Disclaimer: Harry Potter characters are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
Warnings (Highlight to view):*A little bit of blood and gore*
Author Notes: Written for capitu with much love in my heart. ♥ Dear, Capitu. You really are a fandom treasure.
Never Let Me Go
There's something almost erotic about catching the Snitch. Those last few seconds just before his fingers close around its lightning-fast, fluttering wings is enough to give Harry just a bit of a halfie. Of course, it’s ten times more fun when the rain is pelting down, battering his shoulders, making him thank Merlin for the Impervious charm on his glasses and the layers of protective padding on his body.
If Harry had been on the ground instead of flying through the air like a maniac, he would have felt it. He would have felt the tug of magic deep in his belly — the one that ties him to Draco irrevocably. But he didn’t. In the moments when the bond between them almost breaks, Harry is in the air, doing what he does best—
winning at Quidditch.
The sight of Ron waiting for him on the sidelines in his scarlet Auror robes isn’t quite enough to put him into panic, but it almost is. Harry quickly brushes off all his teammates, all caught up in thumping his back and cheering his name. He drops his broom onto the pitch and jogs over to where Ron is standing.
‘What is is it?’
He glances behind Ron’s tall figure, looking for Draco —Ron’s partner for four years, but Draco isn’t there. Harry’s stomach flips over suddenly, as though he’s on his broom again twisting himself into a Wronski Feint.
Ron puts an arm on Harry’s shoulder, forcing Harry to look in his eyes. There’s a deep gash on his forearm — a slice through the skin tight sleeves of his robes, rapidly oozing blood. Ron didn’t even wait for someone to tend to him before he came looking for Harry, which can only mean —
Harry reaches out for the bond that connects him with Draco, but it’s dull — muted. Almost as if Draco is fading from him.
He doesn’t wait. He flicks his wrist and his wand drops from his sleeve into his palm, then he Dissapparates just outside Purge and Dowse Ltd. He pushes past the mannequin without a second glance, frantically seeking out the Welcome-Witch in the over-crowded waiting room.
He’s dripping rainwater onto the bright white tile, gripping his wand so hard his hand cramps.
The words ‘oh, god, oh please. please. please.’ keeps repeating themselves in his head again and again.
The welcome witch’s jaw drops when she spots him. He must look a right sight, in his Team England Quidditch robes with the red cross on his back. There’s a fluttering sensation in his palm, and he belatedly realises the Snitch — the Snitch is still firmly gripped in his left hand.
He lets it loose and it flutters about the waiting room, floating above everyone's heads, its movements erratic and confused. Harry’s strides over to the Welcome-Witch, ignoring the shell shocked witches and wizards around him.
‘Draco Malfoy,’ he says. ‘Tell me where he is.’
She springs into action, but before she can answer, Ron is beside him grabbing his elbow, turning Harry to face him.
The first thing he says is, ‘He’s alive.’
Harry’s knees buckle slightly, and Ron steadies him. ‘Where is he?’
Harry starts walking, not waiting for Ron to follow. Ron jogs to keep up beside him.
‘What happened?’ Harrys asks, not looking to see Ron’s reaction to the way his voice is cracking, the way his steps falter, or the way he hasn’t even asked if Ron himself is all right.
When Ron doesn’t answer immediately, Harry slows down. Ron’s pale face is twisted with anguish, his shoulders hunched. As they stop in front of the lift and Harry presses the button, he notices the blood still dripping from the gash on Ron’s forearm.
Small drops puddle onto the floor in a slow drip, drip, drip.
Ron simply won’t meet his gaze, and Harry grabs his arm, jostling a bit to shake him out of his stupor.
‘Just tell me.’
Ron runs his fingers through his hair, leaving it standing on end. ‘He took a curse for me,’ he says. ‘I didn’t even see it coming. He knocked me out of the way.’
Ron bites his lower lip, his forehead creases into deep frown lines, as if he’s still trying to figure out what happened.
‘I didn’t see it, Harry. I swear.’
