into frame, sticking his tongue out cheekily. Draco only knew about his cousin from wanted posters. The feral, tattered man from those posters didn’t match up with this cheeky boy who taught the squid to sing. But they had the same pointed face, same glint of mischief in the eye.
Harry stared down at the photo, absorbing every inch of it. He looked to be welling up, and Draco had to do something. Talking would be useless, so he took Harry’s hand and gripped it tight.
Harry gripped back, and flopped down against the pillows, closing his eyes. He looked exhausted.
“She writes to me sometimes. Your mum.”
“My mother writes to you?” Draco turned his head to look incredulously at Harry, but Harry still had his eyes closed. “What on earth does she write about?”
“Just… stuff. Her rose garden’s coming along nicely, she says.” Draco gaped.
“And do you write back?”
“And what in Merlin’s name do you write, in these letters to my mother?”
Harry smiled, basking in Draco’s surprise. Turning his neck to gape at Harry, who still had his eyes closed anyway, was getting uncomfortable. Lying down next to him seemed to be the most sensible thing to do. Harry didn’t take his hand away. If anything, he seemed to be holding on.
“She wants to know what’s going on at Hogwarts. Just boring things. I told her about that time Seamus exploded his own birthday card and we were blowing confetti out of our noses for a week.”
Draco winced. He remembered that incident. He had been too near to the cake when it had happened, and spent the next Sunday shaking hundreds and thousands out of his ear.
“She wants to know how you are.”
“She said you’d say that. I think-” Harry opened his eyes then, pulling on Draco’s hand and rolling closer to him, “You’d tell her everything was fine, even if it wasn’t.”
Of course I would. She’s my mother.
“I am fine, considering.”
“Considering,” Harry repeated. They lay side-by-side in silence for a while, staring up the bedhangings. From the outside they were a gaudy Gryffindor red, but on the inside, midnight blue. There were some little plastic stars tacked on to the ceiling, glow-in-the-dark.
“So that’s why you’ve been badgering me.”
“I’m not sure asking how you are counts as badgering,” Harry argued. His cheeks were tear stained. “But no, it isn’t. Am I not allowed to care about you?”
No, Draco thought. Not after I broke your nose. And did all those other, worse things.
The silence stretches on, and Harry’s breathing is so quiet and slow that Draco thinks he’s fallen asleep.
“It’s fine not to be fine.” It’s not clear whether Harry is talking to Draco, or to himself.
“Very wise, Potter.” he mumbled back.
Draco doesn’t know what time it is, or in fact where he is, when he hears a door open somewhere to his right. He thinks vaguely about opening his eyes, but they happen to be made of lead, and the bed is so very soft. He meanders along the line between waking and sleeping, dreams slipping through his fingers like water. His fingers, he thinks, are touching something. Potter’s hand. They are still holding hands.
Seconds later, or minutes, or half an hour, he remembered he heard a door open. Potter’s door. It must be Potter coming back. But it can’t be, because Harry is lying right next to him.
Draco sensed someone bending over him, and forced his tired eyes open a fraction. Even in the darkness, he could make out Granger’s bushy hair.
She gently removed Potter’s glasses, and placed them on the bedside table. She put the photographs and the letter aside without reading it. Then she stood up and regarded them for a moment, before taking a blanket from the open wardrobe and placing it carefully over the both of them.
It was only when she leant down and kissed Harry on the cheek that it struck Draco - Harry had never had his mother do this for him. Not when he was old enough to remember. They say you can’t miss what you never had, but Draco knew that was a load of bullshit.
Granger left, and the unfairness of it all suffocated him.
He lifted himself up on his elbows, brushing hair out of his face with his free hand. His heart ached, and he tried to soothe it by pouring a million unsaid apologies into a single feather light kiss.
He had half drifted off before his head hit the pillow again, and felt very far away when he heard Potter’s voice.
Draco was in the Room again, but he knew he was dreaming. It was still hot, hotter than anything, suffocating and choking. But it was silent. He looked down upon the mountain of chairs and desks and miscellaneous crap and felt his stomach and his head spin with sickening vertigo. And then - like always - he was holding Harry’s hand. Anchored.
The hand pulled, and Draco let it pull him, out of the fire, out of the Room, and out of the dream.
“Draco. I’ve got to go to Defence.”
He opened his eyes. Harry was crouched on the floor next to the bed, leaning in close, gently shaking Draco’s shoulder with one hand. The ugly Muggle alarm clock was blinking, showing the time to be 8:52am.
“You’re going to be late,” he said fuzzily. Harry, chronically unpunctual and unpeturbed by lateness, grinned.
“You wouldn’t let me go.”
Draco absent-mindedly noticed the tugging again, and saw Harry’s other hand was still intertwined with his own. Harry had probably been trying to extricate it for some time. Draco reluctantly let go, stretching his stiff fingers out experimentally.
