Title: To Hurt, To Heal
Rowling is God. I own nothing.
Just lemme know where my baby’s going.
book 5 never happened.
Summary: Lost in the Forbidden Forest, a group of
Gryffindors learns there is more to Draco than meets the eye. (H/D) (Hr/R)
Draco sat staring at the flickering remains of the letter;
his father’s words burning to ash. If only he could rid himself as easily of
his father’s demand. //I will be waiting tomorrow on the pitch by the
broomstick shed during your Care of Magical Creatures class. When the
distraction begins, immobilize Potter and bring him to me. He is needed
immediately in our Lord’s presence.//
Draco sighed. ~Sure, father. You ask me now. Why not years,
or even months ago before I realized just how much I didn’t want to turn Harry
over to you?~ He slowly picked up a quill and piece of parchment. In emotional
agony, he penned //As you wish, Father.// His shaking fingers could
write no more and he dried the note, rolled it up and secured it to the waiting
Malfoy owl’s leg.
As the bird flew back out of the window he dropped his head
onto the table. ~I can’t do this. I can’t betray Harry. I can’t lead him to
death.~ He sat up, his jaw clenched. ~ As soon as we get on the field tomorrow,
I’m going to tell Harry about father’s plan and I’m going to tell him that I
l-. That I lo-. That I…fuck. Maybe I’ll just tell him about father’s plan.~
He flung himself into bed, but knew that sleep would be
Draco bit his lip in frustration. Damn Harry Potter and his
bloody fan club! Draco had been waiting for ten minutes to speak to Harry
alone, but he continued to chat happily with half of the Gryffindor dormitory.
Eventually, the crowd dwindled down to Hermione, Ron, Seamus and Neville.
~Better do it now or never.~ Draco sighed. ~I’m sure it’s not going to get any
better than this.~
He carefully made his way to the Gryffindor’s group,
avoiding the clusters of Slytherins in his path. He could tell when the Gryffs
first caught sight of him, thanks to Ron’s snort and remarkably loud comment
of, “What the hell does the ferret think he’s doing slinking around over here?”
Draco winced and glanced to see if any Slytherins had spotted him. Not yet. He
hurried his pace up and stood allowing the huddle to block him from the rest of
the field’s sight.
Ron moved away in disgust. “What are y-”?
“Shh!” he hissed back. Ron jerked back in surprise, then his
gaze narrowed and he opened his mouth to start up again. Draco rushed to speak
before that could happen. “I need to talk to Potter alone.” He murmured. Ron
snorted again but a quick elbow from Hermione shut him up quickly.
“Why?” she asked warily in Harry’s stead.
Draco sighed. Damn Gryffindors. No concept of privacy at
all. What was one person’s business was everyone’s business. “I can’t tell you
part of why I need to talk to him alone,” he bit out.
She raised an eyebrow. “So tell us the part you can.”
Damn Gryffindors. “During class, there will be some kind of
distraction, I’m betting on an attack. I’m supposed to immobilize Potter and take
him to the pitch where my father is waiting, probably to portkey them both to
Jaws dropped. Harry met Draco’s eyes thoughtfully. “Why are
you telling me this?”
Draco tried, oh how he tried, but the blush creeped in
anyway. He noticed Hermione and Neville sport a sudden look of surprise.
“That’s the part I can’t tell you in front of the others,” he gritted. Damn
“So when is…” Harry was interrupted by loud pops, a hiss and
then loud shrieks. He looked back to see six or so dark robed figures begin
circling the groups of students on the pitch. Three more stood around a pillar
of flames. To Harry’s horror, he realized it was Hagrid…on fire. He tensed and
was about to race to his large friend’s side when he felt strong arms slip in
around his waist, holding him stationary.
“No!” Draco snapped. “That’s exactly why they did it. You
have to get out of here. Go!” he pushed Harry into Ron and Seamus’s arms and
turned back to the field. “I’ll do what I can to help Hagrid and to stall
them.” He was startled, then, when he felt a bruising grip on his arm and he
was jerked around to face Harry’s sparking green eyes.
“I’m not leaving you to a traitor’s welcome. You couldn’t
get close enough to Hagrid to help and as soon as you did, they’d kill you too.
You’re coming with us.” He found himself shoved into the Forbidden Forest in
front of Harry and started to run automatically. He couldn’t see five feet in
front of him; he could barely make out Neville’s back, winding through trees.
But that was his focus and he ran, never taking his eyes off of it.
They ran without direction, tree branches slapping them in
the face and slipping in mud. They ran frantically, and Draco could only hope
that Neville was following someone in front of him as well. Someone who knew
where they were going, preferably, though he knew that probably wasn’t the
case. He could hear his own breath loud in his ears and his footsteps slapping
on the ground. Soon, the rest became a blur and it was just run, run, run.
Rhythmic and steady.
His near trance was broken by a yelp, then another…a scream,
then two, and then he was slipping off of the face of the earth. The ground
rolled by under his body, head, then feet, then head again. He could hear
rumbling from above him and caught sight of grayish masses tumbling down the
hill after him. ~Dear Merlin, don’t let those be rocks,~ he pleaded silently.
His flight was halted abruptly as he slammed into a…tree?
Rock? Pile of bodies? He felt the air whoosh out of his lungs just before
blackness claimed him. Above him, the forbidden forest gently tugged its leaves
and branches back over the hole left by six teenaged bodies, effectively
erasing their presence. With an inaudible sigh, the forest returned to it’s
Neville became aware of an aching pain in his head and the
feeling of his nose clogged with dirt. He slitted his eyes and moaned as the
late afternoon rays of sunshine threatened to blind him. Beside him, he heard
an answering moan and he turned his head slightly to see who it was. Draco
Malfoy, looking worse than Neville had ever seen, was pushing himself to his
~What the…~ Then he remembered. The talk in the field, the
death eaters, the insane race through the forest, falling and then…nothing. He
recalled that he and Draco had not been alone and determinedly began trying to
make it to his feet to check on the others.
“Here.” He looked up to see Draco, pain etched on his
features, holding a hand out to him. Carefully, he placed his scratched and
dirty hand into his enemy’s and allowed himself to be pulled upright. Almost
immediately, Draco began searching him. He nearly protested, but as Draco
doggedly pursued his mission, Neville realized that he was simply looking for
He found each scratch and bruise and poked at it
experimentally, eyeing Neville to see his reaction. When that turned up nothing
but small grimaces, he moved on to firmly gripping up and down Neville’s arms
and legs. When he’d determined nothing was broken, he gently pressed around on
the Gryffindor’s stomach, chest and back. Neville was shocked at the
single-mindedness the Slytherin showed towards his health, and slightly
“You seem to be fine,” Draco finally pronounced.
Neville let a tiny smile escape. “You didn’t check
yourself,” he pointed out.
Draco shrugged. “I can tell if I’ve got a broken bone or
excessive bruising. And I don’t.” Neville didn’t reply, but reminded himself to
question the blonde boy at a later date on how exactly he could tell without
investigting. “Let’s check on the others.”
Neville nodded and they turned to face the disaster for the
first time. Plants were flattened. The dust had settled, everything within a
twenty-foot circle was covered in dirt and rock chips. Nestled in-between were
medium to large boulders looking as though a giant had haphazardly placed them.
Draco and Neville began picking their way around the rocks, searching for signs
“Draco! I found Seamus!” Neville called. Draco eased his way
to the other boy’s side and looked down at the dirty mess that was Seamus
Finnegan. “Looks like he broke his leg,” Neville pointed out helpfully.
Draco nodded and knelt beside Finnegan. He closed his eyes
and began feeling his way down the other leg, then one arm, then the other. He
paused at the right forearm. “He broke this too,” he stated. Gingerly, he
reached beneath Finnegan’s head and began touching his neck and back.
“What are you doing now?” Neville asked curiously, leaning
forward to peek at Draco’s hands.
“I’m trying to see if he broke his neck or his back. Don’t
want to move him if he did.” Draco’s calm pronouncement of possible damage made
Neville’s blood run cold. Draco glanced up at him and seemed to realize what
he’d said. He attempted a smile, a grimace with teeth really. “He’s fine.
Nothing broken back here.” Sitting up he edged down to Finnegan’s leg.
“We need to straighten it out and brace it up so the bone
can’t slip out again,” he continued in a more cheerful tone.
“H-how do we do that?” Neville stammered.
Draco took hold of Seamus’s foot and carefully pulled
straight down. The unconscious boy moaned in his sleep as the bones grated
together. Neville turned white as a ghost and swayed. Draco eyed the young
Gryffindor clinically and pointed to the forest with his chin. “Why don’t you
find some pieces of straight wood, maybe four pieces, each about a foot long?
We can use them for splints.”
Neville nodded gratefully and hurried off on his task. Draco
turned back to his. He jiggled the lower part of Finnegan’s leg until he heard
the reassuring sound of bone snapping into place. He then gently set the limb
back down and moved up to his arm. This break wasn’t as bad as the leg and he
was able to set it properly with little effort and no more moaning from his
As he finished, Neville bounded back up with several small
sticks. Draco smiled thankfully at him and went about ripping long strips out
of his cloak. “Hold these here,” he ordered, placing the splints correctly.
Neville obeyed silently and Draco wrapped the strips around them, tightly tying
them off. “His arm needs some too, but mostly, he can get by with a sling,” he
shared as he moved up to the said limb.
Neville again held the splints as Draco tied and then
watched curiously as Draco sacrificed more of his cloak to create a sling to
hold the arm immobile. Finished, he turned back to Neville with a satisfied
smile. “He’ll be fine now. Let’s look for the others.” Neville shot one last look
at Seamus before hopping up and beginning to search again.
Draco caught a glimpse of red twisted up in the green
foliage and he plucked at Neville’s robes to get his attention. “Is that Ron?”
he asked, pointing. Neville peered in that direction.
“I think it is,” he agreed. Together, they climbed over
rocks to reach the redhead’s side. Once they were there, however, Neville
turned white again and abruptly sat down on the ground. Draco looked at him
sympathetically, but steeled himself to ignore the blood pooling beneath Ron’s
He knelt and gently eased Ron over onto his back, as he did
so, he noticed the vines wrapped around the Gryffindor’s head. Cursing, he
tried to unwrap them only to find that they had thorns. Long spiny thorns that
were embedded in Ron’s flesh, in Ron’s…eyes. He, too, felt a head rush as he
took in the bloody, crusted mess that made up Ron’s eye sockets, but he took a
deep breath and freed a hand to dig through his own pockets.
Triumphantly, he held up his pocketknife and turned to
Neville. “Neville? I hate to ask, but I need you to help me with this.”
Neville shook his head firmly and stood up. “No, it’s okay.
I’ll be fine. Just a bit of a weak stomach.” He tried to smile, but then got a
closer look at Ron’s face and the urge to smile disappeared. “What do you need
me to do?” he whispered sickly.
“Hold his head steady while I cut away these vines.” Draco
instructed. Neville nodded and tried to imagine the sticky warmth beneath his
hands was treacle, or even something icky from potions and not his dear
friend’s lifeblood. Soon, Draco had successfully unwrapped Ron’s head and
plucked stray thorns from his flesh. He began wiping away the blood with
another piece of his versatile cloak and Neville gagged as the ruined mass of Ron’s
eyes came into view.
