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Draco was eight years old, sitting on the patio with his mother when the first of the drawings appeared. It was a warm day, and one of the house elves had brought them a pitcher of sweet tea, and with one hand on the cold glass he used the hand opposite to work up one of his sleeves, revealing little doodles on the inside of his forearm. His mother, busy with her spoon dipping into her sorbet, glanced up at the movement and dropped her spoon with a clatter. She sucked in a sharp breath.


"You shouldn't draw on yourself Draco, you have plenty of parchment for that," She offered a strained smile.


"I didn't draw on myself, mother."


"That's what I was afraid of," Narcissa replied, her delicate hand worrying the pearls at her neck. "Pull your sleeve down."


"But it's so hot!"


"I know darling, but you mustn't let your father see."


"But I didn't draw them—" Draco started, and his mother's hand touched his own.


"You're special, Draco, you've always been special. Just trust me for now, please?"


Draco frowned at his mother's stressed expression, and the smile that didn't reach her eyes. He rolled his sleeve back down.

———

When Draco was ten, his father began sculpting him into a 'proper Malfoy heir'. Afternoons that he used to spend wandering the sprawling grounds, or with his mother, he now spent in his father's study, or in the dungeons practicing the proper form for dueling. Just before his eleventh birthday, his father announced he would be taking Draco to another pureblood family's gala, where he would meet the girl he was promised to at birth.


His father bought him a new waistcoat for the event, gray with silver stitching, that matched perfectly with the silver vest he received for his last birthday. The day of the gala arrived, and after flooing to a large room Draco had never seen before, they were seated for dinner. Lucius craned his neck, watching for someone in the well-dressed crowd. Draco saw his father smile and greet a large man, followed by a medium-sized girl with jet black hair. She wore a short-sleeved green dress, and an alarming number of loud golden bracelets on her left wrist. She rubbed at them nervously, eyes cast downward.


"Come, meet your betrothed, Draco. This is Pansy Parkinson and her father." Draco bowed warily, exactly as his father had instructed him to. He took the girl's left hand and pressed his lips to the back of it. As she drew back, Draco swore he could see flowers etched under the gold.


"Pleased to meet you Miss Parkinson," Draco said, just as he had rehearsed. When he stood, Pansy glared at him, and his father looked proud.


"They look like a lovely couple," stated Mr. Parkinson, and Draco tried not to think about the contrast of his white-blond hair beside Pansy's black strands, or perhaps how her hand seemed larger than his own. He thought they'd make a hideous couple, but he was taught to keep his mouth shut, so he returned the smile of the brutish man beside his rather brutish daughter.


"Perhaps we can reconvene after dinner in order for Draco and Pansy to spend some additional time together?" Lucius offered.


Mr. Parkinson must have nodded, but Draco was too busy watching the girl rubbing at her wrist to see it.


Lucius led Draco back to their table, and he beckoned a house elf from the wall where they all stood. The elf poured their drinks as another placed their soup in front of each of them, careful not to shake the bowls. 

"Was Master Malfoy needing anything else?" asked the elf. 

"No," Lucius huffed, not bothering to meet the eyes of the servant. Draco lifted his spoon and began to eat before hearing his father clear his throat. "Your napkin, Draco." 

Draco flinched at his father's glare, hitting his wrist on the table in his rush to comply, spilling hot soup onto his sleeve. His brand-new sleeve, the sleeve of the coat his father bought him to meet his fiancé. "My apologies," Draco said, standing. "I'll go clean up." 

Draco slipped into the men's room, taking off his jacket and rolling up his sleeves to work at the stain. His eyes caught on the small words and stars doodled on his arms, but he dragged them away, turning on the water. He couldn't believe what an utter fool he was making of himself tonight. 

At this rate, father will never trust you with anything of any importance. Why would he? You can't handle a simple dinner. Draco ground his teeth, and scrubbed more harshly at the material, the spot simply refusing to fade. 

"Draco," said a voice. The boy at the sink turned, finding his father standing in the doorway. He stalked toward him, grabbing his wrist. "I come to see what's keeping you, and I find all of this garbage on your arms!" He shouted. Lucius pushed the boy's arm under the water, scrubbing at the marks on his arms. 

"I didn't—" Draco mumbled. 

"What have you done, spelled this on? You've plenty of ink and paper, why engage in such a low class behavior?!" 

Draco flinched back, tears filling his eyes. Mother warned you... 

Footsteps came from the hall. "Mr. Malfoy? Is everything alright?" 

Lucius turned and found Mr. Parkinson standing where he had not long ago. "We're just finishing up here, I apologize for my sons behavior." Lucius let go of Draco's arm, now angry and red with black marks unfaded, resting his wet hands on the countertop. 

"Step aside." Parkinson demanded, eyes fixed on Draco  

"My son and I will be along in just a minute—"

"Let me see the boy's arms," he said. Draco's eyes were wide in fear, his eyes fixed on the still-running faucet.  Lucius sighed and reached out to Mr. Parkinson. 

"Please, it's simply a small—" 

"This boy is marked!" He scoffed. "You tried to marry off your son when he's destined to be with someone other than my daughter?!"

Draco thought of the flowers. Pansy could have drawn them, he guessed. But then why hide them? 

Lucius was silent, and Parkinson shook his head. "I'm breaking the engagement off. My daughter deserves better than a marked man." 

———

Draco ignores the marks for as long as he can, but one night he wakes up with his arm stinging and the metallic taste of blood in his mouth. He sees the red seeping through the light fabric of his nightshirt, pulls it up before it can get much worse. There, among the jotted notes, stars, and drawings is a straight red line, blood ebbing along the break. Draco slips out of bed and sits at his desk, taking out his older quill and writes neatly, stop.

He held his breath. He wasn't sure he'd get an answer. 

I don't want to. Messy print, but an answer all the same. 

Why would you hurt yourself? It's penned carefully as if Draco were writing a formal correspondence, though the ink seeps into the pores of his skin  

It hurts more if I don't. 

And that's the end of it. 

Draco leans over his washbasin, scrubbing what he can of the ink from his skin. He dabs around the wound and tries to heal it, to no avail. He guesses it can only be healed from his soulmate's side. He wraps it in a clean cloth and hopes it'll stop throbbing by morning.

———

Harry thinks he may be going crazy. He dreams of dark, skeletal horses, and a boy with fair hair that never faces him. The dreams, however, are the least of it. Weird things have started following him around, and now words were appearing on his arms. Harry wanted to believe someone was speaking to him, caring about what he did to himself, but Harry was also a rational person. No one was coming to save him, the people in his life had made that abundantly clear. But with each night, the dreams of the boy grew more vivid, though no more words appeared. 

Something was coming. Harry could feel it.

———

Year One 

———

When Draco first sees Harry, the sight sends something between an electric pulse and a tremor of fear through his body. A few days later he feels it. A light pressure on his arm that he knows is from the scratch of a pen. 

Are you here

what

Where are you 

why 

I think Harry wrote, I feel you near me  

Draco shivered, put his quill down.   

 

He tries to tell himself that his soulmate couldn't be another boy, couldn't be Harry bloody Potter. 

Tries to tell himself he doesn't want him to be.

———

Four days after Harry Potter stops the Dark Lord from returning, Draco feels the pain again. Sharp, stinging, just above the place it hurt before. He slips out of bed and into the Slytherin common room, careful to not wake his roommates. He pulls up his sleeve, casts a lumos, feels something like hope in his chest because why would Potter be doing this just after he fought the Dark Lord? Maybe, just maybe, he wasn't destined to be with the Boy who Lived to make his life miserable.

Draco picks up a self-inking quill from the desk beside the emerald couch, pushing back his sleeve just a little farther. He writes, why? 

it was too much  

Draco stared at the messy lettering. What was he supposed to say to that? 

Who are you? I read the marked are always a witch or wizard. 

Yes, I'm a wizard. 

Draco watched as an invisible quill circled "who are you". Draco took a long breath. 

Harry Potter. He lied.

you're not 

He could hardly breathe. 

How do you know that? 

Because I am.

He shuffled to the bathroom, wrapped a bandage from the cabinet around his arm. Looked in the mirror and pushed his white blond hair out of his eyes. He squeezed the edge of the sink, his knuckles white with the force of it. 

This couldn't be happening. 

——— 

Harry tries to contact him in the days to come, but Draco stays silent, though his fingers itch for his pen. His father would probably insist on killing Harry, or maybe just burning the top layer of Draco's skin off— whatever he would decide, it certainly wouldn't be that he get more involved with the boy. His first year at Hogwarts comes to an end, and the day after he returns on the train he wakes to a two inch long burn on his wrist and sorry scrawled just under it. 

Draco can't resist. 

What happened? 

burned myself cooking 

Be careful. 

thought you'd tell the world about being my soulmate 

No. He writes, because he might as well not be. There was no they could be together, even if they wanted to be. Which of course, Draco didn't.

how old are you 

As old as you.

are you at hogwarts? 

Yes. 

are you going to tell me who you are 

No. 

why not?

Draco didn't want to answer. Why didn't he want Harry to know? Because he didn't want to see his disgusted face, didn't want to feel the hate surging in his chest and the sick sweet feeling that had begun to congeal around it.

It's complicated. 

Harry didn't answer. 

Draco thought that was fair. 

———

..............

Pansy was eleven when she told her mother that she her soulmate was another girl. Her mother stopped chopping the carrots, looked up at her and blinked twice. 

"I know," she said quietly, glancing at her nails.

"How?" Pansy had been so careful, wearing long-sleeved shirts, dressing immediately in the bathroom after a shower.

"I know you can't draw. You always had beautiful flowers on your arms."

Pansy was quiet, and her mother picked up her knife and began working again. 

"I don't want to marry a boy." Sorry you're not getting the grandchild you want. She thought.

"Lots of people don't marry their soulmates." 

"But I want to," Pansy mumbled. 

"Have you even met her?" her mother said, the corners of her mouth twisting into something like a smile. 

"Not yet." 

"Then how do you know?" she asked. She placed the knife beside the cutting board and wiped her hands on her apron. 

"I know her better than anyone. She's just— a part of me, you know?" 

Her mother shook her head. "I wasn't marked." 

"Dad wasn't either?" she asked. Her mother's eyes dropped. 

"You'll have to ask him, Pansy. It's not my story to tell." 

"Mom—" 

"Please, go get cleaned up. The guests will be here soon. We'll talk about it later." 

Pansy glanced at her mother one last time and walked up the stairs to her room. She slipped off her sweater and read the message that had appeared on her wrist since she had dressed hours ago.

I'll see you on the other side of all of this, darling. xx. Luna

Luna was a beautiful name. It reminded Pansy of the moon and stars and everything she missed when she lived in the city during most of the year. She touched the words to her chest, and turned to sigh at the teal dress hanging on the door of her closet. Pansy prayed that Luna would accept her for everything she was— and wasn't.

..............

———

Chapter Text

———
Year One
———
November 12
I miss the days when I simply knew I loved her, because it seems like my arm is blank much too often, and when she writes, I don't. It's too much knowing she could be there for me, and I can't be there for her.

She keeps a journal now— instead of writing it on her arm.

Sure, she knows what happened to make her this way, but it doesn't make it better. She met the Dark Lord. Pansy would never put Luna in that kind of danger, no matter how much she cared for her; so she stops. Luna still writes— about the creatures she loves so dearly, the weather, anything at all to keep in contact.

Did you know the graphorn has two golden horns? They're said to be one of the most beautiful sights on earth, but they're often killed for them.

Is it snowing where you are too? I love the snow.

I had an article published in my father's newspaper this week!

And then one day, a message comes— a real one, like the ones she used to get when Luna still drew her pansies in the morning and talked about when they would finally meet.

I know you're okay. I know you're out there. I can see you in the flowers, feel you in the air. I'm here when you want me. xx. Luna

———
Year Two
———

So, he talks to snakes.

Draco's not completely adverse to the creatures— the small ones at least. Growing up hearing stories of Nagini swallowing wizards whole certainly hadn't helped him. When Snape called Draco up to duel Harry, he felt a strange sense of uneasiness in his chest. Part of him longed to take the other boy down a peg, but at the same time it felt overwhelmingly wrong to fight someone he simply wanted to protect.

(Protect, touch, hold close, he thought, before pushing it away.)

Biology. That's all that was between Harry and himself.

Biology, and now a freakishly large snake.

—-——

It was becoming less of a dream and more of nightmare.