Harry kept looking at him, looking and looking as if he was deciding something, having some inner argument about whether or not to follow one of his ridiculous Harry Potter impulses. Before Draco could figure out what it was, there was a knock at the door that startled them both out of their reverie. Bloody Weasley.
“Two minutes!” Harry called to the door. He padded about the room fetching trainers, crumpled robes that had been discarded on the floor the previous night, equally crumpled parchment, and his wand from where it lay on the bedside table. Draco watched him throw on the robes over the slept-in jeans and jumper. He looked atrociously scruffy, in an irritatingly charming way. He should at least use an ironing charm.
Harry crouched by the bed once again and leant in.
“I’ll see you later? At S.H.I.T.S, yeah?”
Forget his robes, Harry’s hair needed an ironing charm. Draco reached a hand up in an attempt to flatten the wild mess, but his fingers got distracted. He tucked a black curl behind Harry’s ear, only for it to pop out again. Irredeemably scruffy, this one.
He blinked slowly, noticing the soft, fond look that had crept back onto Harry’s face. He looked into Harry’s stupidly green eyes for a long minute until he realised Harry was waiting for an answer, and nodded.
“Go on, go back to sleep.”
Draco couldn’t think of anything but green eyes until two o’clock in the afternoon. At quarter past two he stops thinking and starts worrying, because Harry is meant to be here, but he’s not. Draco is sat on the batters bench next to the Patil twins, who keep snapping their leopard print snap bracelets and giggling. Eventually the rest of the Gryffindors show, Weasley has an arm around Harry’s shoulder. Draco instinctively stands up, but when he sees the stormy look on Harry’s face he sits back down quickly.
“Do you want to tell them, or shall I?”
“I don’t care, can you stop treating me like a delicate flower?”
“Fine.” Weasley addressed the group, while Harry looked like he’d rather be anywhere else. “Okay, listen up. If you were in Defence this morning you’ll already know this, but Harry got hit with a weak Obliviate-” Weasley is interrupted by several gasps and cries.
“BUT,” he continued, “He should be back to normal by the end of the day, and there’s a specialist coming in from St. Mungo’s tomorrow to check on him.”
“What do you remember, Harry?” asked Susan Bones.
Harry nudged his glasses up and shrugged, uncomfortable with the many pairs of eyes on him.
“I remember waking up on the floor of the Defence classroom with a massive pain in the back of my head.”
“Not the first time that’s happened,” said Ernie MacMillan. And it probably won’t be the last, thought Draco.
“He’s not got any memories of people at the moment. But you’ll be right as rain tomorrow, mate.” He clapped Harry on the shoulder.
“Yeah. I don’t know who any of you are. Sorry.”
They decide to each re-introduce themselves, despite both Ernie and Harry protesting that there’s no point him bothering learning their names if he’ll get his memory back tomorrow. Draco is last, and as he opens his mouth to re-introduce himself, he catches a funny look on Harry’s face.
“Daniel,” Harry said, smiling. Granger’s eyebrows rose to her hairline.
“…Draco,” corrected Draco.
“Shall we get on with it, then?” said Justin Finch-Fletchley.
They don’t get on with it, because Harry was supposed to pick up the equipment, but he didn’t, because he had no memory of equipment or rounders or anything else. Justin and Ernie go off to the broomshed, and Harry makes a beeline for the batters bench.
“I remember you,” Harry said, poking Draco in the shoulder.
“Potter, just ten seconds ago I heard you call me Daniel.”
“Well, I don’t remember anyone else’s name either. John’s been correcting me about a hundred times.”
Harry waves a hand. “Oh, whatever.” He leaned in closer and whispered in Draco’s ear. “But I remember last night.”
Draco congratulates himself for not reacting whatsoever. The inside of his brain has been taken over by screaming monkeys banging pots and pans together, but blessedly it doesn’t show on his face.
“Oh.” Harry drew back. “Are we a secret?”
We’re not anything.
“Do you kiss all your classmates before you sleep in their bed with them?”
Draco doesn’t know what to say to this. It’s a good point. Perhaps they’re not not-anything, kissing someone and sleeping in their bed does admittedly sound like something.
“Sorry,” Harry apologised, before Draco can respond. “I keep getting things wrong. But it feels like people aren’t telling me the bloody truth, and when I ask questions they just get this look on their face…”
Draco looked at him.
“Yes, that look. So, if we’re just classmates, why are we wearing matching rings?”
“This is a Black family ring, Potter. I got this from my mother when I was thirteen. It’s not like we exchanged them.”
At this, Harry goes beet red.
“Are we… are we related?”
Draco had a sudden desire to use Legilimency and read exactly what thoughts Potter had been entertaining that would make them being relatives such an embarrassing concept.
“No, we’re not. Well, actually, if you go back a few generations we might be. But all Wizarding families are, it’s not uncommon. You got that ring from your godfather, he was a Black.”
“He—“ Harry clearly didn’t remember everything about last night. “He died.”
Harry rolls the ring around his finger a few times, thumbing the obsidian.