Draco eased the cloth over the wounds and looked up at
Neville. “Could you check around for Ron and Seamus’s wands?” he asked
politely. “And maybe yours and mine?”
Neville nodded gratefully and staggered away. He went back to wiping what he
could. Sighing, he brushed a lock of blood darkened red hair out of Ron’s eyes.
“You’re going to hate this, mate, but I don’t know what else to do,” he warned.
Bringing a corner of the cloak piece up to his own face, he
moistened it with spit and went back to work, uncovering more scratches where
the blood had dried over them. He did it again and again until his mouth felt
like a piece of cotton and his tongue was swollen. Finally, realizing he could
do nothing more, he carefully wrapped Ron’s eyes in more of his cloak and moved
on to do a broken bone test.
Relieved that he found nothing further, he had just begun
searching for the other two, Hermione and ~dear god let him be alive~ Harry,
when Neville picked his way back across to him. The Gryffindor had a
downtrodden look on his face. “What’d you find?” Draco asked.
Neville shook his head and proffered several broken pieces
of wood. “Mine is snapped in half,” he plucked it from his hand and dropped it,
“Seamus’s is cracked,” he dropped it as well, “yours is…well, splintered is the
best I can describe it,” he let the remains of that one fall as well and
brushed his hands off. “I can’t even find Ron’s.”
Draco sighed and clapped Neville on the back. “It’s okay.
We’ll figure something out.” They moved out again, each taking a part of the
clearing so as to not miss anything. As Draco climbed up a pile of rock shards
to get elevation on a large rock, his foot slipped. As he came down on his
face, he was eye to cheek with what he thought was Hermione Granger.
“Neville!” he shouted. In his hurry to get off of Hermione
he rolled backwards and landed at the bottom of the shale pile. Scuffling
around in the dirt trying to get back to his feet uncovered a piece of
material. He froze for a moment and then began digging through the dirt and
rock like a dog, searching, searching, hoping, praying…
“Harry!” he whooped as he freed an arm.
“You found him?” Neville scooted to a halt beside him.
Draco nodded. “Yeah, I’ve got him. Hermione’s up there by
that rock,” he jerked his head beck up the slight grade. Neville scrambled up,
rocks skittering down as he went. Moments later, Draco had uncovered enough of
Harry to do a bone check. Arms, fine. Legs, good. Neck, back, okay. Ches- “Oh
dear fucking hell,” he breathed.
“Neville,” he called, hearing his voice break. “Neville,
Harry’s chest is…crushed,” he bit his lip to keep the sobs from welling up.
“His ribs are broken and…and I’m pretty sure there is internal bleeding.” When
he heard nothing, he glanced up. Neville sat next to the rock, a smaller pile
of rubble at his side where he’d dug Hermione out. He was holding onto his
knees and rocking back and forth.
Draco panicked. He raced up to the top and reached down to
touch Hermione’s neck. He found a thready pulse and sighed with relief. “She’s
alive, Neville,” he said soothingly. “It’s okay.”
Neville shook his head and pointed. Draco followed his
finger and once again, tried to keep from gagging. It looked as though Hermione
had seen the large boulder coming and had thrown her arms up to deflect it.
Considering the size of the rock, that was wise, it would have crushed her like
~God, like it did Harry~ like she was made of glass. Unfortunately in her
salvation lay her problem.
The rock’s momentum had carried her back and when it landed,
it had pinned her hands under it and against another rock. Hermione’s fingers
were split open like ripe melons, the blood painting the rock a dust covered
crimson. The white of bone that he could see was pulverized.
He was interrupted from his musings by a sniff and a small
tug on his shirt. He looked back up at Neville. “I found this, too,” he
whispered, holding Hermione’s wand…her perfect unblemished wand…up for Draco’s
inspection. Draco could have kissed him. He solemnly accepted it and stood.
“Wingardium leviosa,” he chanted. The boulder refused to
move. He tried again. “Wingardium leviosa!” Slowly, achingly slowly, the rock
began to lift. Neville grasped Hermione’s feet and tugged her out from under
it. As soon as she was clear, Draco let it drop again thankfully. “I can do a
very little with this,” he said tiredly. “Her wand isn’t in tune with me at
all. Maybe you could try it.”
Neville nodded and took the wand back, trying to use it
while Draco checked over the rest of Hermione. When the Slytherin looked up
again he could tell from Neville’s defeated face that he couldn’t make it work
either. “It’s okay,” he said comfortingly. “Let’s get her down with Harry and
see what we can do about fixing them both up.
Neville helped drag, more than carry, Hermione down to lie
at Harry’s side. He gasped when he saw the extent of damage that his
housemate’s chest had taken. “Is he…?”
Draco nodded. “He’s alive, for now. I can tell he has
internal injuries, but not what kind. I don’t see any blood at the corner of
his mouth, so I think his lungs are okay.”
Neville looked away, the thought of drowning in your own
blood too much for the moment, and spied Harry’s wand sticking up out of the
rubble like a flagpole. He snatched it up and grinned. “Whoo hoo! Lookit here,
Draco grinned back and gestured. “Go on, see if it works.”
Neville looked confused. “Why me?”
The Slytherin blushed. “Somehow I don’t think Harry would
want me touching his wand. Better to let a friend use it.” Neville rolled his
eyes but tried anyway.
“Nope, nothing. Even more nothing than with Mione’s,” he
stated. He held the wand out.
Draco sighed and took it. He aimed at the large rock above
Hermione’s head and chanted, “Wingardium Leviosa!” The rock practically flew.
Neville whooped and Draco felt something heavy lift from his chest. ~Thank
Merlin, a stroke of luck for our side.~ He tore some more strips from his cloak
and transfigured them into gloves. He
ignored Neville’s raised eyebrow and pointed at Hermione’s hands.
“Raise them up. I’m going to clean them.” Neville obeyed and
Draco cast a cleaning charm. The split skin glistened in the waning sunlight,
making him slightly ill.
Draco then set the wand at his side and began working the
gloves onto Hermione’s fingers. A long and arduous fifteen minutes later, the
gloves were on and snug. Taking up the wand again, Draco cast a stiffen spell
on the fabric, holding Hermione’s hands immobile.
Neville whistled. “Nice work, Draco. Brilliant idea, that.”
Draco smiled wanly and gestured to Harry. “Too bad I have no
idea what to do for him,” he whispered.
Neville patted his arm. “Don’t do that, Draco. You’ve been
amazing. I would never have been able to get past Seamus’s leg had I been
alone.” Draco nodded and sighed.
“We should wake them up,” he said tiredly. “We need to find
some kind of shelter before nightfall.” Neville nodded and stood.
“Enervate!” Draco intoned at Harry.
Nothing. He looked helplessly at Neville.
“Try Hermione,” Neville
suggested. “Maybe Harry is just too out of it to come back with the spell.”
Draco nodded. “Enervate!” Hermione gasped and sat
straight up. She looked wildly around before her eyes settled on Draco.
“M-Malfoy?” Her head continued to seek out her surroundings.
She stopped on Neville and breathed a sigh of relief. “Neville, are you okay?
Where’s Ron? Where are Harry and Seamus?”
Neville glanced up at Draco and they held their gaze for a
long moment. Hermione looked warily between the two of them. “Mione,” Neville
began, “there was a rock slide when we fell.”
She nodded. “I remember. There was this huge rock coming
right at me and I…” she looked at Neville’s pained eyes. “What?”
“You managed to deflect it, Mione, but it caught your hands
She looked down, for the first time recognizing that she
hadn’t used her hands yet. And then the pain set in. Her mouth pinched with the
agony and she looked back up. “How bad?” She asked.
“They’re crushed, Granger,” Draco said gently. “The skin is
split and the bone is smashed. We can’t do anything else until we get you to a
She looked back at the gloves. “Who?”
Neville smiled. “Draco. He’s got nerves and a stomach of
steel. And the gloves were his idea too, to immobilize your fingers so you
couldn’t hurt them anymore.”
Hermione gave Draco a measuring glance and then nodded.
Draco shrugged and reached down to help her to her feet. She
caught a look at Harry. “Oh, my god, what happened?” she breathed.
“We don’t know exactly,” Neville said, helping steady her.
“Draco says his ribs are crushed and he is bleeding inside. We tried already to
wake him up. I think he’s too far gone under to react to the spell.”
Tears fell down Hermione’s face, streaking the dirt that
covered it and leaving tiny mud trails to her chin. She felt a tiny squeeze on
her arm and looked up to see Draco just turning loose of it. ~Was he trying to
comfort me?~ she thought incredulously.
“Come on, Mione, we need to try and wake Ron and Seamus,”
Neville said softly. She nodded and followed, Neville close beside her incase
she slipped. Draco made his way over to Ron and waited until Neville and
Hermione were close enough to take over after Ron realized that he couldn’t
“Enervate!” he walked away as soon as he saw Ron
begin to stir. He could hear muffled voices and a panicked one that he knew to
be Weasley, then just quiet tears, and he knew Neville was telling Ron about
his eyes and his best friend. He sighed and knelt next to Seamus. “Enervate,”
Seamus jerked awake and eyed Draco carefully. Draco just
nodded and beckoned Neville over to his side. Hermione stayed with Ron, holding
his head in her lap by her forearms and crying.
Draco looked up at the sky. “Nightfall is coming quickly,”
he pointed out quietly. “I’ll go scout out someplace for us to spend the night
safely.” He turned to Neville. “I’ll be back shortly.” Neville nodded but Ron
“Bullshit,” he snapped. “I bet you’re just looking to run
off back to daddy!”
Draco just turned away with a sigh. Neville, on the other
hand, saw red. “What the hell, Ron?” he bellowed. “Draco is the one who warned
us the attack was coming in the first place. We might not have gotten away if
it hadn’t been for him! He’s also the one who took care of all of your
injuries. He’s been civil, and helpful, and by Merlin, even nice! And if you
plan on being right prats about it, I’ll just go with him to look for shelter
so I don’t have to sit around here listening to how ungrateful you are!”
He stomped off, randomly choosing a direction and Draco
followed, not meeting anyone’s eyes.
“Wow. Was that really Neville?” Seamus asked, eyes wide.
“I’ve never seen him so angry.”
Hermione stroked Ron’s cheek with the inside of her forearm.
“Well, maybe he’s right,” she said softly.
Ron tensed in her arms. “What the bloody hell are you
talking about, Mione?” He sounded highly offended.
Hermione bit her lip and then shrugged. “He did do a really
brilliant job on these gloves, and on cleaning up your eyes.”
“He did a good job on my arm and leg, too,” Seamus
reluctantly added attempting to show them his arm. With a wince, he gave up and
“He didn’t have to do any of this, Ron,” Hermione reminded
him. “He could have just let the Death Eaters take us. He could have let us lay
in the dirt while he ran back to his dad.”
Ron growled. “Fine!” he snapped, and then sighed. “I know,
Mione. I’m just…frustrated! We’re lost, in the Forbidden Forest, no food or
water, no idea if Hogwarts has fallen, or who’s dead.” He sucked in a hitching
breath. “And I can’t see, Mione. I can’t see and I’m terrified because my
survival is in the hands of my enemy.”