The lift dings, and Harry steps in without a word. Ron’s guilt is almost enough to choke him. Harry presses the number for the Spell Damage ward and the doors close swiftly. Harry looks down at the blood still dripping from Rons sleeve.
‘It wasn’t your fault.’
‘If I hadn't looked away. If I was paying attention—’
Harry shakes his head. ‘Ron, I know what it’s like out there, remember? If Draco took a curse for you, it’s because he had to. Not because of anything you did.’
The lift shudders to a halt, and opens onto the spell damage floor. Harry steps out and Ron grabs his arm.
‘Harry,’ he says. ‘It’s really bad.’
Harry pulls away and looks around the ward.
It’s almost empty, but from the shouts and the general commotion, Harry knows exactly where Draco is. He runs down the hall, to the last room on the left, almost knocking over a young Healer, scurrying across the hall with a glass jar of blood in her hands.
When he catches his first glimpse of Draco in the room, time becomes a thing utterly unknown to him. He loses any sense of its movement.
He can’t hear anything besides the thud of his heart, and a loud ringing in his ears.
The first thing he notices is the blood. It stands out starkly against Draco’s pale, white skin.
Draco’s body is riddled with deep open gashes much like Ron’s, bleeding freely and heavily.
The Healers move around Harry as if he isn’t there. Draco's eyes are shut tight. His hands grip the steel of the bedframe, and the cords on his neck stand out like lines in the sand. His mouth is clamped closed, trying — Harry knows — to hold back the screams of pain.
Harry rushes to Draco’s side, pushing past frantic Healers, ignoring their indignant shouts of ‘You can’t be in here!’
He almost skids in a puddle of blood, but quickly rights himself and grabs onto Draco’s hand. Draco's eyes fly open, grey eyes wide and dilated.
‘Harry,’ he moans weakly.
Draco closes his eyes again, and let’s his head drop.
The Healer closest to him, a middle aged man with greying temples and a steady wand arm, furrows his brows in concentration as he heals each gash without even leaving a scar.
Draco grips Harry’s hand again, letting out a pained groan as a new gash appears on his thigh.
‘Why is he awake!’ Harry cries. ‘He’s in pain! Can’t you see that?’
‘He has to be,’ the Healer says, not looking up.
Harry looks down at Draco’s body. What’s left of his scarlet Auror robes are glued to his chest drenched with blood. His black trousers look much the same. A new gash opens on his chest, and Draco grips his hand tight enough to break, arching his back as new blood spills down his chest.
The sound of Draco crying out in pain is a sound Harry will take with him forever. He looks up helplessly at the Healer, and then at Ron, who’s standing at the edge of the bed, his face pale and creased with worry.
‘What is this, Ron? What happened out there?’
Ron shakes his head. ‘I don’t know. It’s not anything I’ve ever seen.’
Ron shakes his head.
The Healer closest to him is still working on healing the last gash, then he looks up at Harry.
‘You both shouldn’t be here,’ he says, grimly placing a square piece of heavy gauze on Draco’s chest, then pulling of his pair of latex gloves.
Draco weakly squeezes Harry’s hand, and Harry rubs his thumb over the back of his palm.
‘I’m not leaving him,’ he says.
The Healer presses his lips together and walks around the bed, past the two other young Healers, working on closing the smaller wounds on Draco’s legs.
He stops beside Harry. ‘This isn’t a curse I’ve ever seen before,’ he says. ‘As fast as we close the wound, another takes its place. It seems to react unfavourably to any kind of magic. I’m only using the most basic healing spells to mend the skin. Anything else...Statis Charms, Blood Replenishing Charms, anything, seems to speed up the process of opening new wounds.’
Harry looks down at Draco. His breaths are so shallow that Harry leans over and gently runs his fingers through his hair, kissing Draco’s forehead and staying there for a few seconds to reassure himself that Draco is still breathing.
The Healer gently rests his hand on Harry’s back when he straightens up again
‘He’s all right,’ the Healer says. ‘It’s natural sleep.’