“He was a dog,” Draco blurted out. “An Animagus. He could turn into a dog. A black dog.”
Harry is silent for a long while. Draco thinks of the polaroids. Is it better to have loved and lost, than to have loved, lost and have no memory of it?
“Dogfather,” Harry said eventually. It should be funny, but Draco wants to cry. “I don’t have a Mum or Dad either.”
“I know.” I’m sorry.
“They showed me some pictures, to see what I remembered… that girl over there looks like my Mum.”
Draco looked, and saw G.Weasley being given a piggyback ride by Dean Thomas. Luna was on Neville’s shoulders, wobbling precariously, and her hands kept slipping over Neville’s eyes.
“Not a relative?” he asked hopefully.
From what Draco hears, Potter and the Weasleys might as well be relatives. Molly Weasley treats Harry like her own son, which is why he owns so many of those ridiculous jumpers. If she had had the foresight to give some of her children names starting with vowels, they could all put on their jumpers and spell out words.
“Your ex-girlfriend, actually.”
Harry looked embarrassed, but a little pleased at the same time. Oedipus would be proud.
“Right, I think I should stop talking now. I can’t get anything right.”
“You’ve done enough right to last a lifetime. Maybe you don’t remember it, but you did save the wizarding world.”
Potter gives him a wry grin.
“Alright, now I know you’re taking the piss. You and John, you’re rotters.”
Draco ran his fingers along the stone wall up the circular staircase of the owlery. Every so often he could feel the grooves of carved initials, tangible evidence of lovestruck students. As the owlery was usually deserted it would have been a prime snogging area, if not for the sheer quantities of bird crap over every surface.
He was thinking of snogging and bird crap when he tripped over something and went stumbling into the arms of an apologetic Gryffindor.
“Sorry, sorry! My fault, I shouldn’t have left it there.”
Draco looked back to see Potter’s broom upon the owlery floor.
“I came in because it looked like a storm. What are you doing here?”
Draco raised an aristocratic eyebrow and fished the letter he was planning to send out of his pocket. At that moment the owlery flashed with light, and Potter’s face was illuminated with stunning brightness. He stood stock still, half expecting the pain of a hex or a curse accompanying the sudden flash. A few seconds later came the tell-tale rumble of thunder, and he breathed out.
He tied the letter to one of the legs of a school owl, but it made no move to fly off. Not in this storm, no thank you. Harry sat against the stone wall, drawing his knees close to his chest. He fiddled with a large piece of parchment before folding it up carefully and putting it back in his messenger bag.
“Got your memory back yet?”
“Uh, I think so. If there’s anything I don’t remember, then… I suppose I’ve forgotten.”
“Eloquent as always.”
Harry gave Draco’s ankle a swift (but gentle) kick. Draco kicked back, and the minor tussle continued until another flash of lightning startled them both.
“Are we…?” Harry asked, as if that was a complete sentence.
“We certainly might be. Depends what on earth you’re asking. Why don’t you think of a proper question, and then ask it.”
“But what if you say no?” Harry said, looking uncharacteristically worried.
“I suggest you ask nicely.”
Harry considers this, and Draco considers the rain falling all around them. The clouds are so large and dark that it feels like midnight.
His arse is fully numb when Harry finally gets up the courage to ask.
“Can I kiss you?”
“Evening, gentlemen,” said McGonagall as they passed her at the entrance to the castle. If she had seen the two of them sharing a broom she made no mention of it. There was no law against students kissing, but Draco suddenly felt very conspicuously kissed. It was all he could do not to lift a finger to his lips to wipe away the trace of it.
“Do you think she knows somethings going on?” Harry whispered, once they had said goodnight and set off to the eighth year dorms.
“What is going on, exactly?”
Harry turned, surprised. Draco didn’t meet his eyes, instead deciding to be engrossed in a painting of Grunhilde the Ghastly.
“You’re asking me? I’m notoriously bad with words, you know that.”
“Notoriously is quite a good one,” Draco pointed out.
Draco looked at Harry then, into his earnest stupid eyes, and laughed. Harry laughed too, at himself and at Draco laughing, and this carried on for quite a while, until he kissed him again.
Draco broke the kiss, and then leant back in, and then finally got the resolve to break it again.
“What will people say?”
“We don’t have to tell anyone,” Harry said.
“I know, but.” Draco brushed his fringe out of his eyes, and then brushed Harry’s fringe out of Harry’s eyes for good measure. “I feel like they’ll know anyway. Like I feel it so strongly that everyone else must feel it too.”
Harry was failing to hide a smile.
They think they’re being subtle when they both volunteer to take the equipment back to the broomshed together, and they think they’re being quiet when they lock the door from the inside and start fumbling. Luckily, hands haven’t wandered too far when Seamus blasts the door down with a pyrotechnic Alohamora and declares that over half of the S.H.I.T.S. team (standing behind him with various expressions of shock, awe, and jealousy) owe him 50 galleons. Weasley isn’t one of them.