Hermione clutched him closer and rocked him. “Shh, shh,
love. I know. This is all horribly scary,” she whispered. “I can’t do anything
to ease your fright, love. But I can tell you that what I’ve seen of Draco in
the last few minutes…I don’t think he’s our enemy anymore.” She continued to
rock her love in her arms, staring at the slowly disappearing traces of the
path the other two boys had taken.
A short while later, the odd couple of companions came
crashing back through the trees. “It’s a great spot, Neville,” Draco was
saying. “I mean, how could you ask for more? Shelter, water, access to
Neville preened under Draco’s praise. Draco however, fell
silent as they entered the clearing, and Neville glared at the injured
Gryffindors. Hermione eased Ron up into a sitting position and levered herself
off of the ground. “Draco,” she began, meeting his eyes straightforwardly. “I
want to thank you for the help you gave us today. Not only the information, but
also the healing and the bedside manner. I appreciate it and I know that Ron
and Seamus do as well, however, they are boys and can’t seem to swallow their
pride to admit it.”
Having said her speech, she nearly wilted. Draco dove for
her before she took a header and eased her back down to a sitting position.
“Thanks, Granger,” he murmured, and smiled a tiny smile. Neville beamed at her
in pleasure. “Nev?” Draco called.
“I’m going to need a couple of pretty large tree limbs. I’m
going to try to make stretchers for Harry and Seamus.” Neville nodded and
hurried back to the forest. A moment later he returned dragging a couple of
limbs, each over four feet long.
“These do?” he huffed, dropping them to the ground.
Draco nodded and pulled out Harry’s wand. He transfigured
the wood to stretchers and cast an engorgement charm on them to extend their
length. “Who’s gonna carry who, Draco?” Neville questioned.
Draco bit his lip. “Well, I was thinking of that on the way
back. If I put a mobilicorpus on Harry and set the spell to you, you could lead
Hermione and move Harry in front of you. If we put Seamus on the second
stretcher and I lead, Ron should be able to follow in my footsteps, because he
has the only other workable arms and legs.” He stared at his feet, waiting to
be slammed by Weasley.
When it didn’t come, he looked up to see them all nodding in
agreement. Shocked, but not waiting around til they changed their minds, he
levitated first Seamus and then Harry onto the stretchers and cast
mobilicorpus. He altered the charm and handed off the wand to Neville, who took
Hermione’s arm and began moving through the forest.
“Okay, Ron, I’m putting you into position right behind the
stretcher,” he said softly, leading the redhead to his place. “If you bend
down, you can feel the handles.” Ron leaned over carefully and felt the
handles. He took a firm grasp on them and waited. Draco took up his position in
front. “On the count of three, we lift. One. Two. Three!” They heaved Seamus up
“Nice going, Ron. Now, when we walk, I’ll tell you if
something is in your path. Keep in mind that you are about four steps behind
me, so you have a bit of time to react after I speak.” Ron nodded, trying to
quell the terror rising in his chest. For nearly five minutes they walked, the
silence broken only by Draco’s occasional directions and the sound of crunching
leaves and kicked rocks.
“Ron, we’re here,” Draco said finally. “We’re going to be
going into a cave, so don’t freak when the dirt changes to rock under your
feet.” Ron nodded, refusing to say anything, but amazingly grateful that Draco
seemed to know exactly what he needed to hear. In another moment, Draco called
a halt and they set Seamus down. “Great work, Weasley,” Draco placed a careful
hand on Ron’s shoulder. “I’m leading you to a rock that you can sit on until I
get you a place to lay down, okay?”
Ron nodded. “Thanks,” he forced out from between clenched
Draco stepped to the front of the cave entrance and chose a
good size rock. He called Neville over and relieved him of the wand. With
another swish and flick, they had a large bucket. “You want to fill this with
water at the creek while I start on the beds?” he asked.
“You betcha,” Neville grinned. Draco couldn’t help but grin
in return and he shook his head in amusement as Neville trotted away.
Taking a deep breath and steeling himself for the energy
drain, Draco began transfiguring in earnest. He began by forming a soft
mattress and some fluffy pillows out of rocks. Once that was done, he levitated
Seamus to it and then propped up his broken limbs with more pillows. Seamus
whispered a thank you, to which Draco only nodded.
He then moved on to a larger pile and created a double
mattress, complete with pillows. He led Ron to it and settled him in and then
stepped aside for Hermione. She blushed, wondering how he knew they slept
together, but took her place with all the grace that having no hands could
muster. He smiled briefly at her sigh of comfort and moved on.
He made another mattress, this time a little harder so as to
support Harry’s crushed chest ~and bigger because Harry was Harry and deserved
the best after all~ and levitated him
onto it as well. He eyed the cavern again and chose a grouping of rocks near to
Harry to transfigure a bed for Neville. Nearly swaying on his feet, he took a
momentary breather before stepping back up and appropriating cloaks. He
transfigured them into warm, comfy quilts and moved from one bedside to another
tucking his ‘patients’ in.
He had managed to kick some wood into a small pile, completely
unable to bend over to straighten it, by the time Neville came back in. “Wow,
Draco, this is amazing!” the Gryffindor gushed. Draco smiled weakly and pointed
out Neville’s bed to him. He aimed the wand one last time, hand shaking badly
as he did, and cast incendio on the wood. The flames began to flicker merrily,
but Draco didn’t notice. That last bit of magic wiped him out and he collapsed
into a boneless heap in front of the fire.
Neville gasped and ran to his side. “Draco? God Draco, are
you okay?” He shook the blonde’s shoulder before looking up helplessly at
She smiled reassuringly. “It’s okay, Neville. He’s just been
casting really trying spells for the last hour and between that and the stress
and the physical labor, he just wore himself out.” Neville heaved a sigh of
relief and managed to heave Draco up into his arms. He looked around the room
and realized that Draco had been so focused on everyone else’s comfort that
he’d forgotten to make himself a spot to sleep.
Smiling slyly, he made his way over to the only other bed
big enough to hold two people, and gently placed Draco next to Harry. After
that, he quickly got into his own bed and snuggled down. Tomorrow had to be
Draco woke, amazingly warm and content. He cracked an eye
open at a noise and the first thing he saw was dark hair, a lightening scar and
pale skin. Sitting up abruptly, he scanned for the reason he would be in bed
with Harry Potter. ~Not that I mind in the least.~ When he saw Neville smirking
at him from near the fire, yesterday came rushing back to him in a fell swoop.
Moving gingerly so as not to jar Harry, he climbed up off of
the bed and made his way to the fire. “Neville,” he nodded, crouching down.
“Morning, Draco,” Neville replied cheerfully.
“Is there a reason I woke up next to Potter?” Draco
Neville snickered. “You mean other than the fact that I put
you there after you knocked yourself unconscious last night?” Draco flushed and
nodded again. “No, no other reason.” His tone made it clear that Draco was
getting nothing else out of him on the subject. Draco sighed and stood again,
stretching to crack his back.
“Um…guys?” Neville and Draco turned to see Seamus scooching
onto his side to eye them pitifully. “I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings,
but I gotta piss like a racehorse.”
“So do I,” Ron chimed in.
Hermione blushed and cleared her throat. “Well, I can’t say
I need to go that badly, but a trip outside would be helpful to my bladder.”
Draco grinned as Neville blushed nearly as red as Hermione.
“I…er…I’ll help Seamus,” Neville stammered, rushing to find something to do
that would cover his embarrassment.
“I’ll take Ron,” Draco said softly.
“I’ll be fine on my own, gentlemen,” Hermione stated primly.
Draco nodded and moved to help guide Ron to the entrance of the cave.
Draco led Ron out and around the corner from where Neville
went with Seamus, who was giggling about Neville finally getting to get into his
pants. Draco eased Ron behind a bush and stepped back. “You’re pointed at a
tree trunk,” he stated quietly. “Yell when you’re done and I’ll turn back
“A-are you leaving me here?” Ron’s voice sounded shaky.
“No, not at all,” Draco said soothingly, risking a hand on
Ron’s arm. “I just need to go too and didn’t think you’d want me hovering
around watching your bits while I manhandled my own,” he tried for a joking
Ron rewarded him with a weak smile. “So, promise not to
gander at my bits and you can stay?” Draco’s chest hurt at the pleading note in
“Okay, Weasley,” Draco smiled, stepping to the side. “I’m
Once they had finished relieving themselves, Draco led Ron
to the bowl of water at the cave mouth and poured a bit on his hands to wash
them. “Dunno why,” Ron joked. “If the dirt and infection don’t kill me I don’t
know what a bit of piss is gonna do.” Draco just laughed quietly and eased Ron
back onto his bed. A moment later, Neville and Seamus came limping back in,
Seamus still giggling.
“Hey, where’s Mione?” asked Neville. Draco looked around the
cave and shrugged.
“I’ll go look for her,” he offered and headed back out in
the direction she’d gone. He walked for a minute or two and then heard crying.
Frantic, he sped up and practically burst into a small clearing housing a
crying Hermione sitting on a tree stump. “Mione?” he asked. “What’s wrong?”
The pretty girl looked up, her eyes red and her face mud
streaked again. “I-I put on pants yesterday,” she whispered, “because it was
cold outside. Pants with buttons.” She held up her hands helplessly.
Draco sighed in relief and put his best ‘determined’ look
on. “Well, we aren’t going to let that stop us from anything,” he smiled and
reached down to tug her into a standing position. “Now, we’ll just tuck these
robes up under your arms,” he rolled them up and demonstrated. “Then we’ll open
these blasted tiny buttons.” As he worked on her pants, Hermione looked up at
the sky, blushing and wondering how the hell the world got so turned upside
down that her ‘enemy’ was helping to undress her to use the lav.
“You know,” he added conversationally as he worked on the
last button, “if you sit on the very edge of this stump, it will be just like
the girls’ toilet at school.” Hermione glanced down and saw readily that he was
right; she wouldn’t have to have the indignity of trying to balance while
“Okay,” she breathed, trying not to cry.
“Would you like the pants and…er…underclothes off, or just
pulled down?” She shot a look at him when he stumbled over his words and was
relieved to see that he was blushing just as badly as it felt like she was.
“I should be okay with them just pushed down,” she muttered.
“That way, I don’t have to have my shoes off too.”
Draco nodded and locked his eyes on her chin. He kept them
there as he pushed her pants and knickers down to her knees and helped her
scoot back to the stump. When she was seated, he turned away and walked a few
paces off, deliberately kicking rocks and tromping through leaves. Hermione
smiled through a sheen of tears.
A minute or two later and Draco was beginning to get
nervous. “Everything all right back there?” he called.
“Um…I suppose so,” Hermione’s voice was hesitant.
“What’s wrong?” he asked worriedly.
“Well, could you maybe transfigure a leaf into toilet tissue
or something?” Draco could hear the misery in her voice. He turned slightly to
get an idea of where she was and then aimed Harry’s wand. He cast a cleansing
spell and knew from Hermione’s surprised yip that it worked.
“Okay?” he asked.
Hermione chuckled. “Yeah, great. Thanks.”