The pale-skinned boy was gaunt, his skin stretched over his bones as if they could break through his paleness. His shoulders hung crooked, his arms wrapped around his ribcage, fingers digging into each divot. If Harry looked closely, he could see curling black lines across his skin, like handwriting, but unlike nothing he could call manmade. Harry couldn't put his finger on why he felt like something was wrong, but he felt it with every gasp that followed his waking, the burn of his eyes, and the unbidden anxiety that settled into his bones.

Sometimes when he woke, there were new words on his arm, but even when there weren't Harry would write to the boy on the other side of his skin. It was a small comfort, but sometimes it seemed as if he was the only person that felt solid in those moments— the only person Harry could reach out to, even with Ron just feet away. His fingers often itched for a blade the closer the boy got, the aura darkness that surrounded him slowly overcoming him, even within the confines of Harry's mind. Somehow he felt the boy's destruction, he saw his depression, but just couldn't seem to explain it.

The dreams might not be real, but the fear it inspired certainly was.

———

The day Pansy arrived to Hogwarts her legs collapsed on the walk to the carriage station, and she heard a brief snicker of "Walk much?" from Draco behind her. She would scowl and shoot back something scathing like she always did, but her knees were still weak and her breath still wouldn't come. Her fingers clutched at the neck of her robes, her eyes flitting from one group of students to the next. She could feel Luna. Feel the draw— so close. Too close. She stood. Took her luggage from where it fell. She would stay calm. She would make it to the dorms. She wouldn't search for Luna because Merlin all she wanted to do was hold her close and tell her she was sorry— Pansy took a shuddering breath.

"Pansy?" asked Draco.

"I'm fine," She said, her voice still weak with what could only be explained as the complete absence of air.

"You're falling behind."

Pansy lifted her head and saw Crabbe and Goyle climbing into a carriage. Draco glanced at her, annoyed, then back at them. "Sorry, I'm coming," she said.

She walked up to the carriages, her head still reeling. Every part of her screamed to find Luna— even without a face to put to the name. Even with the danger. Even with the Dark Lord looming. Which is extremely selfish, she reminded herself, Simply ridiculous considering you wish she was safe in your arms. Pansy tried to focus on the conversation going on within the carriage, anything but the pull to Luna behind her, like the moon to the tide; but her mind was an endless refrain of she's here, she's here, She's Here.

———

Luna sees her as soon as she steps through the gate, and she cocks her head to one side as she watches Pansy slip to the ground before rising up to stare at a pale-skinned boy with a shock of white blond hair. She sees her eyes searching the groups of students— Searching for her friends? Could she be searching for Luna? She sees Pansy climb into the carriage, sees the thestrals drag it off. She feels like the sun. As soon as she reaches the great hall, she borrows a quill from a student sitting just a bit down the table. She rolls up her sleeve, ignoring the curious looks from her classmates.

Pansies bloom by the moon, she writes. They don't close up.

Across the great hall, Pansy's hand curled into a fist as she felt the familiar tickle of writing on her arm. She fought against raising her sleeve to look at what Luna had said. She glances up, looks for Luna, though she doesn't even know her face. She doesn't see Luna's eyes on her, or how she bites her lip. She doesn't know the incandescence she sees surrounding Pansy, or how the air almost contorts around her.

Pansy just knows that she's scared.

Luna gets lost in the floating candles of the ceiling, the grand speeches of the headmaster, and the flood of students headed back to their respective houses, but by the time she reaches her dorm she feels Pansy writing back. She opens her trunk and takes out her mother's quilt, and her brand new self-inking quill. She spreads the quilt over the bed before sitting down and rolling up her sleeve apprehensively, quilt in hand.

You're here, aren't you?

I saw you in the Great Hall, Luna writes.

How did you know who I was?

You're basically backlit in my mind

Didn't you want to meet?

I wanted to wait until you're ready.

How do you know I'm not?

You haven't written in weeks.

I still want to meet

I don't think you want to. Not yet. I'll still be with you this way till you are.

Pansy wrote nothing back. Luna thought perhaps she had been interrupted, or more likely, realized she wasn't as ready as she thought.

———
Year Three
———

Are you alright?

yes

Was that you?

yes

Why?

I was trying to find a way to hurt myself without hurting you

Harry's hand shakes as he writes it, holding a mass of balled-up cloth to his thigh. He had hoped this way, he wouldn't hurt whoever was on the other end of this— as he feared he couldn't stop. At least physical pain stopped the mental, for a while— but these carvings of flesh somehow offered him control; even though his need to do it seemed a loss of it. How could he bleed the person he was destined for? Was that the reason he wouldn't tell Harry his name?

You can't keep doing this.

I'm sorry I didn't mean to hurt you

To YOURSELF.

It's underlined a few times and despite the pain of his leg, Harry smiles. The other writer had never been anything but proper with his language, and Harry's chest felt tight with the thought that he might care, really care, about him, and the feeling of hope blooming in his chest sickened him. That hope had no reason to be there— it was just another cruelty seemingly offered out of benevolence. He felt it in every part of him. He had no name, no face to put the words to. His soulmate likely felt nothing toward him, even if that was something he couldn't accept. Harry took clean bandages, filched from the Hospital Wing, from the bottom of his trunk before he lifted his quill once more.

I'm sorry. He wrote, and pulled down his sleeve.

He needed to wrap his wound, after all. 

———

It makes him a little bit angry, but infinitely more sad, and if Draco thinks about it for too long he can almost feel his mind twist in the wrong direction, the words of his father fighting the very nature of his biology. Your soul, something says, and he scowls. Draco stares into the bathroom mirror, foggy with the remnants of steam from the baths. He had washed the new wound well, cleaned it of blood and bandaged it tight under the towel around his waist. It didn't make him feel any better.

"I hate you," Draco says, focused on the smug expression that was on Harry's face in Potions today. His stupid unkempt hair. The scar that lie under it. The scars on both of their arms. "I hate you," he says again. The green of his eyes. His ridiculously thick glasses. "I do." It's a lie, and he knows it will always likely be, no matter how many times he says it.

I want to hate you, Draco thinks. It's true. Am I somehow missing any semblance of self-preservation? He's going to destroy me, and I can't even stop it— I'm not sure I want to.

He does resent him, to an extent. He resents Harry's apparent death wish, with his far too righteous heroics and his slaying of a bloody basilisk, resents his protection of a hippogriff over him. (That was his fault, he knows, if Harry knew who he was, perhaps it would be different— maybe not.) But the room is cold on his heated skin, and what fills his mind is Harry's warmth. The smile Draco sees him flash his friends. The face he makes when focusing in class, soft and full of wonder. Draco just wants to protect it— that warmth was something he couldn't stand to see fade, even with his resentment. Harry protects the entire school, even Draco more than he protects himself, and it hurt Draco. Who was protecting Harry? Did the Gryffindors know about the scars on his arms and the wound on his leg? If they did, why weren't they stopping him? Could they?

Could Draco?

———

I'll be in the Charms classroom at 7 o'clock if you'll meet me.

If you want me there, I will be.

Please.

Pansy doesn't know if she should sit or stand, and she ends up pacing, biting her lip. Just praying Luna shows. She can't wait anymore. She just wants to hold her. The classroom is dark and calm, but there's a chill in the air that makes its way through her thin clothes and into her shoes. She casts a warming charm carefully, rocking back and forth on her heels as she feels it settle over her.

Luna arrives at precisely six minutes past seven, due to an unexpected collision with a Hufflepuff first-year carrying three dozen rolls of parchment, opens the heavy oak door and steps through it, feeling a surge of warmth through her as she sees Pansy waiting for her. The dark-haired girl hears it slam closed, turning to see Luna waiting on the other side of the classroom.

"Luna?" Pansy asks, and feels instantly stupid because of course she's Luna. Pansy feels like if she touched her she'd just be complete.

"Pansy," Luna says, and her face breaks into a grin. Pansy just sees a swish of white-blond hair before the other girl is in her arms.

It feels like coming home.

Her heart is beating much too quickly, and her eyes are tearing up (Which is ridiculous, because Pansy does not cry, especially in front of other people, she's a Slytherin for Merlin's sake). Her breath shakes, because how can just touching a person make her feel this way— complete and calm? Luna draws back to look at her, and her eyes are a misty blue she's never seen, but she wants to know.

"I was afraid you'd never find me," Luna mumbles.

"Find you?"

"Well, more afraid you wouldn't want to find me." Luna's fingers slip under the sleeve of her robe, cold on Pansy's charmed skin. Pansy lifts a shaking hand to brush back Luna's hair from her face where it had fallen.

"Is it okay?" Pansy asks, and she's not sure what she means. Luna nods, and Pansy's head falls to her shoulder, hesitantly. Luna smells like dried flowers and something sweet she can't quite place.

"Pansy?" Luna asks, (and Pansy immediately loves how her name rolls off her tongue) "I missed you."

She bites her lip, because of course Luna missed her, Pansy had been too quiet for months. "I missed you too," she chokes, and the first tear falls.

They don't stop.

———

Chapter Text

———

Year Four

———

 

I didn't put my name in.

 

I know you wouldn't do that.

 

Mostly. Draco doesn't think he'd be that stupid, but he's heard the whispers. The Dark Lord wanted him in this tournament.

 

I could die

 

But you won't.

 

He hopes.

 

I wouldn't mind

 

Well I would.

 

I'm glad I didn't meet you before the dive.

 

I thought you wanted to meet?

 

I just didn't want it to be you down there

 

There's a twinge of something painful in his chest. For Harry to care that much about him made Draco remember just how painful it would be when he found out who he was.

 

I'm not one for being saved.

 

are you the one saving me then?

 

Why don't we both save ourselves?

 

Sometimes you need saving

 

Well I'll be around, regardless.

 

Draco watches him dive, and though the script on his arm may make him appear unafraid, his breath is shallow and his teeth have come down hard on his lower lip. He holds his breath, waiting for Harry to surface— Merlin, what if that goddamn plant didn't work? What if he's drowning down there? He braces himself, waits for the snap he know is coming. He had read about it, the tug and then severing of a bond born from something between magic and fate.

 

Harry surfaces with a yell that does more to irritate him than it probably should, but the relief is overwhelming.

 

———

 

They stare at each other as the Triwizard champions enter the ballroom. Draco's hand is clutching her arm much too tightly, and Luna's eyes are fixed on hers. Her gaze isn't the accusation she was expecting, but there is a sense of longing there, unwavering as Pansy quickly looks away.

 

It wouldn’t be right. It wouldn’t be proper.

 

Draco doesn’t want to dance, and she wonders why they came together at all. Keeping up appearances, she reminds herself. Draco leans against the wall of the ballroom in his silver dress robes, his arms crossed across his chest.

 

This is exactly the kind of place she hates to be. The bright lights, the magic buzzing in the air, and drama in the bathrooms. The way they all dress up, pretending that pretty clothes could make them pretty people, the same shit over and over, the one thing she thought she could come to Hogwarts to escape.

 

She feels sick.

 

“I’m going to run to the bathroom,” she tells Draco. He nods at her, his eyes narrowing.

 

The music fades slightly as she walks from the hall and into the bathroom. Her fingers shake as she turns on the faucet and looks at herself in the mirror, face painted with the makeup that her mother had sent her with the dress. Her breath is short in her chest, and something hot races up her neck. She splashes water on her face, smudging black and blue down her cheeks as she rubs at her eyes.

 

“Pansy,” she hears.

 

Pansy flinches, her hand jumping for her wand in her pocket, but she sees Luna just inside the door.

 

“Oh Merlin,” Pansy mumbles, color rushing to her face. “I’m sorry.”

 

Luna smiles sweetly, like she always does, and walks to her slowly, raising a hand to brush back Pansy’s hair from her face. Pansy can smell the dried flowers woven into her hair.

 

“I’m a mess,” Pansy says, clutching at the hem of her dress.

 

Luna shakes her head, bringing her hand to cradle Pansy’s face. She leans her forehead against Pansy’s, reaching for the hand that lies wrinkling the material of her dress and placing it on her waist. After a moment, in the quiet drone of the music from the ballroom, Luna begins swaying them back and forward.

 

“I wish we would have come together,” Luna says softly.

 

“I know,” Pansy whispers, her voice laced with something like an apology.

 

Luna’s fingers card through her hair, coming to rest on her shoulder.

 

“I missed you,” she adds.

 

“I’m never far away,” Luna murmurs.

