Ch. 10- "A Hero's Reward"
Notes: This fic will probably be kind of long... bear with me if there are lapses between chapters, as I do have a career that exhausts/frustrates me quite often. I have never written HP fanfiction before, either, so sorry if I do the characters OOC or something.. ok, scratch that, there will be OOCness. This IS a slash fic, after all. =p And I think this is my first non-anime fanfic, too... o_O scary...
Thanks to Mami-san for beta-ing the fic- goddess knows I'm too damn lazy to spellcheck my own junk. @_@
I got the title frum the song of the same name from "Fushigi Yuugi"- it's Soi's song, I believe.
Warning: This is a Draco/Harry SLASH fic. Don't like that, bugger off. -_- And for those of you who despise Draco, I understand.. ^.^; He IS quite the shithead... but I can't help but like this couple. Also, if you haven't read all 4 current HP books, this fic will most likely contain spoilers. You've been forwarned.
"Ron!" Harry cried in surprise.
Ron tossed Harry's invisibility cloak aside, never taking his eyes off of Kyle. "Sorry I borrowed this, Harry. Now I'm glad I did." He flicked Harry a brief, apologetic look. "I'm sorry I was acting like such a git."
Harry couldn't help but smile at his friend's straightforward honesty. "Don't worry about it," he said wearily. "We'll talk about it later."
"How annoying," Kyle murmured, looking at Ron like one would a cockroach. "Just what do you think you're doing? This has nothing to do with you."
"It does if you're messing with my friend," Ron said defiantly. "Professor Dumbledore's not going to be happy when he hears about the crap you've been pulling. Harry and Malfoy could have been killed!"
Kyle shrugged carelessly. "Nothing would have befallen Draco. You, however, have seen too much." He leapt for Ron with startling swiftness, and Ron stumbled back a step, caught by surprise. He raised his wand, fumbling for a spell.
Kyle caught Ron's wand wrist, twisting his arm painfully behind his back and ignoring his yell of pain. "Not so fast, Weasley."
Harry pushed at a root and rolled across the rough ground, snatching up his wand.
"Put that down!" Kyle roared, whirling to glare at him, swinging Ron around to act as a living shield. Ron dug his heels into the ground, and Kyle stumbled, leaving himself open for a brief moment.
"Harry!" Ron hollered.
Harry didn't hesitate. He pointed his wand quickly at Kyle. "Impedimenta!"
Kyle's body went stiff and unmoving, his eyes wide in surprise and fury.
Ron struggled for a moment, tearing himself from the taller boy's tight grip. "Great, Harry," he gasped, stumbling away from the Slytherin. "Hold still, I'll get that curse off you." He hurried over and knelt by his friend. "How long does that last?"
"Not long," Harry grunted as he pushed himself into a sitting position. "Better hurry."
"Right." Ron put his wand by Harry's knees. "Finite Incantatum."
Harry's legs relaxed and fell apart, and he gratefully allowed his friend to help him to his feet. "Thanks." He smiled at his friend, still gripping him by the arm. "Thanks for coming to help, Ron. Sorry if you thought I was hiding anything from you."
Ron flushed and shrugged uncomfortably, carefully pulling away. "Er, don't worry about it. I'm just glad you're OK."
"Do you plan on apologizing to each other all day," a dry voice interrupted, "or do you think it would be too much trouble to cut me down before I lose feeling in my arms?"
They both jumped. Harry turned quickly, staring up in surprise as Draco looked down at them both calmly, the snake above him still hissing softly.
"Draco! How long have you been conscious?"
"Not long," Draco said evasively, wriggling a bit. "Do you mind?"
"Ungrateful git," Ron muttered, watching as Harry stepped over and touched his wand to the ropes, wrapping his free arm around Draco's chest.
"Wait a mi-" Draco started hastily.
"Diffindo," Harry said unthinkingly.
The rope snapped, and Draco collapsed into Harry's arms.
"Oof!" Harry grunted as they both toppled heavily to the ground.
"Idiot," Draco groaned, wincing.
Ron's eyes narrowed.
"Get off me," Harry protested, pushing at the boy lying on him. "You're heavy!"
Ron hurried over to help, rolling Draco ungraciously over onto his side.
Harry climbed to his hands and knees, this time putting his wand on the ropes wound about the Slytherin's arms and torso. "Diffindo." The ropes broke and fell. Draco sat up carefully, wincing as he rubbed life back into his arms.
"Thanks," he muttered grudgingly after a moment.
Ron's eyes widened a little. "Malfoy knows that word?" he asked Harry only half-jokingly.
Harry rolled his eyes and rose, tugging Draco up to his feet. "We'd better tie Kyle up and get him back before he recovers."
Ron was already retrieving Kyle's wand. "Yeah. Here, gimmie the rope. I'll do it."
"I'LL do it," Draco said suddenly, snatching up the rope from the ground, eyes burning as he advanced on his old acquaintance. Harry watched for a moment as Draco tied up the other Slytherin tightly and roughly before turning back to Ron.
"So you followed me?"
"Yeah.." Ron scratched his head, looking a little ashamed. "I was mad at you, but I didn't really trust Malfoy, either. I thought he might be leading you into a trap, so I followed you outside. I saw Kyle creeping around the Forest and got curious. I followed him and saw him setting up the snake and rope. I thought it was for you and ran to warn you but he got there before me somehow. I think I got lost. Anyway, when I heard him running back in I just followed him. I showed up right when you two started talking." He looked at Harry almost hesitatingly. "So you and Draco are... really friends?"
Harry caught his lip between his teeth, glancing away momentarily. "Yeah... I know you think it's weird and you don't like him, but..."