Draco nodded and turned back, keeping his eyes upwards until
he saw Hermione’s face shoot up into his eyesight. He smiled at her and leaned
down, still watching her, to pull her knickers and pants back into place. As he
settled her underwear in place, she felt him run a finger under the elastic on
her arse. At her jump, he flinched, “Sorry. I just figured…well, I hate
spending the whole day with my boxers riding up my arsecrack, so I…”
“It’s okay,” she reassured him. “I appreciate the gesture.”
He nodded and continued tugging her pants into place. He had to look to see if
he was getting the buttons done up correctly and noticed with the back of his
mind that Hermione Granger had pretty taste in knickers. He freed her robes
from her arms and brushed the wrinkles out before stepping back and presenting
his arm to her.
She smiled, linking her arm with his, and allowed him to
lead her back. Of course, no Gryffindor could leave things alone, and the first
thing that Neville said when he caught sight of them was, “Where have you
Hermione opened her mouth, but snapped it shut just as
quickly. She let go of Draco’s arm with a final embarrassed smile and went to
bury her face in Ron’s shoulder. Neville looked back and forth between the two
of them. “I er…guess I don’t need to know, huh?” he blushed too and edged
toward the entrance. “I thought I saw some willow bark, maybe I can get enough
to make some painkiller tea.”
“Yeah, you do that Neville,” Draco muttered. He looked over
at Seamus who was grinning like a madman. “What?” he snapped. Seamus shook his
head and held up a placating hand. He then looked at Hermione’s hands and back
at Draco. When Draco’s blush became more pronounced, he started laughing.
“Bloody hell,” Draco growled, “I’m going to look for some more firewood.”
Seamus’ laughs followed him out of the cave.
When Draco came back, he was determined to ignore Seamus. He
began carefully stacking the wood, making trip after trip outside to get more
armloads instead of levitating it all in like he had done from the forest. He
was so resolute in pretending that Seamus didn’t exist that he didn’t notice
Hermione and Ron leaning up in bed talking quietly.
“He’s back,” Hermione breathed into Ron’s ear.
“Mmmm,” Ron answered noncommittally. He listened to the
sound of wood being dropped to the stone floor. “He helped you this morning,
didn’t he?” he whispered. He couldn’t see Hermione blush, but he knew from the
tone in her voice that that was exactly what she was doing.
“Yes. I couldn’t…with my hands…”
“Shh,” he smiled, stroking her back. “It’s okay, love. Was
Hermione nodded, then realized Ron couldn’t see her. “He was
astounding. He was thoughtful, and kind, and let me keep my dignity.” She
smiled at the remembrance of Draco’s blushing face. “And he didn’t rub my
humiliation in my face,” she finished.
“I noticed,” Ron smiled.
“Why do you think he warned us, Ron?”
“Dunno. Why do you think he’s taking care of us?”
“I have no idea.” She looked across the room at Harry, lying
so still and quiet. ~All right, so I do have an idea.~
“Neville seems to be his number one supporter.”
Hermione snickered. “It seems kind of weird. Draco hasn’t
insulted him once. He’s even said please and thanked him.”
“I’m scared out of my mind.”
Ron sighed. “Me too, Mione.”
“What are we going to do?” Her voice rose slightly and she
fought to drop it back down. “Only Draco and Neville and maybe me on a good day
could find our way out of here to go for help. Unless we try to go the same way
as we came in, but I looked up at the bushes and they’d closed around us, Ron.
They’d wiped out our passage. It was strange. And even if we get back to
Hogwarts, we have no idea how things are there. The death eaters could have
taken over and…”
“Mione!” Ron interrupted. “Stop. Worrying won’t help. Let’s
talk about it when Neville gets back and Draco is done with the wood.”
Hermione nodded reluctantly. Then she sighed. “I’ve been
trying to remember the spell for internal bleeding, for Harry.”
“You know one?” Ron asked incredulously.
Hermione nodded. “I was in the infirmary one day when Madam
Pomfrey used it on a Ravenclaw after quidditch practice. But I’ve forgotten
Ron smiled. “Well, close your eyes and try to get some rest.
I’m sure it will come to you soon.”
Hermione sighed again and snuggled down in her boyfriend’s
arms, hating that she was helpless to do anything.
Neville staggered into the mouth of the cave, grinning
wildly and holding the hem of his robes up around his waist. Draco stood from
his crouched position at the fire and raised an eyebrow. “I hit the mother
lode!” Neville crowed. He clumsily knelt and began letting a plethora of fruits
and berries spill out from the rucked up robe. Draco whistled approvingly and
helped him pull the goodies out.
“Whatcha got there, Neville?” Seamus called from his seat on
“I found some berries,” Neville looked over at him while
Draco continued to pull items out of the robe. “The frost hadn’t reached them
yet, so they should be pretty good. I also found an apple tree, wild apples so
they’re smaller, but apples none the less.” Draco held up a dirty root and
looked questioningly at him. Neville grinned. “Oh, that’s just like a potato.
Actually, a little stringier, but not too bad. And I got some willow bark for tea!”
Draco finished arranging the food onto the stone floor and
Neville stood, rearranging his clothes. “I’ll get started on lunch if you
transfigure some cookware and plates for me, Drake.”
Hermione could feel Ron tense under her arms at Neville’s
easy going abbreviation of Draco’s name, but just as she was ready to ease him
down, he snickered. “Didn’t see that coming,” he murmured, “no pun intended.”
Hermione poked him in the stomach and grinned along with him.
“Hell, Neville, this is brilliant,” Draco praised the
Gryffindor, a smile to rival Neville’s on his face. “You’re a genius!” He
continued to sort fruit from tubers and willow bark. When he heard nothing else
from Neville, he looked up, concerned. The bashful boy was gaping at him,
looking dumbstruck. “What’s wrong, Nev?” Draco asked worriedly.
Neville just shook his head. “You called me brilliant,” he
breathed. “And a genius.”
Draco’s cheeks took on a pink hue and he busied himself with
the food again. “So?” he mumbled. “This is an amazing find.”
Neville snorted. “No, you…Draco Malfoy, Evil Prince of
Slytherin…just gave me…Neville Longbottom, resident Gryffindor idiot…a
compliment.” Draco glared up at him. “No, really,” Neville continued. “I don’t
think you’ve ever said one nice thing to me in seven years and now you’re
calling me a brilliant genius.”
“Do you have a problem with me complimenting you,
Longbottom?” Draco intoned.
Neville smiled. “Hell no! It’s just weird cause, well,
you’ve always thought I was as dumb as a box of rocks!”
Draco stood angrily. “I did not!” he snapped. Neville took a
step back, his eyes widening. “You aren’t dumb. I’ve never thought that.
Granted you’re not at the top of the class in potions or transfigurations but
you’re bloody well amazing at Herbology. And you do exceptionally well in Care
of Magical Creatures.”
Neville stepped back forward. He rolled his eyes and got
closer to Draco’s face. “So I have a green thumb and animals like me,” he
stated deprecatingly. “Wow. That’s impressive. Oh, wait…and useful.”
Draco shoved his face into Neville’s and growled. “Every
single class is useful. Every single subject deserves to have its accords. And
everyone is good at something different. Let me tell you, Nev,” he eased down a
bit, “I would rather have a green thumb than the kiss of death, knowing that I
could poison you alone in a room of fifty people and make it look like natural
His eyes widened and he jerked back. “Merlin,” he breathed.
“I probably shouldn’t have mentioned that since I just got done touching the
food, eh?” He was surprised when Neville burst into laughter.
“I think the fact that you mentioned it out loud tells us
all that you aren’t planning on doing that.”
Draco grinned back self-consciously. “Yeah, okay. All I was
trying to say is don’t be ashamed of what you’re good at. Don’t let anyone make
you believe you’re worthless. You come through like a champion when it
Neville looked at him strangely and then clapped a hand on
his shoulder. “So do you, Drake. So do you.”
Draco ducked his head and pulled Harry’s wand out to fulfill
Neville’s request for cookware. Minutes later, the Gryffindor had water boiling
merrily and was serving up stone cups of willow bark tea to Seamus, Mione and
Ron while Draco checked on his patients.
Draco gave Seamus the okay, telling him to keep the leg and
arm elevated. Hermione, he tut tutted over and looked sorrowfully at the mess
her hands were. “I wish I knew what to do, Mione,” he muttered. “I just don’t
know healing.” He bit his lip and looked up at her with a pained smile. “But if
you ever want to submerge yourself in masochistic tendencies, give me a call.”
Hermione giggled and managed to keep her smile through the
replacing of the stiffened gloves. “Go, sit by Seamus. He can help you drink
your tea while I take care of Ron’s eyes.” She nodded and moved to the other
Draco gathered up his wand, a bowl of water and the rest of
his tattered cloak before making his way back to Weasley’s bed. He sat on the
edge of the bed and leaned in close to the redhead’s ear. “Weasley, I’ve got to
tell you that I’ve never tried to take care of injuries like yours before. I
won’t lie to you. It’s bad.”
Ron nodded and his breath hitched a bit.
“I sent Granger over to Finnegan so she wouldn’t have to see
it, but if you start screaming that won’t help in the end.”
Ron nodded. “I’ll try to keep quiet,” he breathed back.
“And I’ll try my best not to hurt you,” Draco assured him.
Carefully, he began to unwrap the boy’s eyes, wincing each time that dried
blood caused the material to catch. When it was freed from Ron’s flesh, he
tossed it aside and began to clean the enflamed skin with a new piece of his
cloak. As soon as he could see the eyelids clearly, he cast a cleansing charm
on them. Ron breathed sharply through his nose but relaxed as the sticky gummy
feeling left his eyelashes.
Draco attempted to pry open an eyelid to see the damage to
the actual eye. Ron whimpered quietly and his arm flailed for a moment until it
met Draco’s leg. He grasped it tightly and Draco knew that he would have a few
more bruises to add to his collection tomorrow.
“You’re doing really well, Ron,” he said soothingly, hoping
the sound of his voice would ground Ron from the pain filled darkness. “You’re
a very good patient. Are you this good for your Mum?”
Ron gave a half whimper, half snort. “Hardly.”
Draco smiled and let his voice warm a bit. “Well, then I’ll
have to tell her that she’s going about it all wrong. Now, what I’m doing is
checking to see how bad the scratches are on the inside of your lids.” He
narrowed his gaze when he saw the large cut on the white of his left eye.
“Well, it’s not great, but I don’t see anything on the iris or the pupil. I’m
going to flush it out now, so hang on to something.”
He poured a bit of water into the socket of each eye, biting
his lip when Ron’s fingers threatened to pierce his skin. “Nearly done,” he
whispered, “you’re doing fine, brave Gryffindor.” Ron managed a tiny smile and
held his breath. Eventually, Draco was satisfied with all that he could do and
he eased Ron into a sitting position. “Okay, now I’m going to wrap your eyes up
Ron nodded, a sob escaping with his released breath. Draco
smoothed a lock of fiery red hair from a freckled forehead and leaned closer. “I’m
so sorry I had to hurt you.” He whispered, and then continued in a
conversational tone. “You have some pretty eyes there, Weasley. Nearly as
pretty as Hermione’s big puppy brown ones. And you’ll be looking into those
again in no time.”