 

She makes me feel beautiful, Pansy thinks. And no one has before.

 

———

 

It's different this time. There is no long slash, no scrawled "sorry" in Harry's messy hand, just short scratches, as if he had reached through a shattered window, and silence. Which is somehow worse. Because Draco had sat in the stands, saw Harry stumble and fall, hands grasping Cedric's body, heard him shout the words he knew would destroy him.

 

And with them, Harry was no longer the Boy Who Lived.

 

Now, Harry is the Boy Who Lied.

 

But Draco saw him, the haunted look in his eye, felt the overwhelming nausea when the true name of the Dark Lord echoed through the stands of spectators. He knew the truth, and he knew the overwhelming helplessness that came with the headlines of the "tragic accident" that had occurred during the Triwizard Tournament. He knew Harry was telling the truth, and there was no way Draco could tell him he believed him. Draco's hands are trembling by the time he lifts a pen back to his arm.

 

Are you safe?

 

He waits a moment, hoping Harry will respond. When he doesn't, Draco lifts his quill again.

 

Please. I need to know.

 

I'm alive

 

Draco shudders, the feeling of panic not quite fading from his chest.

 

Maybe that's enough, for now.

 

It has to be.

 

———

Year Five

———

 

If he could, Draco would give Harry everything— the moon, the stars, every constellation, including his own. If he could, he would give Harry everything he has and more, but he can't even give him his name, and that's what he tells himself as he sits with a self-inking quill clutched in his fist and his astrology book open beside him, etching each aspect of the planets onto his arm. He's careful to etch over the darkest purple marks and onto the smooth skin that remains.

 

There's Cygnus and Vespa in the crook of his arm, Orion near his wrist, and then in the center, small and just peeking out from behind Saturn, he draws Draco. It seems like a secret, but feels like a lie. He's hiding himself among extraordinary things, and he isn't one of them. He never has been.

 

He finishes the last stripe over the bottom of Jupiter, and writes next to Harry's newest scar:

 

You wouldn't rip apart galaxies, would you?

 

Draco feels Harry writing on his right arm, and he smiles when he rolls up his sleeve and finds Harry's chicken scratch there.

 

thank you

 

but I cant write with my left hand

 

Luckily, I'm ambidextrous. Draco smiles.

 

hard to write but thanks

 

Did you know Cygnus is actually a Phoenix?

 

thought it was a swan

 

That's what the muggles say

 

doesn't look like either to me

 

I'll teach you everything I know about the stars if you want me to.

 

There's a chill in the room as he writes it, because no matter how much Draco wants to chart the stars and teach Harry their shapes, it's impossible.

 

I would love that

 

And I, Draco thinks, Could love you.

 

 If this was a different world, I would hold you close and you would never bleed from my hand or from yours. If this was a different world, you would know me, and I wouldn’t be afraid.

 

———

 

There are several reasons for his five-petal flowers, and Harry knows them all.

 

  1. His soulmate. His head is an unending hymn of Helovesme helovesmenot helovesme helovesmenot helovesme. Five petals, five refrains. (He's lying to himself, but he lets it be; what else can he do?)

 

  1. He can't draw. (His soulmate can, from what he can tell, another of his own inadequacies) But if he can give him this at least, something so he can look down and know that Harry is there, maybe he’ll write his name.

 

  1. No suffering is beautiful, but something should grow out of his pain, these scars they both bare. If his soulmate can give him the universe, at least Harry can give him a garden.

 

He wants to know. It’s eating him alive.

 

He can’t stay silent about the bruises on his arms, echoing his soulmate’s own. He knows those marks. He’s had them before, the dark impressions of fingertips, clutching both of their arms. He so desperately wants to know who hurt him, to protect him, and when he can’t do that, he wants to help him. Listen to him. Harry wants to know him more than anything.

 

But for now, this is all he can offer.

 

Harry finds the script just below the flowers, about an hour later.

 

Thank you.

 

Do you want to talk about it?

 

There’s a silence for a moment, before he feels writing again.

 

I’m okay.

 

would you tell me if you weren’t?

 

Maybe.

 

And then a moment later

 

Yes.

 

There’s a sense of relief at the word.

 

Progress.

———

 

Chapter Text

———

Year Five, Pt 2

———

 

Why isn't she afraid?

How can she be so fearless, when all I have is fear?

 

Pansy can’t imagine what it feels like to rebel.

 

She imagines it tastes something like freedom, like autonomy, like everything she’s wanted for so many years, and right now it looks like Luna. Her wild white-blond hair and the flowers and ribbon she weaves into it. Her small, warm hands, and the way she smiles when Pansy meets her eyes.

 

She has eyes that follow me across the sky. She makes me feel like myself, and I hardly know who that is.

 

Luna lives a life she can’t even imagine, filled with her light that wards of the darkness, color instead of gray, endlessly gentle and endlessly kind. Pansy can’t remember the last time she felt soft, like she could spare kindness for someone and not be punished for it. She has always felt this way, always the same, never changing, and Luna never seems to be the same. Always seeking, always who Pansy wishes she could be. She wishes she could join Dumbledore’s Army, be on her side and fight for her, if nothing else- but she doesn’t know how to change.

 

Who would I be, if I knew the light? If I could stay kind, could I stay in her arms?

 

She is endlessly hopeful, and I wish I could be. She loves, and transforms, always fighting, but I fear the new moon.

 

———

 

He thought he would grow out of it somehow. As if the moment he was declared the Chosen One he would be cured, his head and the scars on his skin.

 

But of course, it didn’t go that way. How could it?

 

But now, body buzzing with adrenaline and with pain, Harry sits clutching his ankle, wondering when he had become so weak. His soulmate had been right, he wouldn’t carve through galaxies, but it couldn’t keep him from hurting them both, no matter how much he wished it could.

 

He wanted to be whole.

 

He was tired of being so overwhelmed, trapped in a path he didn’t choose and couldn’t abandon. He wanted to fight, but he didn’t want to be the reason for fighting. He didn’t want it to depend on him.

 

When I finally face them, and he cuts me open, will it be my blood or yours? Will you be among the ranks, will you fight me with him? Will you be safe?

 

He’s never felt closer to anyone than he does in these moments when he stills the blood as it seeps from his wound and feels the script on his arm. Kind words, never bitter, forgiveness never stated, as if it was already known. But he knows the truth.

 

He will never be safe with me.

 

———

( - Flashback - )

 

His hand trembles as he clutches the wand, a silver wisp leaking from it weakly and bleeding into the air under his father’s watchful eye.

 

It fails, just as Draco knew it would. His eyes map the cracks in the cement of the floor as the light fades, each of them splintering like spider webs and he is entrapped- the hand on his wrist tightens and everything comes slowly, the blow, the wall, the floor. He knows better than to raise his eyes as pain blossoms across his cheek.

 

This is how you raise a child.

 

With bruises on his arms and scars on his back. Always broken, always bowed. His face to the ground, and hands

 

always

 

reaching

 

 

You raise a child in fear.

 

———

 

She loves Dumbledore’s Army.

 

She loves learning every spell, feeling safe within the castle, she loves being able to protect herself, and her friends. She just wishes Pansy could feel the same. Luna watches her anxious glances, her shaky hands- Pansy lived in fear, and she didn’t know how to fix it. She didn’t know if she could.

 

Their last meeting was more somber than she would have thought, their hands clutching one another’s in the dark of the broom closet, rehearsing kind memories of when they were both in bloom. Draco had led them to serve the new headmaster, to seek out those who worked against her, and in the name of Albus. It was too dangerous for them to meet.

 

She misses her. Constantly. She wishes they were born on the same side. That she could see the light that Luna has always known.

 

But she is flower if I am the moon; never to touch but hoping that each breath that shakes her petals blows her toward me. If I am the mountains, she is the fields— both of us staring at the other at the stream where we meet.

 

Luna feels it before she sees it.

 

Her light fading, the incandescence surrounding Pansy that Luna could always see. And she is cold. In the wake of it she shivers, but there’s nothing to be done.

 

She is wilting.

 

———

Year Six

———

 

It’s like an eclipse.

 

She’s fading, fading, and Luna can’t see her anymore. The light that follows her, the magic. Can’t help her. Can’t reach her. She is poisoned, and you are not the cure. You can’t heal her of this.

 

Luna finds her on a Tuesday, and something is off. It feels final, and it shakes her to her core.

 

Her hands are soft on her face, and her lips are gentle and seeking, and Pansy trembles as she wraps her arms around her, warm and soft, and never close enough. She always feels safe with Luna, but all she feels now is anxiety. She clings to her and tangles her hand in her hair, quiet and desperate to hold on. Luna moves to look her in the eyes.

 

“I can’t do this,” she whispers, and her voice is soft and pleading. “I love you, but I can’t do this. Not now.” She strokes Pansy’s hair out of her face.

 

“I’ll still write to you.”

 

Pansy shakes her head and buries it in the crook of Luna’s neck. “I’m so sorry,” she whispers. “I’ll find you, after all of this.” I’ll be better, for you. I’ll find you again, in another life, somewhere we can be whole.

 

Luna smiles sadly, her fingers playing with Pansy’s hair. “I hope you do.”

 

“I love you,” Pansy says. “Please remember that.”

 

“I will.”

 

They’re silent, for another moment, until Pansy lifts her head. She wishes this moment would last forever.

 

“I have something for you,” Luna says. She lifts her bag off the floor, bright with enchanted sunflowers in eternal bloom. She lifts a book from inside. “I think you’d make a wonderful writer.”

 

Pansy looks at her, curious, and Luna smiles at her. “You deserve to tell your story too.”

 

Luna stands and presses the journal into her hands, lingering for just a moment before bringing her lips to Pansy’s forehead.

 

“I won’t say goodbye,” Luna mumbles.

 

“Then I won’t either.”

 

She shifts away, her hand on the door. Pansy closes her eyes, and when she opens them, she’s gone.

 

———

 

The door opens. His wand is posed to stupefy the bird again, so he could release it in the courtyard. The door creaks open, thrumming with magic.

 

There's bile in his mouth.

 

The wings are twisted and snapped like branches, the beak open as if in a silent scream. The eyes are open, staring at him relentlessly, and a maggot crawls from underneath its wing. His stomach churns, and he wrenches to the side, emptying the contents of his stomach. His breath comes quick when he is finished, and he claws at his arms.

 

He’s supposed to kill the headmaster.

 

He’s supposed to kill a human being- a wizard so many people love, when he can’t even handle the death of a bird. If he does this, if he murders Dumbledore, Harry would never forgive him. He might even kill him, if he has the chance.

 

His chest hurt.

 

He stands, and lifts his hand to brush his fingers against the bird. The feathers are wet with blood. Draco remembers the warmth of the small body in his hands as he placed it within the cabinet.

 

His fault.

 

He took a life-

 

Just like the Dark Lord would take his.

 

How could he take life? How would he?

 

Something curls dark in his chest, heavy and laced with anxiety.

 

Say it, something whispers. He's taken your freedom, he's taken your love. Say his name. Curse it. You're a coward, but maybe you'll be less of one if you can say it for once.

 

"Voldemort," Draco whispers, and fear claws at his chest. He's waiting for the rush of wind that brings a Death Eater in its wake, the bright burning of the mark on his arm, but nothing comes.

 

He is alone- as flightless as the bird. Trapped in a closet that can only lead to death, and yet he cannot open it.

 

He hopes Harry gets to him first.

____________

 

His hand is sweaty around his quill, fingers tight as he lifts it, shaking, to his skin.

 

I don't want to be alive. No words could be truer, but nothing could make them feel less dangerous.

 

don't say that

 

if you knew you wo

 

Messy printing cut off his script.

 

I'm with you

 

you couldn't feel farther away

 

A few seconds passed.

 

what's your name

 

I'll tell you when things are better

 

why not now?

 

I'm not who I want to be

 

are you safe?

 

probably not

 

please be careful

 

you too.

______

 

Pansy leans against the wall, watching Draco pull and prod at the collar of his robes.

She rolls her eyes, and glances at the clock on the wall, before looking back at Draco. “You look a mess.”

 

“Excuse you, I look amazing. It’s not my fault I didn’t have time for finishing touches.”

 

Pansy scoffs. “Does his highness consider buttoning straight a finishing touch? Because I don’t think Slughorn is going to appreciate us being late.” Draco shoots her a glare.

 

“It’s not as if we were technically invited,” He mumbles.