"Just friends?" Ron pushed, looking anxious.
Harry stared at him wordlessly, feeling a slow flush creep up his neck. He opened his mouth to deny his friend's worries, but no words came out. He swallowed dryly and found himself shrugging helplessly. "Ron..."
Ron's face looked bleak and a little sick. "I was afraid of that," he said in a weak voice. He closed his eyes. "Of all the people on God's green earth, Harry, why HIM?"
"..I..." Harry lost the ability to speak again, merely staring helplessly at his friend. "Ron, I'm sorry. I didn't think it would be like this. Trust me."
"I trust you, Harry," Ron said bluntly, opening his eyes to look dejectedly at his friend. "But I don't trust HIM." He lowered his voice. "How do you know he's not just leading you on?"
"Talking about me again?" Draco asked coolly, striding over. He had pushed Kyle over so that he was lying motionlessly on his back, glaring furiously up at the sky. "How rude."
Ron glared daggers at him.
Harry's mind was running through all that Ron had just said. Something about his friend's reaction told him he should be pinning something important down, but for the life of him he couldn't figure out what. Something about Ron's reaction...
"Let's go," Draco said brusquely, jerking his head towards the Forest. "The Ball's in less than an hour and people are going to start throwing fits if they miss us."
"Intelligence," Ron said nastily. "Another trait I wasn't expecting in a Malfoy."
Draco's eyes narrowed.
"Don't," Harry pleaded.
Draco's mouth firmed, but he kept whatever mean comments he had to himself with obvious difficulty. Ron stared hard at him, but after a glance towards Harry, he, too, kept his mouth shut with a supreme effort.
Draco glanced up at the snake as it writhed and hissed again, weaving its blind face around. His face turned stoney and he strode back over to Kyle, pulling something from the boy's pocket. When he came back, he was carrying something thin and dark. His finger flexed and there was a click as a blade sprung out.
"What are you doing?" Ron demanded quickly, stepping in front of Harry protectively.
Draco ignored him and walked right up to the snake. He reached out with lightening-quick moves, seizing the snake just behind its head. It began to thrash, hissing furiously. Then Draco brought down the knife with his other hand in a quick, hard chop.
Ron gasped and looked away quickly, looking sick.
"Draco!" Harry cried in shock as the snake's head fell to the ground heavily. "What are you doing?!"
Draco closed the knife and slid it into his pocket, stepping over with an emotionless look on his handsome face. His eyes were flinty as he looked at Harry. "You blinded him," he said. "He would have starved- or been attacked -in that state. A quick death for him is better than starving to death." He glanced almost carelessly at the limp body in the tree. "He only tried to attack me because he was hungry."
Ron still looked sick, but Harry was staring at Draco in dawning understanding and more than a little surprise. Draco had just shown...mercy.
Draco seemed to realize what he was thinking, and turned away before he could say anything. "Look who's up," he said airily.
Kyle was struggling to sit up, glaring at them all and struggling with his bonds. "You little worms," he growled. "Draco! Untie me. You're making the biggest mistake of your life," he warned.
"Go to hell," Draco snarled contemptuously.
A sudden drumming of hooves announced Firenze's approach.
"We'll put Kyle over Firenze's back," Harry said, putting his wand back in his robes. "You ride with him, Draco, and keep him from trying to fall off. Ron and I will follow you."
"No," Draco said stubbornly, pointing at Ron. "HE rides on the horse. I'm not getting on that thing."
"ME?" Ron demanded hotly. "I'm not leaving you with Harry, you git!"
"I'm not riding," Draco said firmly, glaring at him.
"Fine," Harry said quickly to head off an argument. "Ron, please ride with Firenze. Tell Hermione that I'll be back soon; she's probably going nuts wondering where we are. Besides, you're her date. You need to take her to the Great Hall."
Ron opened his mouth to protest, but that was when Firenze came trotting out of the treeline. He glanced around at the scene with a hard face. "Come with me," he said shortly. "Professor Dumbledore is looking for all of you."
Ron groaned. "We're in trouble, now."
"We'll see," Firenze said. He nodded towards Kyle. "Is that the one?"
"Yes," Harry said, and briefly told him what had happened.
Firenze nodded when he was finished. "I'll tell Dumbledore. Get the boy on my back."
The three of them managed to haul the struggling, cursing boy over the broad centaur's back, then Harry helped Ron scramble on behind him. He stepped back, lifting a hand. "We'll catch up," he said, and Firenze grunted in acknowledgement before turning sharply and pounding off into the Forest with Ron clinging on for dear life.
There was a moment of awkward silence before Draco finally gave an aggravated sigh, walking past Harry. "Come on," he said gruffly. "Let's go. They've probably got the whole damn school out looking for us."
Harry hesitated, then hurried to cut him off, boldly reaching up to grab the other boy's shoulders.
Draco halted, gazing down at him calmly. "Well?"
Harry paused, knowing he was blushing furiously and grateful the night hid it. He tilted his head up to look at the other boy with an expectant look on his face. "Don't you owe me something?" he demanded, sounding more confident than he really felt, his heart going off like a triphammer in his chest.
Draco stared at him for a moment, then gave an amused grin, his eyes dancing with mirth and something else. He didn't speak as he captured Harry's chin in his pale fingers and tilted his face, leaning in to capture his mouth in a kiss that was unexpectedly tender.
Harry melted, his arms looping almost dazedly around the taller boy's neck, sparks going off in his body at the sensation.
If this was wrong, then damn it, he was loving every second of it.
Author's Notes: One more chapter left! ^__^ Hope you all have enjoyed so far!
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Chapter 12 + Epilogue