He tied off the bandage and made to stand. Ron squeezed his
leg again, a gentle pressure this time. “Thank you, mate.” He murmured.
Draco stood and walked over to Harry. Looking down at him,
Draco was reminded of a fragile child. He sighed in frustration. “I wish I knew
what to do for him.”
Hermione cleared her throat. “I remembered a part of the
internal injury spell,” she called. “I just can’t remember all of it.”
Draco looked up quickly. “What part?”
Hermione frowned. “Interior something sanare.”
Draco looked flabbergasted. “Interior fragminis sanare,” he
Hermione’s face brightened. “That’s it!” Then her smile
fell. “How did you know that?”
Draco looked sick. “I didn’t know, actually. That’s a spell
to heal internal injuries. I only figured it out because it’s so similar to the
one that causes them.”
Hermione stared wide-eyed. “How do y-…never mind,” she
caught herself. “I don’t care. I’m only thankful that something your bastard
father taught you came to some good.”
Draco looked startled at Hermione’s bluntness, but just
smirked. “I’m sure he’ll be delighted to know what I used it for.” Hermione
grinned back. “Interior fragminis sanare!” He cast. The purple bruising
began to fade immediately and the swelling also started to go down. As sure as
Draco was certain that the spell had had sufficient time to work, he called
Neville over to hold Harry upright while he wrapped his ribs.
After easing Harry back down, he decided to see how well the
spell had worked. “Enervate!” For a long moment, nothing. Then…Harry’s
eyes began to flutter and he moaned. A second later, his eyelashes fluttered
open and Draco was staring into the mesmerizing green he’d longed to see again.
“Draco?” Harry asked
“Yes, Harry,” Draco was trying to hold back tears. “It’s me.
We got into a bit of an accident and you were hurt. We just now got you to wake
“You alright?” Harry’s eyes seemed to get a concerned spark.
Draco’s heart soared. ~He asked about me. He honestly seems worried.~
“Yes, Harry. I’m fine. So is Neville. Ron and Hermione and
Seamus are a bit worse for the wear, but Nev and I are working on getting you
all back to Hogwarts so that Madam Pomfrey can look at you.”
“Whass wrong wi’ em?” Harry started to slur.
“Don’t worry about that, now,” Draco gave in to impulse and
cupped Harry’s cheek. “You just rest. Next time you wake up, Neville will give
you some tea for the pain and I want you to drink it all, okay?”
Harry whined, a tiny mewl of a sound, and rubbed his cheek
against Draco’s hand. “Don’ wanna. Wanna stay ‘wake wi’ you.”
Draco brushed the hair from Harry’s forehead and leaned down
to kiss his scar. “You’re with me even when you sleep. No one will hurt you
here, Harry. You or your friends. I promise you that. Now go back to sleep.”
Harry’s eyes fluttered shut. “Mmkay Dra…co.” Draco smiled
and tucked him back into the bed, smoothing the wrinkles out of the covers. He
stood up and chanced a glance at Hermione. She was watching him, smile on her
face and tears in her eyes.
“Thank you,” she mouthed. He blushed and moved back to the
fire to help Neville with lunch.
Neville shyly handed the steaming bowl to Draco after having
passed out lunch to the other three conscious Gryffindors. “I won’t be offended
if you want to transfigure it into something that tastes better.
Draco looked up at him in confusion. “Why would I want to do
that?” Neville beamed and sat down to enjoy his own bowl of berry flavored
mashed tubers and slices of apple.
After lunch dishes were cleaned and put away, Seamus, Ron
and Hermione decided to take a nap and Neville and Draco sat up to discuss
plans on what to do next.
“We have to find out if Hogwarts is even safe to go back
to,” began Draco.
“And we have to figure out how to get there,” added Neville.
“Should one of us go scouting?”
Neville shook his head. “It’s too dangerous to split up in
the Forbidden Forest. Just because nothing has attacked up in the last day and
a half doesn’t mean nothing is making its way here as we speak.”
Draco sighed. “Yes, but is it more dangerous to stay here,
hoping we’ll figure something out while those four over there die from no
“Good point,” Neville said glumly. “Well, you have Harry’s
wand. Why not use it as a direction finder? Use point me like we learned
in fifth year.”
“Great, except for I’ll have Harry’s wand, wandering out and
around in the forest and you all will be stuck here with no protection at all.”
Neville grimaced and thought. “You could seal us up in here
until you get back! Nothing could get in to hurt us.”
Draco looked wryly at the eager Gryffindor. “And if I’m
killed out there, you all die as well because no one knows where you are.”
Neville sighed. “Another good point. Well, we could do point
me just the once and you could follow that in a straight line?” Even in his
suggestion, he sounded doubtful.
Draco smiled. “You know as well as I do that I’d be lost the
first time I spun around, freaking out over some weird noise.”
Neville growled and Draco bit his lip to keep from smirking.
“Besides, the damn forest is against us. You saw how it closed off the path
where we fell down.”
“Yeah, I did,” Draco said, impressed. “But I didn’t think
Neville smiled wryly. “We’re Gryffindors. We’re brave and
true and loyal. Not stupid.”
“I never thought you were stupid,” came the quiet answer. “I
have often wondered what it would be like to be in a house like yours.”
“Why?” Neville asked curiously. “I thought Slytherin was
“Everyone gets along in your house. Everyone supports each
other. In Slytherin, it’s eat or be eaten. You never show who you are because
someone will use it against you,” Draco stated tonelessly.
“That’s a crappy way to live,” Neville pointed out.
Draco shrugged. “That’s Slytherin. And every death eater
household. If we’re not afraid of the dark lord, we’re afraid of our parents,
or our neighbors.”
Neville frowned. “So who do you trust in a life like that?”
“You don’t,” Draco laughed. “You never trust. You never open
yourself up. You never love. You never get attached.”
Neville cocked his head. “But you did.”
Draco snorted. “And that’s why I might as well go roaming
about the Forbidden Forest. Because if something doesn’t kill me out there,
then my housemates or my family will when we get back to school.”
“It won’t be the same when we get back to school,” Neville
“It will be exactly the same, Neville. Except that my father
will bring me home to teach me a lesson about betrayal. If I live through that,
everyone in Slytherin will be keeping an eye on every breath I take from now
until graduation when my father has me safely at home under his thumb again.”
Neville shook his head. “It doesn’t have to be like that.”
“What else can it be like, Nev?” Draco asked gently.
“You have friends now, Drake. Friends who will protect you.
Friends you can run to when it gets to be too much. Friends who will try to
understand and if they can’t will love you anyway.”
Draco sat silently for long moments. “It won’t last, this
happy fluffy feeling you have towards me,” he stated kindly. “As soon as we’re
all out of here, Weasley will go back to blaming all of this on me. Seamus will
start making jokes about how sad my…feelings are for H-Harry. Hermione will
thank me politely and then scurry away, afraid I’ll taint her with my darkness
“Yes?” Neville snapped. “What about me, Draco? What the hell
do you know about me that makes you so sure you can predict what I will do?”
Draco reared back slightly. “I didn’t mean to-“
“Yes, you did.” Neville cut him off. “You may know us in the
sense that you’ve lived in the same castle as we have for seven years, but you
don’t know who we are. You don’t know what makes us tick, what makes us loyal.”
He sighed. “Draco, you saved our lives.”
“So you owe me a wizard’s debt,” Draco shrugged. “I’ll
consider it repaid if you talk to Dumbledore and try to keep me out of
Neville snatched at the front of Draco’s robes and roughly shook
him. “No! Fuck the bloody wizard’s debt! You sacrificed your life for us,
Draco. If not your physical life, then definitely any chance you had of a home
life. Have you even been watching yourself for the last two days? Have you seen
what you’ve done?”
Silence met his demand.
Neville released him and sat back. “Seamus is my dear
friend. He is also the vainest bloke I know. Can you imagine what his life
would be like if he were to go through it limping and clutching his twisted arm
to his side? And what about Hermione? She would still be trapped under that
rock, Draco. I couldn’t move it.”
“But what if she can never use her hands again?” Draco asked
“Then she’ll figure something out. Hermione is the most
resourceful girl on the planet. Knowing her, she’ll look forward to the
challenge of figuring out how to work magic again. The point is, you gave her
Draco put his face in his hands.
“And what about Ron? Draco you saved his eyes.”
“No, I didn’t!” came the angry reply. “I can’t heal him.
What if his eyes get infected? What if they don’t heal correctly? What if-“
“What if he were still laying out there in the bushes,
thorns stabbing into his eyes?” Neville cut him off again. “What if he were
still out there when he woke up, unable to move for them impaling him, unable
to see, all alone? What about that?”
Draco refused to answer.
“Draco, you only see this glass as half empty. I see a
brave, trustworthy, loyal person who deserves our respect and our friendship. I
see someone I’d like to get to know better. Someone I’d like to be friends
Draco looked up, a bright sheen in his eyes. “I don’t know
how to be a friend, Neville. I’ve never had one.”
Neville smiled. “You’re doing fine, Drake. And we’re here
anytime you need us.”
Draco smiled wanly and sniffed. “So, help me figure out how
to get us the hell out of here.”
Neville allowed the topic change, seeing that the blonde
boy’s emotions were too close to the surface for comfort.
“I have an idea,” Seamus’ voice broke the silence.
Draco stiffened, wondering how much Finnegan had heard.
Neville just turned to the other Gryffindor and smiled. “What’s that?”
“Well, Hogwarts is huge, right?”
“And we ran for a while, but I’m pretty sure that we didn’t
get far enough that we couldn’t see it anymore. So, if we were high enough
above the trees, we might be able to see it. That would tell us the exact
direction if we use point me. We head that way and when we get close
enough, me, Harry, Ron and Hermione could hide in the edge of the forest and
you two can scout ahead and check on the death eater situation.”
Draco cleared his throat. “But what if it is far
away? Then we run into the problem that Neville and I were discussing a bit
Seamus grinned. “No, actually, what you and Nev were
discussing a bit ago included sending you off alone and sealing us up in here.”
~So much for hoping he didn’t hear anything damning.~
“And I agree with you on that,” Seamus continued. “However,
I think that it’s a good idea provided that we go together.”
“I can’t ask you to go out into the Forbidden Forest vainly
searching for Hogwarts while you’re hurt,” Draco refused.
A raised eyebrow and then, “You aren’t asking us, Malfoy.
We’re telling you. This isn’t a Slytherin dictatorship. This is a Gryffindor
democracy. And I think that you’ll find the Gryffindors in this cave are
willing to do what we need to do in order to get everyone of us…including
you…back safely home.”
Draco opened his mouth to argue.
“I’m game,” called Ron.
“Me too,” Hermione added. Draco gaped at them for a long
moment and then threw his hands up and stomped out of the cave. Hermione looked
at Neville. “Should we go after him?”
Neville shook his head. “No. He needs to process what we
told him. He’ll be back in a bit.”
About fifteen minutes later, a much calmer Draco re-entered
the cave. “So, who’s going up? We need to do it now so that we can calculate
how many supplies we need to take with us.”