 

“We’re in his house, I think we’re entitled,” She smirks, watching Draco roll his eyes and smooth back his hair, still ignoring the buttons.

 

She huffs and stalks over to him, taking his hand. “Hold still, I’ll fix it.” Pansy unbuttons his left cuff, straightening the sleeve. Her fingers move quickly over the plush fabric, but not quick enough for her to miss the curling black lines underneath the cloth. She glances up at Draco, studying his face incredulously. “No fucking way.” She moves to pull up his sleeve, and Draco flinches back.

 

“What are you doing?” he demands.

 

“Why wouldn’t you tell me, you ass? I thought I was the only one in Slytherin!”

 

Fear burned bright in his chest, and instinctually he jerked his arm away, holding it to his breast. “I don’t know what you mean.”

 

“Show me your arm.”

 

Draco flinches back again and he pulls down his sleeve, taking a step back. “No.”

 

Pansy’s eyes widen. “Draco… Who is it?”

 

“I don’t want to talk about this.” His fingers clutch the edge of his jacket protectively, and Pansy bites her lip.

 

You didn’t tell him, either.

 

Pansy takes a cautious step forward, and shrugs off her sweater to reveal the writing on her own arm, beautiful and curved, the color of the ink changing by letter or by word. Swirls and designs surround the words and flow down her arm. She’s quiet for a moment, and her heart twinges in her chest. “I… Mine is Luna.”

 

“Looney?”

 

Pansy winces at the nickname. Her fingers twitch and she tugs on her sweater again, eager to hide the messages that feel so much like a secret. A secret she wouldn’t have for much longer. She feels sick thinking about it. Being without her. Breathe. This isn’t about you. Not now.

 

“I can’t have her,” she mumbles. “Obviously. But I love her. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you.”

 

Draco clenches his teeth together. He can’t roll up his sleeve with all the scars, but he reaches down to button his sleeve and straighten his sleeve. “It’s a boy,” he whispers. “I can’t have him, either.”

 

“Do I know him?”

 

His chest burns, and he feels exposed. He looks at the floor and nods, just slightly.

 

“You can tell me, Draco. I’m not going to say anything.”

 

Tears prick at his eyes, and he feels overwhelmed. He wants to tell her, desperately. To have someone know, to understand. It will make no difference. At least she can love her. I’m supposed to hate him.

 

“Draco?”

 

His hand shakes as he crosses his arm over his chest, clutching his shoulder. “It’s Potter.” His voice trembles.

 

“Fuck,” Pansy says. “Fuck. Does he know?”

 

Draco shakes his head. “How could I tell him? He hates me. He always has.”

 

“Not Potter. Merlin, Draco, I mean the Dark Lord.”

 

His chest is tight. “No? Why…?”

 

“Haven’t you thought this through? If he finds out, if anyone in your family does, they’ll use it against him. They’ll have to.”

 

“You can’t tell anyone,” he says, panicked. “You can’t. I love him Pansy, please.”

 

“I won’t. I wouldn’t do that to you.,” She walks toward him hesitantly, wrapping her arms around him awkwardly. “I’m so sorry.”

 

“Does Luna know?”

 

Pansy bit her lip. “We’ve met a few times- she knew before I did. I’m not the kind of person who can be with her. We’re not the kind of people who can be with people like them.”

 

“It’s like a sick joke.”

 

“Maybe someday, after all of this…”

 

Draco shoots her a look. “We’ll all be alive to reason it all out?”

 

There’s pity in her eyes as she takes a step back. “The war won’t go on forever,” she mumbles.

 

“But what happens when someone wins?”

 

———

 

When it slips from his mouth it feels like the first time he spoke parseltongue, but the words are thick and syrupy like tar behind his teeth rather than the cool touch of snake skin, and his stomach suddenly feels like he's eaten something foul. "Sectumsempra!"

 

And he sees the blood.

 

Harry walks forward, wand drawn. He hears the sobbing, sees the boy's eyes close, his sleeves pulled up to reveal pale arms covered in stars and planets.

 

"No," Harry mumbles. "No." He yanks up his own sleeve, three perfect plum scars surrounded by every aspect of the Milky Way he knows, and at the crook of his arm, flowers, crude and poorly drawn. Flowers for Harry's soulmate. "I didn't know—"

 

Harry hears the splash of the water on the ground. Snape hovers over Draco, looks Harry straight in the eye, then down to his arm.

 

"Go," he commands.

 

He runs.

 

"Vulnera Sanentur," Snape hums.

 

"He wasn't supposed to know," Draco sobbed.

 

I loved him.

 

"Vulnera Sanentur."

 

And I struck him down.

 

———

 

He feels sick. He feels sick. Hefeelssick.

 

Every time he faces him, sees the hatred in the eyes that follow him across the room-

How could he tell him the truth? That the boy he thinks he loves is the one he hates? The one that mocks him in the hallways, spits words like acid, while the ones he wishes to speak rot in his mouth.

 

He loves him, and he knows he’ll love him until his ribs crack and his chest breaks open. Till the pain finally takes him, till he’s rejected, but can’t bring himself to care.

 

He just wants to be free.

 

Everything, always too much, always closing in, and he can not be what they need him to be. He’s pitiful, he knows, and for the first time he tastes a hint of bloodlust, sees the appeal of pain, the gnawing urge to make something internal, external.

 

Draco hangs over the sink, his hands cold on the ceramic. His breath comes fast, and he just wants to hurt- his eyes are hot, and the tears come for the first time in so long. He can’t breathe and

 

He’s never felt like this. Like there will be no end. Every sound comes too loud and he doesn’t want to be.

 

He was hollow and sick, and his arm felt heavy with its new marking. When was the last time you felt alive? That you made your own choice? This isn’t what living feels like. He doesn’t remember what happiness feels like. He’s touched the darkness, and it only grew.

 

It doesn’t have to be like this, he thinks. There’s one thing you can still control.

 

Draco knows he could do it. He has the means, anyone could find it in this school. He could end this, stop this, he could rip himself away from anyone’s control. He could die here, quiet, and seep into the silence as less than an echo.

 

There are noises in the doorway, and he hears the murmur of a voice.

He feels nauseous. He doesn’t hear the words that are spoken, but panic fills him. Not Harry. Not Harry. Please, please, no— But it is. Because it always is. Everything Draco is always comes back to him.

 

Something like rage fills him. The buzzing in his ears drowns everything out, and hands clench into fists at his sides, the tears still blurring his vision as Harry’s eyes meet his in the mirror. There’s an impossible look of hatred on his face, and Draco’s stomach drops. He’ll never want you. You can’t be what he needs. You never will be. He would be safer if you were gone.

 

So he strikes.

 

What else could he do?

 

The sink shatters with the return blow, Draco's bicep tattered with the pieces of porcelain that now lay scattered across the floor. Draco laughs. You'd think he would realize just who he's trying to kill when he starts bleeding too. But Harry wasn't letting up. And why would he? Says a voice. He hates you. He loves a boy that doesn't exist, a boy that can give him galaxies but not his name.

 

The blood tastes like rust, and he sees his father's arm rear back to strike him, hears the spraying water of the broken sink, and he is being eaten away— the rotting wood of the manor; the maggots on the bird— if you take away all the things you've been told you are and there's nothing left, are you still living? But he is. He's alive. Because Harry is trying to kill him, and there's fire in his eyes and blood on his face, but at least hate is something. At least Harry feels something for him, this real him.

 

And then Draco hears a spell he's never heard before.

 

"Sectumsempra!"

 

It's like no curse he's been hit with before, no combat spell: he's not just cut, he's cut open.

 

Why are you cracking open my chest when you already have what lies there? It's yours, take it, take everything.

 

His knees buckle, and he falls to the ground, his back hitting the floor. The pain is more than he has ever felt before. Harry walks toward him, his shoes splashing in the water. It would be beautiful to die by his hand, maybe the only beautiful thing I would leave behind, Draco thinks. And I would be responsible for the destruction of the savior, just like they wanted, all because he killed someone he thought he loved, someone little more than a whisper and ink. The pain sears across his chest, his fingertips trembling as they reach the water. He’s breathless, delirious with the rush, and Harry just stares.  

 

He would lift a blade to salute me, he muses. His blood dripping as mine flowed, a punishment and a reminder he doesn’t deserve. He wishes he could tell him to forget all of this. Every word he spoke, every star drawn. Every drop of blood they each spilled. He wishes he could take it all back, but now it’s all exposed, and there are heavy footprints on the ground.

 

His breath stutters with every inhale, and each sob wracks his body. This is what you wanted, isn’t it? To end, before you become their instrument? A voice says. He sees Snape’s face over him, and Harry’s near the door, contorted in something that must be shock. Not at his hand. Not his.

 

He can feel himself fading, spots of black creeping in on the edges of his vision. He sees Harry turn, and he regrets.

Chapter Text

Hey guys! 

Sorry for the false alarm, I'm approaching finals and I haven't had much time to write, but I feel bad leaving you guys on a cliffhanger when the story is just about to pick up. So I was wondering- (and I'll decide by popular vote, so please respond!) Would you guys want shorter updates, more frequently? Or should I continue at this pace? Because I always have bits written faster than whole chapters, I'm slow. 

 

Please let me know! 

I'll delete this later. 

All my love, 

-ks

 

Okay: It looks like there's a more mixed response than I thought, but the majority seem to prefer smaller updates more often, so I decided to hit up a compromise. Until I can get myself together this summer, I'll be posting smaller updates (I'm about to post the next bit before I go to bed, get ready to get Wrecked) and then I'll resume my normal, longer chapters less frequently. 

 

Thank you guys so much for the feedback! I'll let you know if anything changes. 

Chapter Text

It isn’t the pain that comes first, rather just a sense of malaise. He slips his legs over the side of the hospital cot and tries to catch his breath. Something feels wrong. Horrifically wrong— like Harry is splitting him apart again. Wrong, like the look in his eyes when he realized who Draco was.

 

The pain comes next, and he doesn't expect it. It's nothing compared so sectumsempra, but he still hisses when the blood seeps through the sleeves of his hospital gown. Fuck. I should have known. Draco stands and grabs his wand, slipping on a dressing gown and shoving it into his pocket. He shuffles out the door of the hospital wing and pads barefoot across the stone floor, his breath heavy and chest tight with the newly-healed wounds.

 

The closer he gets to Gryffindor tower, the more panic burns in his chest. His fingers shake on the banister of the staircase, and he nearly trips over the steps as his pace quickens. The blood begins to leak through the material of the dressing gown, dripping down his wrists. He’s alone. He’s alone and he’s done this, and it’s all my fault.

 

It’s only when he arrives at the tower that he realizes he has no way in.

 

He stops for a second, stares around the corridor in panic. He just wants to do something, anything, to help Harry. No one else knew. How could they?

 

Draco takes a shuddering breath and takes his wand from his pocket and casts an easy glamour. He may not be able to appear as someone else, but he can at least not appear to be himself. He walks up to the sleeping portrait and lets out a low yelp.

 

“Oh goodness!” the woman yelled.

 

“I need help! Please, open the door! I need someone to heal me!” Draco walked closer, focusing on the fear in her eyes.

 

“I can’t-“

 

Please,” he pleaded, swaying on his feet.

 

“J-Just this once,” she mumbled, swinging the door open hesitantly. “But if anything, suspicious happens, I know who you are.”

 

Draco hurried through the door and stood, shaking, in the common room. Sure, I’m in the tower, but how am I supposed to know which room he’s in?

 

Underneath the panic in his chest there’s a pull of something strange and strong, as if there was a string pulling him through the tower. He stumbles up the stairs and to the left, and into a small bathroom, jerking open the door and nearly falling through.

 

He finds Harry sitting against the bathroom wall, his shoulders hunched forward, and eyes fixed on the ground, and the world falls apart.

 

His sleeves are pushed up to his elbows, his forearms streaked with blood, a pair of scissors still held limply between his fingers.

 

Draco can’t count the gashes. The skin is ripped and torn to shreds, all of them overlapping, and blood nearly black. They look so deep- so much deeper than Draco’s own.

 

He can’t die without knowing I love him.

 

He kneels and shakes his shoulder, nails digging into the flesh. “Harry. Harry.”

 

He looks up, barely, head bobbing and eyes struggling to focus on his face. “W-Who-“

 

Draco grimaces and drops the glamour with a gesture, and Harry’s eyes grew watery, choking on his breath. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Am I dead?”