One of the young Healers removes more blood soaked gauze from Draco’s chest and leaves the room, while another returns with a glass bottle of blood, connecting it with strange tubes to Draco’s arm with a small nick to his vein.
‘He needs blood,’ the Healer continues. ‘It’s his own blood, cleared of any curse residue, and now we’re returning into his bloodstream.’
‘Like a transfusion,’ Harry says blankly.
The Healer nods. ‘In the last hour, after we realised what the magic was doing, the new wounds have been slower to crop up. We’ll keep monitoring him.’
Harry nods, and glances up at Ron.
‘He’ll be okay,’ he says.
He doesn’t know if he’s saying it for Ron, or for himself
Harry dips the sponge in water, now pink with Draco’s blood, and then squeezes off the excess. He slowly wipes the dried blood from his husband’s skin, then towels it off with a warm towel.
It’s been three hours since the last re-opened gash was closed, and they haven’t seen another wound open since. The Healers have left him in privacy to give his husband a sponge bath while he sleeps, and Harry does so methodically and slowly, knowing if he stops, he might have to acknowledge the shaking of his hands. He might have to face the rapid fire sparks of panic still igniting in his brain.
Every breath Draco takes is counted in his mind. Each time Draco stirs, Harry stops and checks for new open wounds, but none appear. Harry sets the basin and sponge aside, carefully pats Daco's skin dry with a soft towel, and then pulls Draco’s blanket down, lifting his body gently to pull on the stark white St. Mungo’s hospital gown. He pulls each of Draco’s long arms through, and then slowly rests his body on the bed, pulling the blankets back into place, up over his hips and just under his chest.
He pulls a chair close to Draco’s bed and then sits, resting his head on Draco’s chest.
Listening to his heart...
~~24 hours later
He wakes up to the sensation of long, tapered fingers gently stroking through his hair, and he lifts his head so fast the room spins.
‘Easy,’ Draco says softly, his voice slightly hoarse.
He hands Harry his glasses and Harry slips them on, and then looks up at Draco’s face.
He’s still very pale and the dark circles beneath his eyes look like bruises. His long hair is all over the place, flopping over his head in dangerous waves.
But he is a live breathing thing, and he couldn’t be more beautiful than he is in this moment.
Harry just looks at him, until Draco lifts his arms slightly, and Harry crawls into the small bed beside him, his leg draped across Draco’s body his arm thrown across his wide chest, gripping Draco’s side.
He wants to sob - hard, racking, embarrassing sobs- but he doesn’t. He’s too self contained for that -it isn’t as though they haven’t been here before. But hot tears do leak from the corners of his eyes. His throat closes up painfully, and his breaths start taking on that painful, hitching sensation in his chest. Draco strokes his hair again, and Harry cries quietly into his chest.
Harry nods. ‘I know.’
Draco doesn’t say anything else. He doesn’t make promises he can’t keep. He doesn’t say ‘I’ll work the desk from now on, love,’ and he doesn’t promise that it won’t happen again.
Harry knows he isn’t apologising for what he did.
He’s apologising for what Harry had to go through.
What Harry will have to go through again, a total of thirteen times throughout the next twenty years of marriage, until, at forty-five, Draco actually does take that desk job, and Harry starts coaching the Chudley Canons, and they move into a smaller cottage closer to Ron and Hermione so they could visit more with the kids.
But the Harry now, in this moment, wraps his arms around his lover, and basks in his warmth --in the absence of the metallic smell of blood. In the absence of the feeling of absolute helplessness watching the man he loves in pain evokes.
He grounds himself in the certainty of Draco’s breaths. The touch of Draco’s skin, the cool, soft fingers tracing the length of his arm.
Draco gently lifts Harry’s head, wipes his silently shed tears with his thumbs, and kisses him softly on the mouth. When they part, they remain very still, on the scratchy hospital bed sheets.
When Draco tells him, how much he loves him, in low tones that make the tears start to fall again, the little part of Harry’s heart that breaks each time he sees Draco hurt, begins to slowly, painfully, mend itself.