Neville leaped up and wrapped his arms around the blonde
boy. Draco tensed and looked wildly down at the top of Neville’s head. When
Neville turned him loose and volunteered to go up, however, he tentatively
offered an arm around Neville’s shoulders and a brief squeeze.
Shortly, Neville was waiting patiently in the clearing
outside of the cave. “Wingardium leviosa!” Draco chanted. Neville began
to rise slowly. Draco kept every iota of concentration on the spell, making
sure that Neville didn’t tip or sway, that he went up at a steady pace. After
25 feet, Draco began to feel the strain. He’d never so carefully levitated
anything as heavy as a person before. The boulder had been different, as he’d
just thrown it aside.
Fifty feet and he was sweating, yet Neville kept waving him
higher. Gritting his teeth, he complied. Seventy-five feet and Neville shouted,
“Yes! I see it!”
“Thank bloody Merlin,” Draco gritted. He glanced up in the
direction of Neville’s pointing finger and made a scuffmark on the ground just
in case Neville got turned around as he came down. He then began the arduous
task of bringing the boy down as carefully as he had sent him up. Fifty feet to go and he started a slight
tremble. Twenty-five and he was all out shaking.
By the time he had set Neville on the ground, he was bracing
his wand arm with his other arm and sweat was pouring off of him in torrents.
When he released the spell, Neville plopped down gently on both feet mere feet
away from Draco. And Draco dropped to all fours, his head hanging as he panted
for breath. Neville raced into the cave.
“How’d it go?” Seamus asked.
Neville grinned. “Found it. But Draco practically killed
himself trying to keep me in the lap of luxury on the trips up and down. I’m
going to put him down for a rest while I gather things together for tomorrow.”
Nods answered him as he hastily poured a cup of water and charged back into the
clearing. Draco was kneeling now and his panting had eased into hard breathing.
“Here, drink this,” he held the cup to Draco’s mouth. Draco
was still shaking enough that the rock clattered against his teeth as he opened
his lips. “You did really wonderful, Drake.” He praised. Draco grinned up at
him wearily. He then took Harry’s wand up again and held it in the shaking palm
of his hand.
“Point me,” he rasped. The wand spun and came to a
stop. “We go northwest,” he said, and let his hand fall. And then for the
second time in two days, he let darkness overtake him. This time, however, he
knew that there would be someone to catch him.
Harry was warm. And comfortable. And a feeling of complete
happiness pervaded his consciousness. This was odd for several reasons. The
first, that he couldn’t remember being this happy…ever. Oh, not that he’d never
been happy, it was just…he’d never been this happy. He sighed. ~Way to make
absolutely no sense at all.~ he chided himself. And then realized that his sigh
had brought to mind the second reason he shouldn’t be this happy.
His chest felt like a two-ton press was sitting on it and
little lightening bursts of pain radiated out to every extremity with each
breath. Which, of course brought him to his third reason for the odd
happiness…the fact that said extremities were currently wrapped around another
body. Another body that Harry knew by smell, by sense alone.
He was lying next to Draco Malfoy. He pulled his thoughts
away from the contented delight that being near Draco gave him and tried to
remember exactly why he was here, hurting, with Draco. He remembered the blonde
telling him, moments ago it seemed, that Lucius Malfoy was waiting for him on
the pitch. Waiting for Draco to lead the infamous Harry Potter into his grasp.
He remembered Draco’s eyes…pretty eyes…fill with terror as
the darkly clad figures began appearing on the field. He remembered the
determination that settled on that face…soft, touchable face…as Draco told him
to run, just run. That he would take care of Hagrid and delay the death eaters.
A jolt of pain ran through his heart at the picture of the
gentle giant cloaked in flames. He hoped Hagrid had been saved or had died
quickly. He couldn’t stand the thought of his first friend suffering.
He vaguely remembered making a split second decision that he
knew would change the course of his life forever; he took Draco with him. He
grabbed the Slytherin’s hand and dragged him willy-nilly on an insane dash
through the Forbidden Forest. He recalled thrusting Draco in front of him so
that the blonde couldn’t change his mind and run back to the field. He
remembered staring at that black-clad back, praying that Draco had some clue of
where they were going.
He recalled the gut-wrenching panic he felt when Draco
dropped out of sight right in front of him, and how he threw himself after the
boy, only to begin tumbling downwards. The last thing he could recall was a
horrible pressure on his chest ~not too unlike the one I’m feeling now~ and the
sound of twigs? cracking. He opened his eyes to see a boulder the size of his
Hogwarts trunk bouncing off of him and then he knew no more.
The next time he awoke, the burning, crushing pain was still
there, but lessoned. He’d seen blonde hair and a sweet smile and knew he must
be dead. There was no way that Draco Malfoy would ever look at him like that,
no matter how he longed for it. Then Draco had spoken to him. He had told him
of the accident and confirmed the searing agony of the rock, and he remembered
He needed to know if Draco was all right.
Reassured, he none-the-less ached for the injuries of his
friends. He tried to go to them, but Draco’s cool hand on his flushed cheek
held him in place. But he didn’t want to go to sleep. He wanted…needed…to stay
awake. To spend as much time as he could with this new, kind, loving Draco.
Because he knew, when he next awoke, it would all be a dream. But the siren’s
call of sleep beckoned to him and he couldn’t resist.
And now, he was coherent again. And Draco was still here.
He drank in the gentle curve of the blonde’s cheek, smiling
at the dusty streaks and the sweat marks. His Draco would have a conniption if
he could see a mirror. Or maybe this was his Draco and the other Draco…the
harsh one who broke his heart with every insult, every cruel smirk…that was the
one who would have cared. Maybe this one was different. Maybe this one could be
He tried to turn onto his side to get a better look and then
realized that the ‘searing pain’ hadn’t been a dream either. He hissed in pain
and Draco’s eyes popped open. The blonde blinked rapidly and sat up.
“Harry? Are you okay? Did I hurt you?”
Harry shook his head. “No, I just tried to turn over.”
Draco tsked at him. “You can’t do that, ducks. You’ve got
crushed ribs. We healed the internal bleeding, but I don’t know the first thing
about broken bones.”
Harry smiled. “I’ll be alright. Were you hurt?”
Draco ducked his head shyly. “Just a few scratches and some
bruises. Nothing I can complain about.”
“And the others?”
Draco’s smile faded. “Neville’s fine. Seamus broke a leg and
an arm. Hermione’s hands are in worse shape than your ribs and Ron…Ron’s eyes
were punctured by a thorny vine.” Harry turned his head instinctively to see
the rest of the room. It was all too blurry and made his head swim so he turned
back to the cool relaxing gaze of the boy next to him.
“Where are we?”
“In a cave. I’m not sure how far we are from Hogwarts.
Neville knows. We’re going to head out, probably tomorrow morning and try to
Draco shook his head. “Gone. But Neville found your wand.”
He blushed. “I’ve been using it to do things around the camp. I hope you don’t
Harry smiled. “Of course not. I’m just sorry you can’t find
A wry grin. “Oh, we found mine, all right. It’s in
splinters. But that’s okay. I don’t think it’s in tune with me anymore anyway.
My father bought it for me when I was his little protégé. That’s not really the
Harry just looked at him.
Draco blushed again. “I’m sorry for all of the hurtful
things I’ve done to you, Harry. To you and all of your friends. I was a real
arse. But I’d like to make amends. If you’re still willing.”
Harry smiled softly. “I’ll forgive you on one condition.”
“What?” Draco asked eagerly.
“You lay back down here and keep me warm.”
Another blush. Then, a nod. “I’d be honored to, Harry.” He
snuggled back down cuddling the Boy Who Lived like precious china in his arms.
Across the room, Hermione let a tear fall from her eye and
Ron grinned. “You’re crying, aren’t you?”
She sniffed indignantly. “No.”
“Sure you’re not.” He snorted, but pulled her closer into
“Ron, how long do you think we’ve been missing how Harry
Ron sighed. “I dunno, Mione. But somehow, finding out now
doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would.”
“Me neither.” She lay back down in her love’s arms and
closed her eyes.
Neville grinned down at Seamus from his perch on the edge of
the bed. “I knew it,” he whispered.
“Knew that Harry wanted to shag Malfoy?” Seamus drawled.
Neville gaped at him in shock. “How did you know?”
Seamus shrugged. “I’m a slut. I can tell sexual tension.
It’s a gift.”
Neville blushed. “You aren’t a slut, Seamus.”
“Do you know how many people I’ve slept with, Neville?”
Seamus cocked an eyebrow.
“No, and I don’t want to know.”
“Why?” Seamus grinned. “Don’t want to be added to the
Neville glared. “No, I just don’t like thinking of you with
other people.” His eyes widened as he realized what he’d just given away. “I-I
mean that I-I don’t like thinking about sex…and you…I mean you and, er…” he
stammered to a stop.
Seamus reached up with his free hand and caught Neville’s
chin. He stared into the other boy’s eyes with a penetrating gaze. “Neville, do
you have a crush on me?”
“Er, no?” Neville squeaked.
“We might die tomorrow, Nev,” Seamus pointed out. “The least
you can do is be honest with me.”
Neville blushed and hid his face in his hands. “Okay, fine.
Yes, I have a slight crush on you. But if we weren’t going to die tomorrow, I
never would have said anything.”
Seamus chuckled. “So, you wanna have a go?”
Neville jerked away from him, glaring daggers. “No. I do
Seamus looked confused. “But, you just said—“
“No, Seamus. I didn’t just say I wanted to shag you. I said
I had a crush on you, i.e. I’m in love with you. I have absolutely no intention
of shagging you and watching you walk away after adding my name to your
bedpost.” His face took on a mask of hurt. “I do have some feelings you know.
I’m not just good old Neville, kick him while he’s down.”
“I-I never meant to imply that, Nev.” Seamus protested. “I
respect you. Truly, I do. I’ve just never had anyone be…i-in love with me
before. It’s always been just fucking.”
Neville sighed. “Seamus. It’s never just fucking. Every act
makes you lose a little more of yourself. I’ve seen it happening. You feel a
little more dirty each time, a little less worthy.”
Seamus blinked and turned away. “Well, how’s a bloke
supposed to find Mr. or Ms. Right if he never looks around for ‘em?” He pouted.
“Seamus, you aren’t looking. You’re hiding behind your
lecherousness, behind your cock.”
Seamus smiled blearily. “Well, I’ve heard tell that it’s
Neville grinned. “It is. I’ve peeked in the showers.”
Seamus’s turn to blush. “But you’ll never find the right person if you just
Seamus looked oddly at Neville. “So, are you this right
Neville looked a little sad. “I’d love to be that person,
Seamus. But I can’t make that decision. Only you can, and only after you admit
to yourself what you really want. Now. You’re tired. I can tell. And I need to
get busy collecting supplies. So, go to sleep and I’ll see you when you wake.”
He gave into temptation and dropped a kiss on Seamus’ forehead.
It was just a tiny brush of lips, but Seamus felt it tingle
all the way to his toes.
“Draco,” Neville called, “what do you think about hooking
these transfigured water and food pouches onto Seamus’ stretcher? That way, we
don’t have to sacrifice any more hands to carry them.”