 

There’s a throb in his chest and Draco stands and rips towels off the hooks on the wall before kneeling again beside Harry. He lets out a small sob as Draco lifts his arm and wraps it in one of the towels, tight, and Harry reaches up and grabs his wrist and looking at him blearily, his breathing labored and hands sticky with blood. “I didn’t mean to. I didn’t,” he mumbles.

 

"I have to go,” Draco breathes. “I need to get help."

 

Harry shakes his head weakly, his hand tightening ever so slightly on Draco’s wrist. “Please, no.”

 

“I’m not going to let you die, Harry!”

 

Harry’s breath comes quick, making hoarse sounds in his throat as he pulls Draco down closer to him. He could see the tears in his green eyes, the way his lip trembled, and his brows furrowed. “I don’t want to be here anymore.”

 

Draco gasps a breath- his limbs are stiff and his chest hollow, everything comes to a standstill at those words. I need you here, please. I know it’s selfish, but I need to be able to dream of being in your life, someday, after all of this is over. I won’t let you do something you would always regret.

 

All we do is hurt each other, and I’m sorry-

 

but I love you too much to give you this.

 

Draco pulls his wrist from Harry’s grasp and fingers shaking, takes his hand and squeezes. “I have to get someone, okay?”

 

He pulls away and uses another towel to wrap his other arm, using the last one to wrap around them both. He takes the scissors from where they had been laid on the floor and tucks them into his pocket. Harry is still breathing hard, and his whole body shakes with quiet sobs. Before they stop. Abruptly.

 

Draco’s heart stops.

 

Harry,” he says urgently, “Harry say something.” Draco tilts his head up, finding him quiet, his eyes nearly closed. He reaches up and hits his hand against Harry’s cheek a few times, and his eyes flicker open. “You have to stay awake. Don’t go to sleep. Stay with me.”

 

“H-Hermione,” he whispers. “She can help.”

 

Draco takes a deep breath and lifts his wand from his pocket. “I’m going to cast a charm- it’ll allow you to talk to me when I leave. If you stop talking, I’ll come back.”

 

Harry nodded his head.

 

Colloquor spacium,” Draco whispers. He stands, and takes a last look back at Harry, making his way back to the common room. “Can you hear me?” He asks.

 

“Yes.”

 

It was almost like Harry was speaking just behind his ear. “Can you tell me where she is?”

 

“T-Third door on the left. Other corridor.” He breathes.

 

“Okay, keep talking.”

 

He crosses the common room, careful in the dark. He finds the second corridor before Harry speaks again.

 

Draco heard Harry gasp, and then mutter, “Nothing to say.”

 

“Have to say something.” He stretches arms out to feel his way down the hall, wincing at the stretch under the drying blood. “Anything. Please Harry.”

 

There’s a second of silence, and Draco hears Harry’s shallow breaths still stunted by sobs. He almost turns back, but then he hears something that almost sound like humming. It’s broken, and brittle, but if Draco stops to listen he can hardly make out the whispered words of a song he doesn’t know.

 

“And I, have lost your face,” Harry breathes, cut by a stuttering breath. “It slips between my fingers now.”

 

Draco passes the first and second door, and then steps past a bathroom. He’s shaky, and he can’t imagine what he’s going to say to Granger when he does find her. Harry goes silent again, and Draco takes a deep breath.

 

“Harry?”

 

“And a-all the world is gray, you took the colors with you-“ Harry chokes out a sob, and his voice dissolves into heavy breathing again.

 

“Talk to me,” Draco mumbles, and there’s a pang in my chest.

 

“I don’t want to go,” he says.

 

“You’re not going anywhere,” Draco promises, and he opens the door to the third room. He still can barely see through the darkness, but he can just barely make out the shape of one of the beds by the window.

 

“…Granger?” he whispers. He hopes most of the students are gone for the holiday. “Hermione?” He takes a step into the room and the old floorboards creak under his feet. He suddenly feels a wand digging into his ribs.

 

What are you doing here Malfoy?” Her voice carries venom, but not enough to scare him back.

 

He doesn’t give her a moment to attack, before he can tell there are tears dripping from his eyes, but he doesn’t have time to feel ashamed. “I-I think Harry tried to kill himself. Please Granger. Please.”

 

“Harry wouldn’t-“ She stops, her eyes drawn to his bloodied robe, she circles and faces him, wand still pointed at him. “Is that blood?”

 

She leans back, her face steeling and her eyes hard. Her grip tightens on her wand.

 

Draco’s hand shakes, but he reaches up and rolls up his sleeve to reveal his own bloodied arm, and under it, faintly, the stars he had drawn for Harry seemingly so long ago. “Please. You have to help him.”

 

Her arm drops an inch, and her eyes are glued to the mess of Draco’s arm. “Are you-?”

 

“His are worse than mine. Please.”

 

__________

 

Ferula,” Hermione whispers, and more bandages unravel from her wand. They sit together in relative silence, Draco's sleeves pulled up to where Hermione can help him heal the superficial cuts matching Harry's wounds. Hermione's fingers brush over the faded ink of a long-ago sketched Saturn as she wraps his deeper wounds with the bandages. Harry sleeps on bed, arms bandaged and stitched up, blood partially replenished by some spell Draco had never heard before. They had moved him back to his room after Hermione checked that his roommates were gone. Draco was still amazed with Hermione’s spellwork. What exactly was the DA learning?

 

“Thank you,” Draco says. Hermione nodded warily in response. He waited a moment before speaking again, anxious to break the silence of the room. “Did you know that he did this?”

 

“No,” she mumbles. “I didn’t.”

 

"I should have told-" Draco pauses. "This is my fault."

 

“It’s not your fault. He makes his own decisions.”

 

“Why aren’t mine as deep as his?” he asks, quietly.

 

Hermione meets his eyes, tightening the last bandage without looking. "Soul-bonds don't transfer life-threatening wounds." 

 

There’s a pang in his chest. Why couldn’t it be something beneficial? Why couldn’t it split the damage between us? Is this bond that useless to him?

 

"You should have gotten Pomfrey."

 

"He asked for you. I wasn’t going to say no, you were closer.”

 

 Draco is quiet. He stares at the boy now laying in the bed, sheets turned down under him, and palms facing up, the bandages already vaguely red under the gauze. "I don't think he wanted her. I don’t think he wanted her to know."

 

"That you're soulmates?"

 

Draco feels his stomach drop at the word. "About the cutting," he mumbles. “Not that we’re… whatever we are.”

 

"Soulmates?" says Hermione.

 

Draco shook his head. "I almost killed him," Draco breathes. “He deserves someone else.”

 

"He almost killed you," she replies. "Besides, this wasn't your fault. Harry did this to himself. You’re bonded together, for better or for worse.”

 

"Did it, because of me."

 

"Because he almost killed you,” Hermione sighs, and shakes her head. “I wish he would have told us. I saw the drawings, once or twice, but he always hid his arms.”

 

“You didn’t know?” Draco asks.

 

“He never told us he had a soulmate, let alone that it was you.”

 

He takes a breath, and he looks back at Harry, still sleeping peacefully. How can I tell her that he didn’t know? That I kept this from him for years? “Oh,” he says.

 

The room slips back into silence again, and Hermione follows his gaze, looking over at Harry. “I don’t think he’s going to want to see me when he wakes up.”

 

“You saved his life.”

 

“But a piece of himself was revealed that he didn’t want to be. He’ll want to be with someone who already knew,” She glances at him, meaningfully. “Will you stay with him?”

 

His chest is heavy, and his heartbeat quickens. “I will.”

 

“I trust you not to hurt him. You know I’m just down the hall, too, if something goes wrong.”

 

Draco nods and watches Hermione walk over to Harry and squeeze his hand before leaving the room, giving Draco one last, almost pitiful, look.

 

 

 

Harry grips his hand in his sleep, waking only to look around in panic before passing out again. Draco stares at his twitching fingers, his messy curls, his eyes finally falling to the blood-soaked bandages on his wrist, and it hurts.

 

Harry sleeps through breakfast and well into the time for lunch, and Draco sways in his chair, dark circles like bruises under each eye, still unwilling to leave him. At least he could do this for him. He had to.

 

If only I would have told him. If only I was brave.

 

Eventually, Harry’s eyes open, and he flinches back from Draco’s hand, painfully, and stares at him from below. He bends his arms, hissing at the strain, and looks away from Draco, pulling up the bedsheets over his arms. His fingers tangle in the sheets, and Draco shifts in the chair, eyes fixed on the ground.

 

“I didn’t mean to,” Harry mumbles, and Draco stands. He can feel Harry’s eyes move to the dark matted tissue on his collarbone, still fresh from Snape’s spell. “I didn’t.”

 

Draco’s chest is tight, and he feels like he’s choking on his empathy, eyes heavy and nails digging into his palms. He could have died, and he offers apologies to Draco. After being stitched back together by trembling hands, waking under the vigil of his worst enemy, he wakes, and apologizes. He turns, legs shaking, and hears the sheets rustle behind him.

 

“Please.”

 

Draco stops, and he closes his eyes, trying to resist the urge to turn back. He hurts. Everything hurts and he doesn’t want it to. No more. “Don’t do this again,” his voice breaks, hoarse in the quiet of the stale, metallic air. “There are people who need you here.”

Chapter Text

Harry arrives in the medical wing at half past six, two nights before the end of the winter holiday, and stands outside of the curtains surrounding Draco’s cot. The whole wing smells of herbal remedies with a touch Skele-Gro, making him vaguely nauseous, and he can hear the drag of the ceramic plates from dinner on the standard plastic tray inside. His arms still throbbed under his sleeves. He had hid from Hermione all day, and he had barely convinced himself to walk down just to see him.

 

It hurts a little, when he thinks of him. Thinking of his name, thinking of the things he always attached to it. Hatred. Narcissism. Weakness.

 

But enemies don’t stay with you through sleep. Villains don’t save the life they’re trying to destroy.

 

And Harry has no fucking idea what that means.

 

You aren’t him. You don’t get to be tender, or kind. You don’t draw the stars on your arms just to keep me grounded. You can’t be my safety, you can’t hold my love, I was stupid enough to have faith, and now all I have is this.

 

And questions.

 

 

“We have to talk about this.”

 

Draco’s eyes linger on the thick bandages beneath Harry’s white sleeves before darting away. “We don’t.”

 

“We do.”

 

Draco is silent, his arms folded in front of him. “Nothing changes. You weren’t supposed to know.”

 

There’s a dry heat burning at the back of his throat, and he swallows. Somehow you get to make the decision for both of us. Even when I should hold half the puzzle, when I should be able to feel in control, everything is decided for me. His nails rake at his palms as Draco refuses to meet his eyes, and his arms tense at his sides. “But I wanted to!” Harry growls. “All this time. All these years you’ve spent hiding and then torturing me out in the open, and then behind closed doors you what? Comfort the enemy?” Harry catches his breath, his hands curling into fists. “Why.”

 

Draco is silent, his eyes burning. Cowardly. Miserable. You don’t deserve him. You don’t.

 

Harry laughs bitterly and shakes his head. “I thought I could have one good thing. I should have known better. This is the cruelest thing you’ve ever done.”

 

He turns, and Draco’s hands shake, his chest aching. “Wait.”

 

“For what? I’ve been waiting,” Harry breathes.

 

There’s a weight sitting heavy on Draco’s chest, digging between his ribs to press hard into his lungs. This is what I’ve been waiting for. Not a happy ending, for the rejection from the only one I wanted. He opens his mouth, then closes it. Then opens it again. “How was I supposed to tell you?” he says.

 

Harry’s eyes widen, and his brows crease. His eyes fall away from Draco to stare at the faded diamond pattern on the curtain. For the first time in his life he sees Draco look vulnerable. “I- I’m sorry. I don’t know.”

 

They fall into silence for a moment, both of them staunchly refusing to look at the other, until someone’s footsteps echo down the room and pass Draco’s bed. Harry coughs lightly, and tucks his hands into his pockets. “I came here to thank you, not to fight,” Harry says quietly. “You saved my life.”

 

“I know Gryffindors aren’t the smartest bunch, but I thought you knew I didn’t want you dead.”

 

Harry looks up at him, his eyes boring into Draco’s. “You didn’t have to stay,” he mumbles. “I didn’t think you would.” Nerves flutter in his stomach, and he can feel his ears turning red.

 

“I didn’t want a repeat performance,” he says, but the reality is I didn’t want you waking up alone.

 

Harry presses his lips together and stares at him meaningfully. “There won’t be one.”

 

They lapse into silence again, and Harry shuffles toward the bed slowly. Draco can feel his eyes on the angry raised flesh over his collarbone, and he feels uncharacteristically exposed. “Does it hurt?” Harry asks.

 

Draco looks at him skeptically and his eyes narrow. “Being gutted doesn’t exactly tickle, Potter,” he mumbles. “But no, since Pomfrey healed me it mostly just itches.”

 

“And the scarring?”

 

Draco drops his eyes dug his nails into his thigh under the sheets. “Dark magic leaves scars.” Not exactly a lie, but not the truth either. It could still be healed- If he wanted it to be.

 

“I’m sorry,” Harry says hoarsely. “I didn’t mean to do this.”

 

You cast the spell, Potter,” Draco replies, feeling the first stirs of anger in his stomach. 

 

“I didn’t know what it did.”

 

“You cast a spell you didn’t know the effect of?”

 

Harry is silent, and he stares at his hands, fiddling with his fingers. “I found it in a potions’ book. I didn’t think, I was just so angry.”

 

“That was fucking stupid.”

 

He watches Harry fidget under his gaze, but his own hands loosen their grasp on his thighs and he sighs. It would be easier if he had just killed me. If this wasn’t something we had to face together. It should be a relief, but instead it terrifies him. If there’s even the slightest chance I could have this, I’m not sure I could say no.

 

“If I had known…” Harry trails off, and glances at the ground. He looks guilty, but there’s a hint of something dry and hot burning into Draco's chest.

 

“I’m still the same person,” he says, carefully. “Just because you’re seeing me differently doesn’t mean I’m actually any different.”

 

“I just— I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how you can be both and none and…” Harry trails off again and takes a breath. “I just don’t know what we do now.”

 

Draco feels his eyes beginning to sting, and he bites the inside of his cheek. Nothing. Nothing, because I’m in love with you and that makes this dangerous- I want you but I don’t deserve you and I will never be the person you need me to be. “There isn’t a ‘we’, Potter. There can’t be.”

 

Harry’s palms clench and unclench at his sides, and his shoulders tense. He’s quiet for a moment, and then softly, under his breath he whispers, “You called me Harry, that night.”

 

Draco’s heart aches, the words feel like they’re opening his wounds again. That night I couldn’t be anyone but myself. You were only the you from my head, and you were fading, fading, fading, and I couldn’t lose you and Harry I wish you could understand-

 

“I don’t want this to mean nothing,” Harry mumbles. “I want to know you.”

 

You don’t want to know me, and you can’t. We don’t get this. Because of him. Because of me. “Pomfrey will be making her next set of rounds soon,” he says.

 

Harry stares at him, his face expressionless. “Fine.”

 

Draco watches as he ducks between the curtains and listens to his heavy steps echo across the tile of the floor. His hands smooth repetitively across the sheets, and his eyes are blurry. The cheap cloth is rough on his skin, and his head is just. So. Loud. And it’s better this way, he’s sure. To lose him before he really knows what having him would be like.

 

To break this before Harry can do the breaking.

 

—————

 

 

Deny deny deny.

 

It’s all he does now.

 

Every moment of his life is another fucking reminder that he is the chosen one, meant to change this world tainted by darkest forces, and the boy he loves is one of them. A slave to one of them. He is overcome and empty and he was stupid enough to think that he could have this one thing, untouched by evil, safe, and free of everything he’s grown to hate so much.

 

And that boy. The boy he can’t have, rotted and filled with intentions not his own, who hid this from him for years, years after he knew who Harry was-

 

That boy doesn’t want him. He never has. He never will.

He loves him. He’s known it for so long- but this should change things. And yet.

 

And yet.

 

Who can map the anatomy of the human heart? He can take pity from anyone but him. He’s comforted through the night by the person he tried to kill. Comforted, by the person who saved his life, who took every wound Harry made with his own hands, harm he just couldn’t help, and god, how could he do that to him? How could he have hurt him like that, even after knowing exactly what happened on the other side of it?

 

Their pasts will never just be. There has been too much blood spilled between them, too little distance between comfort and harm.

 

They will always be covered in each other’s scars.

 

The will always have scars caused by each other.

 

—————

 

 

He’s made his decision. They will never be whole. It’s selfish, he knows, but he can’t help it.Harry may be a part of him, the echo of lost things, of what was and what could be, but if he let this change him, let this take every part of who he was, who would he be? He couldn’t give up everything, after the lives lost and the scars he bore. Every secret, every wound would not come to this. It couldn’t.

 

But this. The future he thought they could have had. Them, together, an echo of domesticity that poisons his dreams, anything they could be always plagued by what they were.

 

Enemies.

 

Maybe he couldn’t deny it. Maybe his skin would always betray him. But it didn’t change that he had hurt Harry first, and there was no way to reverse it. There was no other way, no other choice. Not that he would have chosen Draco if he had one.

 

All of this

 

would come to an end.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

It’s dark in the room when he finally tries to write, just scribbles on his thigh, his arms still wrapped tight with bandages. He doesn't want to. He's a bother/liar/fuckinguseless/a worthless husk of a/notgoodenoughnotwellenoughnot

 

He needs someone. He's not safe and he knows it. The night before still looms in his mind, a reminder that today could never have come at all.

 

He’s dizzy again, and when he leans down to roll up his boxers, he sees spots. There’s a familiar faintness in his limbs he hasn’t felt since his years at the Dursley’s, the kind of hunger that cramps instead of gnaws- the difference now is that he can’t bring himself to care, but he knows he should.  

 

I need you

 

His hand stills. He doesn’t know what to write. I’ve loved you for so long. And now I’ve ruined everything, we’ve ruined each other before we even had a chance.

sorry, he adds, because he is.

 

He’s never felt such a need for another person- has never loved someone before knowing them. I know I’m selfish, he thinks, but I need to know you’re still listening. Please be listening. It hurts, he’s been hollowed out and his insides ache, something feels absent. Something feels wrong.

 

are you okay?

 

The script is small and written carefully, and it feels like a sigh of relief. His hand shakes, fingers tightening around the quill. He didn’t expect an answer; not after everything. Not after what he had done.

 

no

 

are you safe?

 

He writes I'm sorry, because he doesn't know anything better to say.

 

His chest aches, honesty feels like rocks in his stomach. You answer me, as if I haven’t left you bleeding out before. Offer safety when I offer harm. Who am I when I play the villain, and you sit beside me in the dark. I'm sorry I'm so weak. I'm sorry I can't be what they need me to be. It's too much, it's all too much.

 

tell me what to do

 

Stay, Harry thinks, but he can’t ask for that.

 

I don’t know

 

Have you eaten?

 

 

 

I’ll leave it outside, he writes, but his fingers itch to know his safety, anxiety growing in the back of his throat like vines. He places the tray on the ground in front of the door, but by the time he rises, their eyes meet, fern green- somehow, he always forgets. His eyes drop and immediately dart to where he can see the edges of the wrappings under the sleeves of his light shirt. His hair is mussed and flat, as if he had just woken up, his eyes still heavy with sleep. Did he want to see me? He thinks, and Harry bites his lip, and all at once Draco is struck by the need to know him. There is a space we do not cross, something solid, the dream of a life worth living. Everything is still and there’s a ringing in his ears.

“You c-” Harry mumbles, and Draco jolts back as fear bleeds into his chest, his eyes flashing to the door. Before he can even take a step Harry catches his wrist, and Merlin, it burns where he touches him. “Wait.” he whispers, and Draco’s hand trembles in his grasp. I can’t pretend not to love him, I can’t stay here and pretend he can ever know.

Harry’s stomach drops, and the moment seems to stretch as he processes the panic in Draco’s eyes- and yet.

And yet.

His heart is glass already broken, he is a weapon and the damage he will destroy himself destroying the other. But oh, maybe he couldn’t love the wreckage, but maybe someone else would.

He sees the edges of the bandages on Draco’s wrists and he drops his arm almost as an afterthought.

“Oh fuck, I-“ Harry stops and takes a step back, his eyes widening in clear panic.

Draco swallows. “It’s okay.”

“I didn’t think, I swear. I just wanted to- I forgot-“

“Potter,” he says. “It’s fine. I promise.”

Harry shakes his head and wrings his hands. His eyes are like bruises on his face, and his cheeks are too sharp, too white. There’s a silence for a moment, and his hands twitch at the sides.

“I don’t know how to help you,” Draco mumbles, and his eyes burn. But I want to. I want to. Please. He stares at the floor, hears the ticking of the common room clock and the wind moving through the hall. “I don’t know if you want me to try.”

There’s a hand on his arm, pulling him toward the doorway, and Harry’s fingers press into his arm, gently. Draco looks up at him, and Harry doesn’t meet his eyes. “What are you doing?” Draco mutters.

Harry is quiet, and his fingers loosen before they tighten again. “Don’t make me say it,” he says, low.

His heart jumps in his chest, and he lifts his other hand to rest lightly on Harry’s arm, preparing to push him away. “Harry-?” He swallows hard at the slip. He can’t keep this up, pretending to be familiar, pretending that this would ever be okay. That they could have this.

But he’s asking. But he needs someone, and right now that person could be you. And how could you-

“Stay.”

Draco drops his arm and his teeth worry his lips. Harry looks so vulnerable, like he could shatter, as if asking this took everything, has ripped off all the scabs and what’s left is raw- you shouldn’t you can’t it’ll just make it worse-

But there’s a voice behind it, small, that he can’t ignore.

He needs you. For once for once foronceforoncefor

He feels himself nod. He takes a tentative step into the room and shuts the door.

 

 

Harry wakes him in the night, gasping someone’s name under his breath as his fingers claw at the sheets, his shirt stuck to his chest. He’s delirious and panicked, and his breath wheezes as he inhales. Draco is curled up on the floor in an extra quilt and a throw pillow from the couch. In the back of his head something vibrates with something entirely wrong. There’s a feeling of malaise that’s slipped under his warming charms and sunk into his chest, and last time he felt it- last time-

He scrambles up from the floor and leans over the bed, the frame digging into his stomach, and wraps Harry in his arms before he can consider the consequences. His fingers trail Harry’s arm and smooths circles on his shoulder. Harry stifles a sob, and turns onto his side, hands releasing the sheets in favor of clutching Draco’s shirt, his face shoved into the bed. And- why does this hurt so much?

There are still sharp stuttered sounds being choked into the mattress, and Harry’s fingers pull his shirt closer and closer. He flips over away from Draco, still holding on to his shirt, and pushes his other hand roughly into his own hair, twisting and pulling. There’s a still moment, and nothing but Harry’s heavy breaths pressed into the mattress. His fingers curl tighter into the material of Draco’s shirt, and pull once again. Draco huffs, and tries not to think about how terribly stretched this shirt is going to be; and how he was going to need to send out for more black t-shirts next time he wrote home.

As soon as Draco moves to pull himself up onto the bed Harry releases his shirt and tucks his arm beside him gingerly, careful of his wounds. Draco bangs his knee against the bedpost and hisses through his teeth, but he carefully lowers himself into the bed with a sigh and stays a respectable distance back from the other boy, pushing his feet under the throw blanket at the bottom of the bed instead of shoving beneath the covers. It’s fine for a moment, but some part of the malaise remains in his chest, tar-black and sticky. When he glances over at Harry he sees how small he’s made himself, hands tucked together flat against his chest and shoulders curled over like old parchment.

He can feel is breath, hot on his neck, and the faint tickle of one of his curls…

Oh Merlin, what the fuck am I doing? Harry’s breath is hot on his neck, and one of his curls is tickling his cheek. His hands are clawing at the front of his shirt again, and where his fingers press there’s a pang in his chest. He wants this. Fuck does he want this. If they weren’t fated to be enemies- if he could love Harry without risking his life- if this wouldn’t shatter him and wound Harry when the pieces fell.

If they weren’t both born of blood, raised in it.

He allows himself to run his fingers through Harry’s hair gently, the same way his mother would on feverish nights when they huddled in fear a creature downstairs that had to be left unnamed. Now, they stood in his service. Harry’s hands tense on his chest and then relax; he makes a small involuntary noise in the back of his throat and presses his cold nose deeper into the crook of Draco’s neck. How can everything be broken before we ever begun? Ink and blood and everything I wish I could give but never had to begin with.