Draco eyed the stretcher and nodded at Neville. “Once again,
I think you’re a genius, Mr. Longbottom,” the blonde grinned. Neville blushed,
but proudly began tying the pouches to the poles.
They moved out to Hogwarts in much the same way that they
had moved to the cave. This time, however, Neville took the lead, carrying
Seamus with Draco. Harry refused to be carried and so he was placed between
Draco and Ron, with Hermione bringing up the back to make sure the blind Ron
and barely walking Harry didn’t stray off course.
Draco had given Harry back his wand, warning him against
casting any spells unless they were absolutely necessary. Harry rolled his eyes
and nodded agreeably, and spent the next few hours staring at Draco’s ass as
they forced a trail back through the forest. Soon, staring at Draco’s ass
became less of a pleasure and more of a needed distraction.
When his very heartbeat caused his chest to hurt and his
wheezing was becoming loud enough that he couldn’t hide it any further, he
began concentrating on the play of muscles in Draco’s back and the curve of his
hip as he prowled through the foliage ahead of Harry. So entranced by Draco’s
form was he, that he didn’t hear Neville call a halt. He walked straight into
Draco’s back and yelped as the movement jarred his ribs.
Draco turned, worriedly, to see what had happened and all
hell broke loose. A blurry form rocketed out of the underbrush and slammed into
Neville. The boy went down, screaming, and dropping his end of the stretcher.
The stretcher fell back onto Draco, who was watching Harry and wasn’t prepared
for it, and smashed him backwards…right into Harry.
Harry dropped like a rock, screaming in pain and Hermione
pushed past Ron, dropping to her knees at Harry’s side. Ron reached his hands
out, terror filling his blood. “Harry? Mione? Neville?” The snarling and
screaming drowned out his panicked voice and he’d never felt more alone in his
life. “Please, what’s happening?” he begged.
Draco straightened himself and glanced over at Neville. The
Gryffindor was flat on his back, pinned by a sparsely haired body larger than a
Great Dane. If only size were an issue, Draco wouldn’t have been so scared.
However, the “Great Dane” also had teeth. Large ones. Large, sharp ones. Ones that
were snapping closed mere centimeters from Neville’s terrified face.
Realizing in an instant that he no longer had Harry’s wand,
he took a deep breath and launched himself at the creature. He hit it with his
full body weight and knocked it off of Neville, rolling through the bushes with
it. He grappled the beast around the neck, hoping it was as similarly jointed
as a Great Dane and wouldn’t somehow twist it’s head completely around and take
off Draco’s face with a well-placed bite.
As he rode the animal’s thrashings out, he understood that
he needed to deal with it immediately. Flopping around, holding its teeth away
was great for now, but he could already feel himself tiring…and the creature
seemed to be doing just fine. He took a risk and freed one arm. The bucking
increased and a rush of adrenaline coursed through his body.
He reached out, desperately groping for something that would
inflict more damage than his fist. Long seconds crawled by during his futile
attempt and then…blessed Merlin. Success! His fingers closed around a
fist-sized rock and he pulled it back to him. He didn’t hear his own
blood-curdling yell. He didn’t feel the teeth sink into his side as he released
the beast. He was totally focused on bringing the rock down over and over and over
again on the monster’s skull.
He pounded as it growled. He pounded as it yelped and slid
to the ground. He pounded as it lay motionless beneath him. He pounded until
the bloody rock broke in his hand and he was forced to take stock of the
situation. The beast lay dead, and he rolled off of it, gasping.
The snarling had stopped, but the screaming continued.
Seamus flopped off of the stretcher and dragged his hurting body to Neville’s
side. He curled up around the shrieking boy and began whispering soothing words
and making comforting noises. Eventually, the howls died away and Neville sat
shaking in Seamus’ arms.
Harry finally caught his breath and waved Hermione away. She
crawled backwards a few paces to where Ron was sobbing in a fetal position, begging,
“Please, please, please” as a litany. She too took the hysterical boy into her
arms and comforted him.
“It’s alright, baby. Shh…it’s okay. There was a…a thing, a
beast. It attacked Neville, but Draco killed it.”
“Is Neville okay? Is Draco?” he hiccupped.
“I don’t know, Ron.” She looked worriedly at the tangled
pile of limbs in front of her.
Seamus nodded. “Neville’s fine. He’s just shook up.”
Harry made his way to his feet and crashed through the
underbrush to Draco’s side. He tripped over the carcass and fell to his knees
in front of the blonde. Tears blotting out Draco’s visage, he none-the-less
began ripping at the other boy’s clothes to get to the horrible, life
threatening wounds he just knew Draco had sustained.
“It’s okay, Harry,” Draco gasped. “It’s just a scratch. It
didn’t get anything vital.”
Harry slapped Draco’s hands away and continued his task,
sobs escaping his chest, adding to the throbbing of his ribs.
Draco grabbed Harry’s hands. “What is it? Did it get you?
Did you get hurt when you fell? Damn it, Harry answer me! Why are you crying?”
Harry’s breath started hitching. “N-no, I w-was…s-so
s-scared, Draco…so s-scared. Thought you w-were…thought he’d…” he stopped
trying to talk through his tears and grasped Draco’s face between his hands. He
sealed his lips to Draco’s letting his terror and relief shine through in a
trembling kiss. When he finally pulled away for more air, the sobs over took
him and he collapsed into Draco’s arms.
Draco wrapped himself around the frightened boy and pulled
him onto his lap. “Shh…it’s okay love. He didn’t hurt me. I’m fine. I’m here.”
When Harry’s sobs tapered off, and he was able to function
without holding onto Draco to make sure he was real, Neville padded up to them.
He quietly began bandaging Draco’s scratches, swabbing out the shallow cuts
with water before wrapping the Slytherin up in pieces of his own cloak.
“Thank you, Dray,” smiled. “For saving me.”
Draco grinned. “I thought it looked like something a friend
Neville laughed. “I guess it was at that.”
Around dusk, Neville pushed through the final vestiges of
the Forbidden Forest and stared at Hogwarts, lit up with fire and candlelight
and magic. “You four stay here,” he pointedly looked at the Gryffindors. “Draco
and I are going to see if it’s safe.”
The two boys left their companions hidden in a copse of
trees and ventured out through the Care of Magical Creatures field. Keeping low
to the ground, they eventually arrived at the entrance hall and carefully, one
at a time, snuck in, hiding in the shadows.
Draco pointed downstairs towards the dungeons. Neville
looked at him as though he were crazy, but rolled his eyes and complied. They
met no one, teacher or student, on their way down, and Draco eased them into an
alcove near the Potions classroom.
“If everything is all right, everyone should still be in
classes,” he whispered. “Let’s go down and see if Potions is in session. Even
if the school has been taken, Snape will more than likely be down here and
he’ll help us.”
“Are you insane?” Neville decided that a simple look wasn’t
enough. “Snape is a bastard. He’ll never help us.”
Draco smiled. “There’s a lot more to him than he shows to
any of his students. Trust me, Nev. He’ll help us.”
Neville sighed, but nodded. “Fine. Go ahead. If he sees me,
he’s likely to start throwing things.”
Draco smothered a chuckle and peeked out. “I’ll leave the
door open so you can hear. If there are any problems, you run to the infirmary
and take Madam Pomfrey to the others.”
Neville surprised him by flinging his arms around him in a
brief hug. “Good luck.”
Silently, Draco eased into the corridor and up to the
Potions door. Steeling himself, he abruptly shoved it open and stood broadly in
the doorway. Every eye in the classroom was fixed on him, from the nearly two
dozen Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws to the black gaze of their teacher. Snape
stared for only a moment before dropping the ingredients he was holding and stalking
across the room.
He grasped Draco by the shoulder. “Are you alright, boy?” he
Draco raised an eyebrow and looked around. “That depends,
sir. Are things…well here?”
Snape raised a matching eyebrow and turned back to the
class. “I am stepping out in the hallway for a moment. If I hear one word from
any one of you, you will be serving detention with me for a month.” He pushed
Draco out the door and shut it firmly behind him.
Neville didn’t have time to run. He was caught out in the open
as Snape shut the door and the professor’s eagle eye landed on him as he made a
frightened meep. Snape narrowed his gaze. “Longbottom. Where are the others?
Draco. Why are you with Longbottom?”
Draco placed himself between the professor and Neville. “Sir,
are the death eaters gone?”
Snape snapped his gaze back to Draco. “Yes. The faculty
fought them off. We spent most of yesterday searching for you, hoping they
hadn’t taken you away. No one seemed to remember seeing what happened to the
lot of you. Are you all together?”
Draco smiled. “Yes sir. Together and accounted for. Injured
however. And we’d really like some baths,” his mouth twisted. “But we’re
Snape glanced distrustfully at Neville, and then snorted. He
pulled Draco into a hug, not unlike the one Neville had just given him. “I’m
grateful to see you, boy. Let’s get you and Longbottom to Poppy and then we can
retrieve the others.”
As they walked into the infirmary, Madam Pomfrey gave a
startled yip and descended like an avenging angel on the two of them. “What in
the world happened to you two? Are the others with you? Are they hurt?”
Snape cleared his throat. “Poppy. The others are here. I’m
taking Draco with me to fetch them. Please tend to Longbottom.”
Pomfrey nodded and Neville stepped into the room. He gasped
at the figure on the bed in the corner. “Is that….”
Poppy nodded. “Yes, dear. They brought him to me quickly
enough that I was able to heal him.” She smiled at the huge lump Hagrid made in
the tiny hospital bed. “I’ve healed most of his burns and he should be fine in
a few more days.” Draco grinned, knowing how torn up Harry had been at having
to leave his friend behind, and grateful that he could stop that bit of pain
Poppy stepped to the hearth in the infirmary and fire called
Dumbledore. Minutes later, both the headmaster and the deputy headmistress were
flanking Snape and Draco on their way through the field. Dumbledore was
positively delighted and conjured up stretchers to hold each one of the
students, Draco included. He chattered away at them as they floated towards the
castle and safety.
But, really, none of the young teens were listening. Draco looked over at
Harry, floating next to him, and smiled. “We’re safe, ducks,” he whispered.
Harry reached out across the expanse and captured Draco’s hand. Neither boy
noticed nor cared about the pause in Dumbledore’s chatter, or the sudden intake
of breath from Minerva, or even the groan from Snape. They were content to hold
each other’s hands…and know they had tomorrow to look forward to.
Epilogue—2 weeks later
“Mione,” Ron called. Hermione looked up and smiled hugely at
her boyfriend. She trotted down the hall and pushed up on tiptoe to plant a
kiss on the lanky redhead’s lips. Ron smiled down at her. “I have a surprise
for you, my sweet.”
Hermione practically bounced. “I love surprises!”
Ron rolled his eyes, thinking as he did that he was grateful
for the ability to perform that small action. “Yes, dear. I know. Now close
your eyes.” Obediently, Hermione shut her eyes and allowed Ron to lead her down
the hall and to her own chambers. She heard him mutter her password and heard
the sound of the stone grinding against itself.
Gently, he led her into the room and the stone ground shut.
“Incendio,” he whispered. She heard a whooshing noise and then Ron
stepped away from her. “Open your eyes love.”
Hermione slowly opened her eyes and gasped. Hundreds of
candles, all burning merrily, sat on every flat surface in her room. Tall,
short, colored, plain…each one letting off a flickering light and a warming
glow to illuminate the thousands of creamy rose petals strewn over her bed and
the floor. “Oh,” she breathed. “Oh, Ron…what is this?”
Ron pulled her into his arms and sweetly traced her lips
with the tip of his tongue before releasing her. “I nearly lost my eyes,
Mione,” he began. “I wouldn’t have been able to see your pretty face, your
gorgeous smile. I’m never taking that for granted again.” Hermione melted
against him. “In the past, we’ve hidden like children in the dark while we made
love; pretending that if we couldn’t see each other then maybe no one else
He grasped her upper arms and squeezed gently. “I hate that.
I want everyone to know how much I love you, that I want to be with you
forever. And I’m never letting an opportunity to see how beautiful you are pass
me by again.”
Hermione had tears in her eyes when she reached up to cup
his face. “I love you, Ronald Weasley.”
He smiled and dropped to his knees. “I also wanted to have a
perfectly romantic setting for something else.” Hermione’s eyes widened and she
held her breath. Ron reached into his pocket and pulled out a tiny box.
“Hermione Granger,” he intoned. “I love you more than life itself. Would you do
me the honor of becoming my wife?” Keeping his eyes locked on her face, he
opened the box, allowing the candlelight to glint off of the golden band and
sparkling diamond within.
Hermione covered her mouth with her hand, blocking the path
of the tears that ran down her cheeks. She ignored the box, ignored the ring.
She had eyes only for the man kneeling in front of her. “Yes, Ron,” she choked,
nodding. “Oh, yes yes yes.”
Seamus eyed the empty room; Ron was obviously with Hermione,
Dean was with his Ravenclaw girlfriend and Harry was…well, no one had a clue
where Harry was, but knowing the dark haired teen, he wouldn’t be back until
the early hours of the morning. ~No one to interrupt.~ he thought with
satisfaction. Quietly, carefully, he made his way over to Neville’s bed and sat
on the edge, just watching the other boy sleep.
He memorized the lines of Neville’s face, marveling at the
baby soft look of his lips, the curve of his jaw, the shadow of his hair as it
fell over his forehead. He sighed, smiling sadly.
“What’s wrong, Seamus?” Neville asked, opening his eyes.
Seamus started, and then grinned wryly.
“I was just thinking that you’ve spoiled me.”
Neville looked inquisitively at him. “Spoiled you for what?”
“Sex,” came the straightforward answer.
“How did I do that?” Neville blushed. “We’ve never even
Seamus chuckled. “And that is the problem.”
Neville frowned. “I told you, Seamus. I—“
“I know,” Seamus interrupted. “I know and that’s what I
mean. If you’d given in, if we’d just had sex, then I wouldn’t feel this way.
“What way?” Neville asked softly.
“Confused. Uncertain. In the past, when I’ve been attracted
to someone, I’ve seduced them. I’ve fucked them and put them out of my system.
After that, I move on.” He sighed. “But you. You told me no. That was odd to
say the least. I don’t think anyone had ever told me no. And then you proceeded
to dissect my emotions and make me think about what I was doing…to you, to
myself. Then, to top it off, you continue to be my friend. You hung around. You
forced me to see you, Neville. To see the real you. And now, I’m confused as
“Why?” Neville breathed wonderingly.
“Because when I get to know someone, I’m done. I have no
desire to have sex with them. I’m the nameless stranger kind of guy. But I got
to know you, Nev. I wanted you, got to know you, and fuck all if I don’t still
want to be with you.”
Neville smiled. “So, are you going to start the seduction?”
Seamus shook his head. “I don’t want to seduce you. I don’t
want to just fuck you. I want you to come to me. I want you
to want me. Merlin, Nev…I want you to…to love me.”
“So what happens if I love you, Seamus?” Neville sat up. “Do
I get more than a one night stand? Do I get to be a repeat customer?”
Seamus flinched and flushed a deep red. “I suppose I
deserved that. But, Nev, I’ve never wanted anyone to love me before.”
“Why do you want me to love you now?”
Seamus turned away and dropped his head. “I guess I just
want to be loved back.”
Neville turned Seamus’s head back with a single finger under
the Irishman’s chin. “You love me?” he asked carefully. “But what about the
“I love you.” Seamus’s eyes were pained. “I don’t even care
about the sex anymore, Nev. I just want you to love me back. I promise,
Neville. I’ll never touch you like that…never ask you to have sex, if you’d
just love me back.”
Neville shook his head and clucked his tongue. “Now, that
wouldn’t be very smart of me to turn down something I’ve wanted forever, now
would it?” Seamus looked at Neville in confusion causing the boy to smile
softly. “I love you too, Seamus. I’ve been waiting for years to hear you say it
to me. And if you don’t come into this bed right this second and make love to
me, I’m going to go insane.”
Seamus’s eye lit up and he grinned. “You won’t regret this,
“I know, love. Nor will you.” And Neville took Seamus into
his arms and pulled him under the covers.
Harry closed his Charms book, sighed and gathered up the
remainder of his papers. He heard a shoe scuff on the squeaky library floor and
turned to see whom else was sentenced to studying so late in the day. Draco
stood with his hands wringing the hems of his robe sleeves. Harry’s exhaustion
melted away. He smiled brightly at the Slytherin. “Hi.”
Draco nodded. “Hi, Harry. What are you doing?” he gestured
to the papers.
“Finishing up Flitwick’s Charms essay,” he sighed.
“Finally.” Draco nodded again and watched as Harry packed everything up into
his bag. When he lifted the bag up to his shoulder, Harry flinched at the
strain on his newly healed muscles. Draco reached out and grabbed the bag from
“Here, let me carry that for you,” he ordered. “You
shouldn’t put too much strain on your healing.” Harry looked at him curiously,
but Draco just flushed and shouldered the bag. “So, where are you headed to?”
~Amazingly inane icebreaker, Malfoy.~ he chided himself.
“I figured I’d take a stroll around the lake before bed,”
Harry smiled. “Try to work off some of the cobwebs gathered from that essay.”
“Er…do you…I mean…would you like some…er, company?” Draco
stumbled over his words.
Harry just smiled. “Yes, I would.”
Draco made sure to walk slowly as not to tire Harry out.
Harry made sure to walk slowly as not to lose a precious second of time spent
with Draco. As they neared the lake, Harry veered off to the left and entered a
copse of trees, hidden from the prying eyes of the school and yet not
detracting from the beauty of the lake and the sky.
He sat gingerly and waited for Draco to ease down next to
him. As soon as Draco was resting comfortably up against a tree trunk, Harry
laid down, placing his head on Draco’s lap and staring up into startled grey
eyes. Draco caught his breath and raised a hand to stroke Harry’s hair before
realizing what he was doing. Abruptly, he dropped his hand.
“How have you been?” Harry asked quietly. “I heard you got
out of the infirmary after just a couple of days.”
Draco nodded. “Yeah. I wasn’t too badly off. Nothing to
regrow like you or Mione.” He looked embarrassed. “I mean Hermione.”
Harry smiled up at him. “I’m pretty sure that she would like
you calling her Mione. Don’t worry about it.”
Draco smiled shyly. “I went back to classes after that.”
“How was that?” Harry looked worried.
“I’m coping,” Draco shrugged. “There are some who aren’t
happy that I changed sides with no notice. Others, I guess, knew it all along
and weren’t surprised at all.”
“What about your father? Does he know?”
Draco shuddered, making Harry want to hug him. “Yes. Let’s
just say, I won’t be going home. Ever.”
“I’m so sorry, Dray,” Harry whispered.
Draco smiled down at him. “Well, it’s not like I’m totally
cut off. Mother still claims me. And is planning on sticking by me no matter
what. Personally, I think she was just itching for an excuse to get out of the
whole Malfoy Mess.”
“So what are you planning on doing now?”
A shrug. “I never thought about it before. My future was
planned. I have no idea which way to turn to now. Who to turn to.”
Harry reached up and cupped Draco’s cheek. “You can always
turn to me.”
Draco stared down at him for the longest time, and then
looked away across the lake. “Please, Harry. Don’t say it if you don’t mean
Harry frowned and sat up. He swung a leg over Draco’s lap
and sat facing him. “I don’t just say crap to make people feel better, Draco.
If that were the case, I’d have let everyone live happily ever after, never
knowing that Voldemort had risen.” Draco looked back down and Harry caught a
sheen of tears in his eyes. Harry leaned in and kissed Draco’s forehead. “I
mean it, Draco,” he said softly.
“Draco, do you know when I fell in love with you?”
Draco stopped breathing. He froze, terrified to move, to
break the spell. Harry traced patterns across Draco’s cheeks. “Because I don’t.
I didn’t just wake up one day and say, ‘hey, I’m in love with Draco Malfoy.’ I
woke up everyday and thought, ‘I wonder what Malfoy is planning today.’ Then I
went to breakfast and watched you, wondering what you were thinking to make
that sad little crease form between your brows.”
He traced where the crease would have lain, watching as
Draco’s eyes fell shut. “Then I went to class and thought, ‘what is Malfoy
going to get Goyle to do to us today?’ And I’d sit at lunch and question ‘how
can he look so angelic doing such mundane things like eating or drinking?’ All
through classes, I’d look forward to the next time Snape took points from me or
gave me a detention, because you’d turn around and smile at me, even if it were
just a smirk.”
Harry ran a finger over Draco’s lips and felt the puff of
air as Draco gasped. “Then, I’d head off to dinner where I’d wonder what your
favorite food is, or what it’d be like to, just once, have you give me a real
smile. After that, I’d do homework, wishing you were helping me instead of
He leaned in and ghosted his cheek against Draco’s. “Then I
would go to my bed and cast a silencing spell on my drapes so Ron couldn’t hear
me whimpering your name as I touched myself and dreamed of you.” A tiny moan
escaped Draco’s lips and Harry felt him harden against him. “You see, Draco. I
spent every second of every day thinking about you. Dwelling obsessively on
you. After a while, I realized that I couldn’t call it anger, or hatred any
He ground his hips into Draco’s thrilling at the whimper
falling from perfect lips. “I realized that I was in love with you. I realized
I wanted to be with you, to be there for you, forever.”
“Shh, love,” Harry teased Draco’s lips with his tongue. “I
know you care for me. I know you’re scared. I just want to love you, Draco.
That’s all. Just let me love you.” With a sigh, Draco surrendered to Harry’s
will, relaxing under sure hands and loving lips.
“I promise you, Dray,” Harry breathed into Draco’s mouth, “I
promise you that you’ll never be alone again. That you’ll never feel unloved
again.” His tongue slipped in to taste the sweetness of the blonde’s mouth. “I
promise to make it worth everything you’ve given up.”
Draco opened his eyes as Harry pulled away, love shining in
them brighter than the moonlight. “Harry,” he choked, with a watery smile. “You
were already worth everything I’ve given up. And the only promise I want from
you is that you’ll love me as much as I love you.”
The dark haired boy smiled as he took his blonde lover into
his arms. “Done,” he whispered.