Harry’s head buzzes. His thoughts are on each breath, inhaling the stale dry winter air of the castle with an echoing of numbers, counting the moments till he tries to exhale through the weight of this endless fucking void of guilt the feeling of locusts swarming behind my eyes and you breathing slow beside me and I     fall          apart

“It’s okay,” Draco mumbles, that’s what you’re supposed to say, right?

Harry’s breathing calms eventually and his arms find a way to uncomfortably loop around Draco’s neck. It feels like sleeping next to a furnace. A furnace with a very cold nose.

Even with the heat, Draco can’t find the will to pull away.  

 

He wakes around four in the morning to Harry pushing him off the bed accompanied by the sheets, and really that’s fine, because while he catches himself on the edge of the mattress just before he falls, he realizes exactly what he’s done. Sleeping with the enemy. Literally. Not even in the fun way. He spent the night cuddling Harry Potter and now he can float back down to earth and admit the mistake he’s made- Merlin, what the fuck am I supposed to do now?

He slips the rest of the way out of bed, kicking off the sheets still tangled around his sheets. Harry’s face is buried between the pillows, his grey shirt pushed up to his chest. Dark hair trails from his stomach down to the waistband of his boxers-

Draco looks away. Because absolutely not, no Fucking way. If he even takes a peek at the pictures budging against the edge of his conscious he knows there won’t be any turning back. So, no.

Harry stirs on the bed and Draco’s ears go pink. I can’t deal with this now. He grabs his wand from the windowsill, flicks the blanket on the floor into the closet, and hustles through the doorway, closing the door behind him with a muffling charm.

__________

 

“Why would you leave the medical wing, Draco?”

He's slept maybe an additional hour from the time he spent with Harry but had been back in his cot for several. Of course Snape had known he had been gone anyway. Somehow. "Because I didn't need to stay. I feel fine and I wanted to get back to work," he lies.

"You've left your bed two nights now, and you look exhausted. If you're not here and not in the dungeon, then where have you been?" Snape frowns, tapping his fingers on his bag.

“I came back, didn’t I?” he mumbles.

Snape eyes him wearily but drops the issue for the moment, moving to take a small green bottle from his bag and place it on the table beside his cot. “I brought you dittany. For your wounds.”

Draco glances away from him, watching a second-year Hufflepuff (Eli, was it?) poke at a strange colored spot on his arm that shifts from blue to bright pink at each touch. Draco presses his nails into his palms and bites the inside of his cheek. “I don’t want it,” he says flatly.

“I understand you're already healed, but the dittany will help with the scarring."

Draco is quiet, still watching the boy as he jerks violently and suddenly heaves a slug onto the bedspread. His nose wrinkles, but he still refuses to turn back to meet Snape's eyes. He's always had the feeling that Snape could see right through him, any lie he might try to pass off. Now more than ever. The Dark Lord's right hand, sitting right at his bedside.

He sees Snape's jaw set out of the corner of his eye, in the same way it does when Harry turns a warming draught into an instant-darkness powder, somehow not noticing the color change and stirring his cauldron anyway, all while Granger was in the lavatory. Snape's lip curls and sets the bottle on the corner of his side table, turned so the label clearly faces Draco. ESSENCE of DITTANY, for wounds, weak spots, and worries!

Snape stands and shoves the chair back, robes billowing. He turns, and Draco sighs under his breath. "Thank you," he says, rather loudly. Snape pauses, and Draco squeezes his eyes shut. "For healing me."

Draco opens his eyes and sees Snape nod shortly. "Since you're feeling so well, I'd like two feet on the process of brewing pepper-up potion before noon, where you'll take the practicum with the rest of the class."

He struggles not to roll his eyes and instead closes them. "Of course, professor."

Snape stares at him for a moment more before walking quickly out of the room.

 

________________

 

"You're following me," he says plainly.

"Yes. Yes I am."

Draco swallowed, blinking past the visions of the last time this happened- of the blood, the water, the white lightandpainohfuckohfuckthatpain.

He bites the inside of his cheek, hard, and forces himself to stare back at Harry.

His face is still pale and his eyes dark, but his hair is wet, hopefully meaning a shower. He seems better, if only a little bit. The air is stale between them, and for the hundredth time today he wishes he had left a note for Harry this morning. He looks like he wants to say something, needs to say something- instead, he fiddles with the edges of his sleeves.

"Are you okay?" Draco says carefully.

Harry stares at the ground and speaks straight to the floor. "I don't want your pity."

"When-" he starts, and then bites his tongue. Pity? Fucking pity? Really?

"Did you think you could just- just cuddle up to me and then hand me over-"

"What the fuck are you getting at?" Draco sneers. "You think this was my plan?"

"You came out of hiding just as I was a fucking mess and-"

"I didn't want you to know," he snarls. His heart pounds in his chest and fuck, he already hates where this is going- "If you hadn't tried to kill me-"

"I spent years waiting for the person on the other side. I fucking- I loved him- and you- you-"

"Well sadly, you're fucking stuck with me till you murder me properly, oh yes, thank Merlin I have the Chosen One on my arm, this was my plan all-"

"I wanted to be loved! I wanted to be safe," Harry says breathlessly. "I deserve that much." Guilt crawls into his chest, pushing against his lungs to make room for itself. His mouth tastes foul.

Draco's skin is burning, his chest compressed, and breath tangled and he just- he just- "I did it to protect you, you fucking bastard!" he yells. "I didn't tell you because I wanted you to be safe! Do you think I wanted this? For you to know I was someone you already hate? Don't you dare tell me I don't care, I fucking wanted you- but I'm not safe, I know it's such a stretch to think I might actually care for someone because you know me so fucking well-"

"When did I have the chance? You never gave me time to-"

"I saved your life! And when you wanted to throw all that away, I did it again." He claws at his arm absentmindedly, and his body shakes with each breath. "Why else would I… why would I…" he glances down at his arm and pulls his hand back cautiously. His heart is racing, burning in his chest, and Merlin, this feels so wrong.

Harry takes an unsteady step back and sags against the wall. "You left," he says.

There's silence for a moment, strung between them with the thinnest string. Taught- so tight, so ready to break.

"I don't know what you want me to say," Draco breathes. "We don't get to have this."

"Why?"

Because you're you. Because you're male. Because everyone has a plan for me and you're not a part of it unless you're dead. He can't breathe. His nails dig into his palms and draw blood. He wonders if Harry can feel it.

He shakes his head and pushes past Harry and into the hallway, slamming the door behind him.

Chapter Text

He needs to a place to hide. He needs a place to hide because the snow will hide their footprints and the wards in the forest are down for recasting, and he sees it- he's only seen it once before- dark and gilded and tall… he never thought he'd see it again… thought it would never open- but the knob still turns. The room is small, bright, and comfortable. Snow falls outside a large window in the back of the room, and a large fireplace gleams against it, casting his reflection on the glass. A heavy dark wood chair with worn emerald cushions sat against the wall by the fire, across from a large sun bed in the same color. The smell of jasmine floats about the room- and when he lifts the before-unseen mug from a table by the door he finds the source, and it's just right.

Draco gnaws at his lip and fidgets, muttering a stunted 'thank you' under his breath. The room doesn't respond, naturally, so he settles into the chair and sips his tea. He wishes he had brought his book, or perhaps a foot of parchment so he could finish his analysis of transanimal transfiguration processes for McGonagall, but when he turns to look out the window, he sees a small bookshelf off to the side, stuffed full of paperback novels. He glances at the door worriedly, remembering the room's purpose, and hexes the doorway for good measure. No one should be able to get in but himself, but he doesn't want to take chances, especially when the stakes are so high.

The shelf is filled with beaten books that he can only guess are muggle, attractive volumes like How to Love an Extraterrestrial in 10 Days, Recipe for Temptation, and Wrong to Need You. He shies away from the shirtless men and fainting damsels and squats down to look at the bottom shelf. Children of the Void, The Dick Ripper, and The Gods Hate Kansas, are some of his favorites, all with devils, spaceships, or- he's not sure if those are supposed to be planets- but that's his best guess. He frowns and stands again, and ends up taking Kidnapped by the Pirate, because at least it involves two men- he wasn't feeling all that interested in the incredibly low-cut dresses on the others, or any series of novels with a "Dick Ripper".

He glances down at the novel and snorts, but he retreats to his chair. Curling up with his lanky knees pressed against his chest and his tea balanced between his feet, he opens his book and settles into what's sure to be an incredibly disheartening experience.

As he flips through the novel he sinks further into his chair, his cheeks warming just slightly. He's no blushing bride, but the captain was so vivid… and then that thing… with the rope… He shifts in his chair, trying to ignore the warmth in his cheeks.

A few seconds later, the door rattles, and he jumps up from his chair and grabs his wand, Tell me this isn't a trap. I'm such a bloody idiot. The door rattles open and as soon as the figure takes a step-

"Potter?!" he shouts, just as Harry's shoulder is hit with a strong Whipping Hex. "What the fuck are you doing here?"

Harry groans from the ground, clutching his chest, and Draco approaches cautiously, readying for his reaction. "I come here to think you poncy git!" he yells. "Why are you here?"

Draco clenches his teeth and watches him roll about on the floor, his arms crossed. After a moment or two, Harry sits up, hands shaking to hold himself steady. Draco sighs, offers a hand, and yanks him up from the floor.

Harry hisses as he runs his fingers over the raised skin at his shoulder, the brush of them calming the skin beneath. "Lucky for you that the bond doesn't transfer magical wounds, huh?" Harry snorts. Draco's face falls and his hands fall to twist at his sides, tense with the burning thought of sectumsempra still fresh in his mind. The new scars on his chest itch and he tries to steel himself. His face goes blank, but he's too late, Harry's frowning at him. "What's-" There's a long moment and Harry bites his lip. "Right, whoops."

"Whoops?" Draco says.

"Well I wasn't trying to-"

Draco sighs and leans down to pick up his book from the floor. "Shut up Potter." He settles down in his chair again, and Potter glances around the room.

"Nice place you got here," he says awkwardly.

"I swear to Merlin, I'll hex you again."

Harry walks by him and Draco eyes him leerily. He can't ask him to leave, it'll just cause a fight and it could draw attention. Better to just stay quiet, he thinks. Harry pauses by the fireplace and turns back to look at him and Draco immediately looks back down at his book.

"Draco," he says.

His chest warms and the air seems thin. He wants to say he hates the sound of his name from Harry's mouth. He really, really wants to.

"What the fuck are you reading?"

Draco's eyes dart up to meet Harry's and then back down at his book. "It's no business of yours!"

"That's one of the books from the shelf isn't it?" Harry grins wildly and laughs. "I can't believe you're still reading! You must have noticed-"

Draco's face flushes, and his hands fiddle with the ratty edge of the book. "I'll have you know the character development is very compelling! The author clearly has a handle on Nathaniel's character and he-"

"He sucks the cock of someone twice his age?" Harry says flatly. He watches Draco's face turn nearly purple and stifles a laugh.

"What I read is of no concern to-" Draco stops. "Merlin, then you've read it too!"

Harry's eyes widen, and he swallows. "I've got to have hobbies, don't I?"

Draco watches Harry's cheeks flush, and he turns back to the desk. There's a light clack on the table and looks over to see a ruler on the table. "Could you throw that to me?" Harry asks.

"Why can't you just Accio it?"

"Because my wand is in my bag somewhere."

Draco rolls his eyes. "Well I'm tied up at the moment," Draco huffs. "You'll just have to get it yourself."

"Kinky," Harry says.

"No," Draco sputters.

Harry looks up from his parchment and grins at him through his reflection in the window. When he finally lifts his quill again, red ink, gaudy, Draco thinks shortly, and it bleeds heavily into the page, smearing his words. "Fuck," he says. He vanishes the quill with a flick of his hand, fuck I hate him, does he even realize what he just did? and begins to root through his bag for something, even though he could really just summon it. Sure, Draco could tell him, but instead he lifts his wand from his belt into the air and mumbles Accio under his breath. The quill flies across the room and into his lifted hand, whipping Harry across the face on its way.

"Hey!"

He looks back down at his book with a slight smile and stares intently at the page, trying to find some logical reason to still be reading it when he could probably borrow some parchment from Harry to do his work.

Just as he turns the page and Nathaniel climbs into the captain's lap; there's a light thump on the table in front of him and when he looks up he sees the room has provided a large basket of treacle tarts and cranberry scones. When he takes one it's still warm, and the edges are crisp. Who knew the Room of Requirement was such a great cook?

Harry's still hunched over the desk across the room, his wrinkly school robe balled up haphazardly on the floor, and Draco decides he has no obligation to tell him that there's food here. Serves him right, really, if he's going to ask such an oaf. He lies back in his chair and has just opened the book again when he sees the glimmer of a warming charm falling over the basket. He sighs and picks up his cup, taking a sip to find his tea's gone cold. "Rude," he mumbles.

"What?"

Draco sighs. "Food," He takes a large bite of his scone and curls his knees up in front of him. Harry stands, kicks off his shoes, and pads across the floor to stand beside his chair. He immediately snatches up a treacle tart and stuffs it in his mouth.

He moans and swallows. "I love treacle tarts."

How the fuck can he make something so stupid sound obscene?

He sinks further into the chair and rolls his eyes, and Harry slumps onto the couch opposite. "Aren't you supposed to be mad at me?" Draco mumbles, and pulls his sweater across his chest. The fire crackles between them and a log shifts and falls.

"I was," he admits.

Draco huffs a laugh and brings his book closer to his face. "I suppose the great kindness and compassion of the Chosen One even applies to-"

"Stop."

There's a note of desperation in his voice and guilt grows in Draco's chest. He chews at the inside of his cheek and places his scone on the arm of the chair, bringing the book to rest in his lap. Silence stretches between them and Draco shoves his feet between the chair cushions.

"You said-"

"I know what I said."

Draco stares out the window and watches the snow drifting slowly down from the sky blatantly ignoring the green eyes burning a hole through the side of his head.

"And you meant it." It's not a question.

A string tightens in his chest. Something that he can't allow to be longing.

"Leave it alone," he says.

"Draco," Harry mumbles, and his stomach curls. You can't say my name like that, not while you're so close. Not when I can feel you pulling.

He hears Harry stand and walk over to him, the dull creaking of the floor under his feet, coming to a stop in front of him.

"Please."

Draco drags his eyes up off his chest and meets Harry's eyes and longinglonging longing and the feeling of coming up from underwater, of being held, of the kind of earth that bleeds into bones. His eyes flick away and panic curls in his lungs. "Fuck," he says. He turns suddenly and sits upright in the chair and a hand touches his shoulder, just barely, and he stands.

"Don't," he huffs. He turns to him, his eyes still low. "Just stop."

We can't have this we can't do this you're going to tear me apart.

 

 

Chapter Text

Luna's Moodboard

 

Luna's Moodboard

 

Pansy's Moodboard 

 

Pansy Moodboard

 

Draco's Moodboard 

 

Draco Moodboard

 

 

 

 

 

Harry's Moodboard, includes some blood, TW! 

 

Harry Moodboard

Chapter Text

"Ok," he says. "Ok."

 

Harry's hand rests gently on the back of his shoulders and guides him down on the couch. Fucking Merlin I lied- I'm not ready for this- having Potter fucking loom over me like some- His panic is punctuated with the shake of the couch as Harry slumps down beside him. He opens his book, leans into the cushion, shoulder barely brushing Draco's side. He opens his book and Draco's jaw drops just slightly, mimicking the motion and squirming away.

 

"What," he says suddenly.

 

Harry hums and flips the page, shrugging and leaning toward him. "What did you think was going to happen?"

 

Draco sucks in a deep breath and tries not to think that.

 

Harry shifts against him again, closer this time, and lowers his head almost to Draco's shoulder hesitantly. "It's just tight. Don't you feel it?"

 

Draco takes a breath and a knot unties in his chest, the sense of unease fades from under his ribs, filled with warmth. "Oh," he mumbles. Harry yawns and repositions his book. How is he so calm? I think I'm shaking. Merlin's balls, can he feel it?

 

After a few minutes of pretending to read his textbook Harry sits up, his shoulder still pressed against Draco's, and eyes scanning his face.

 

"What," Draco mumbles. He's really rather busy after all, with the stupid romance novel, and all that.

 

Harry's hand slides up to the back of Draco's neck and his fingers push into his hair. Goosebumps raise on his neck and down his arms.

 

"Quit."

 

Harry mumbles something under his breath and draws back, resolving to stare at him creepily as he reads, chin resting in his hand. Eventually, Draco closes the book, dogearing the page and frowning at him.

 

"What do you want, Potter? I came here to be alone."

 

Harry stares at him wearily, sitting up straight and flicking his eyes to his lips. He can't be- no. There's no fucking way.

 

Harry leans forward just as Draco leans back, bracing his hand against his chest. "Think about what you're doing for a minute."

 

"Draco-"

 

“No. How can we do this when--”

 

“Just pretend,” He shakes his head and takes Draco's arm. “It doesn’t matter. I don’t care.”

 

“I can’t pretend,” Draco spits.

 

Harry’s fingers tug at the fabric of Draco's robe, his eyes dark and hair mussed. “I don’t care.”

 

Panic spreads through Draco’s chest, and he gasps a breath. “I didn’t even tell you-- we could have never even--“

 

Harry presses his forehead against Draco’s, and his fingers move to dig into his waist in one movement. “Just let me have this. For now.” His other hand is shaking at Draco’s side. “Just-“

 

He presses his lips to Draco’s, clumsy and dry, standing on the balls of his feet to cross the remaining distance between them. Draco chokes a breath. I don’t deserve this I can’t do this I can’t I can’t I can’t I can’t

 

Harry pulls back, but his fingers tighten in the fabric, his eyes are glazed, his breath hot, and no no no no no no no no nononono

 

Please,” he breathes.

 

Panic burns into Draco’s stomach and becomes something entirely new. He squeezes his eyes shut and the treacle tart on Harry's breath just smells sweeter. His pulse echoes in his ears, deafening. He's wanted this for so long. If he could just have him- just once- could he-

 

Draco brings a hand up to Harry’s chest, and his fingers shake as he digs them into the fabric. “Fuck,” he mumbles, and his voice wavers. He can only hear their breathing now, loud in spite of the low buzzing in his ears. “If we do this. If we- I don’t think I can-“ leave/run/be without/lie, anymore.

 

“Draco,” he mumbles.

 

“Don’t," he says, but he can't bring himself to pull away.

 

His voice is sharp, but his hands still trembles on Harry’s chest. At some point Harry's wandered up to rest at the nape of his neck, goosebumps spreading from where he plays with Draco's now too-long hair gently. His fingers are warm, and something in his chest hums contentedly. His head is swimming and he leans into Harry, feels a familiar comfort stir. Everything is less. Everything is more.

 

His eyes are wet, but there are no tears. Breath on his lips, warm then cold then-

 

Harry kisses like he’s saying goodbye. His lips tremble when they part, and his fingers stroke his hair. Draco can smell broomstick wax on his hands as he brings one up to cup his face. He's \ motionless as Harry moves against him, his breath shaking with every press. When Harry pulls back Draco shoves his nose into the crook of Harry’s neck and shivers. If I meet his eyes I don't know what I'll see there, I'm scared, I'm sorry, for everything- I'd give up everything just to have this. Harry’s breath shutters and his arms tighten around Draco's waist. Someone is speaking outside in the hallway, and Draco can see snow piling up on the windowsill behind Harry's shoulder. The smell of old books and low-burning fire is baked into Harry's clothes, and everything just-

 

“Hurts,” Harry breathes, “Doesn’t it? When we just keep circling each other.”

 

It aches, he wants to say. This hollowness. The space where you're meant to be.

 

Draco makes a noncommittal sound and pulls away from him he shifts almost out of Harry's arms, his fingers still twisted into the fabric desperately.

 

"Draco," Harry says.

 

Draco's cheeks feel hot despite the chill in the room, and he drops his eyes to the floor. He wants to lean into Harry's arms. He wants him to keep the cold at bay.

 

"Draco, just-" His hand lifts from his waist and wraps loosely around Draco's wrist and tugs him gently forward. He takes a step back into the doorway, and Draco follows shakily.

 

I can't it's too much I don't deserve you don't deserve this please don't put your hands on me when we both know they can't stay.

  

Harry pulls again and Draco stumbles forward. Everything burns. He feels tied to Harry, laced together. Inevitable. He brings a hand up to his chest tentatively, holding the fabric and leaning in to press a kiss to the corner of his mouth. There’s a twinge in his chest and Harry shifts to kiss him on the lips they move against one another carefully, as if they could break at any second.

 

Everything is still, and he’s waiting for Harry to draw back. His lips press promises gently at the corners of Draco's mouth, like he's something fragile, like he's something good, like he's something important. A log collapses into the fire and Draco's fingers clench on Harry's shoulder, just as he startles back.

 

"I- I love you," Harry mumbles.

 

"No," Draco says. "No, you don't."

 

 

 

 

Later, he hunches in the dormitory bathroom, doors locked and charmed with a bottle of ink balanced between the faucets. This can't happen again, he writes, pressing the quill much too hard into his arm.

 

why

 

Draco doesn't answer. Can't. The panic still coils in his stomach, burning, and his chest won't expand. He drops the quill on to the counter and his fingers shake as he holds the ledge of the sink tight in his hand, trying to do something, anything- to ground himself. Someone shuffles outside the bathroom, brings their fist against the locked door.

 

"Busy," he calls.

 

You know why, he writes.

 

My family name shackled me to others before I was born, a killer and a companion. One of us will be dead by the end of this, and I want it to me. Because I love you, and I can't stop.

 

 

 

-------------------------------------

 

I love you, she writes, and she means it. She's sure this time.

 

I know, Luna says.

 

can we meet, she asks. please

 

There's nothing for a moment, and Pansy's stomach rolls and nearly drops. She needs this, needs Luna more than she ever thought possible. She has so many questions- does she know about Harry and Draco? Could she help them? Could they help them, and would that mean that they could be together, too? She misses the faint smell of herbs in Luna's hair, the enchanted flowers that were always in bloom, the gold flecks on her eyelids, her hair tangled over her shoulders, looping and twisting like the seaweed washed up on the shore.

 

the dock, she writes finally, when the sky turns red.

 

She takes a breath, and it's almost full this time. It still stutters in her chest, suppressed by the hummingbird flutter of another pulse in her chest.

 

 

 

 

Luna has her hands cupped together in her lap, staring out across the lake at the stillness and the fading light bleeding over the water.

 

"Hello," she says quietly. "There are fireflies out tonight."

 

Pansy fidgets, her arms stick-straight at her sides. "Fireflies?"

 

Luna smiles and glances down at her hands. "Just wait."

 

Pansy shifts her weight between her feet, trying to keep the cold at bay. Luna's hands open slowly, and Pansy watches the wings of a small black creature flutter inside, sparks flickering off the wings and into Luna's hand. "Poor thing," she says. "Must have flown right through the snow. "

 

Her shoulders draw tight behind her, and she shifts her schoolbag on her arm. What am I waiting for? she thinks, but at the same time, she's calmer than she's been in weeks. The pull between them eases, just standing close to Luna. Her arm prickles for a moment before warmth stretches over her. She shivers and feels the tug of Luna's magic drawing her toward the ground. She slinks down, still too far away for Luna to touch, and wraps her arms around her knees.

 

"How are you?" Luna asks.

 

"I'm good," she replies. Luna opens her hands and shakes the firefly onto a leaf, still smiling wistfully across the lake. She hums and Pansy's fingers tremble.

 

"Are you?"

 

Pansy's eyes burn and she swallows hard. The landscape blurs like she's underwater, stealing the breath from her lungs. "Yes."

 

"Focillo," Luna whispers. The warmth seeps over them, and Luna draws patterns in the sand between their legs.

 

Tears slip from her eyes and she wipes them away, cursing under her breath and pulling her knees closer to her. "There's a lot. There's been a lot."

 

The wind blows harsh against their faces, but the warming charm does its job, the trees sway and the willow on the hill creaks over the sound of the animals in the brush. How can I ask you to help someone I hate? I want him to be happy, no matter who's on the other side.

 

"It's Draco," she says, hesitant. "And-- it's Harry."

 

"I suspected," says Luna. Pansy worries her lip and Luna's hands come back to rest in her lap. "They'd be good for each other, if either of them let it happen."

 

"Maybe."

 

"Does he love Harry?"

 

Pansy chokes on a laugh, eyes still stinging from before. "Oh, he's sick with it."

 

Luna smiles and reaches out to her, hand suspended in the wintry air.

 

"I don't know how to help him," Pansy says.

 

"Don't worry," she says. "We'll do it together."

 

"Okay."

 

Pansy takes her hand, leaning over the distance, and everything almost is.