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Harry just wanted his bed. Bed, some food, and possibly a hundred hours of sleep. Was that too much to ask for saving the world?
Instead he found himself… lost. Rather, not strictly lost—this did, after all, resemble the corridor near the Charms classroom—but most definitely not where he’d meant to go. Exhaustion did funny things to one’s sense of direction, it seemed. Perhaps Harry should have asked Kreacher for Apparition service direct to his bed as well as for a sandwich.
Right… forgot to ask for that sandwich.
A flicker of motion up ahead caught Harry’s eye and distracted him from his stomach. It was just a door closing—the door to the charms classroom, in fact. Just a door closing. It had probably been left ajar, and the drafty castle had done the rest.
Nothing I need to worry about.
Harry lost that argument with himself decisively and plodded toward the door with all the alacrity he could muster, grudgingly fishing his wand out of his pocket. There was some comfort in feeling the familiar hilt in his hands, though he was mostly too tired to appreciate it. He nudged the door open with his wand arm.
There was someone moving in the dimness. The figure moved irregularly in the direction of Flitwick’s desk, their makeshift blanket-cloak dragging listlessly behind. Harry put his wand away. Just another student, then, looking for a place to sleep. Harry crossed quickly toward the forlorn wanderer, intending to offer him the hospitality of Gryffindor tower. There was something male about the silhouette, though Harry could not have explained what it was, if asked; just processing the idea made him tired enough to consider asking if the other would share his blanket and let them both make use of the cushions.
“Hey,” Harry said, meaning to speak softly. The emptiness of the room amplified his voice all out of proportion to his intentions, however, and the blanketed figure turned with a stumble and a gasp.
Harry was just close enough to catch Draco as he toppled forward.
It was fortunate that they were in the Charms classroom, with heaps of Flitwick’s cushions and pillows at hand for them to collapse upon. In a moment of wild confusion, Harry almost sent off his Patronus for help. The time it took to settle himself and Draco a little less awkwardly on the comfortable pile was sufficient for him to collect his scattered faculties and realize that Draco wasn’t ill or injured—just exhausted. Much as Harry himself was, really.
After a time, Harry also realized that Draco had very soft hair. The rather worrying thing was that he became aware of it because he’d been petting Draco’s hair as if the other boy was a cat curled up in Harry’s lap, and not a boy. And an enemy boy, at that.
My enemy, Harry thought, as he smoothed the hair away from Draco’s face so that he could see the pointy little nose and chin, the incongruously full lips.
My chosen enemy he reflected as he wrapped a silken strand around one of his fingers and let it slowly slide free again. Harry’s own.
All my own, he thought as he slid onto his side beside Draco, filling his nose with the mustiness of old cushions, the residual whiff of smoke, the tight tang of tired, scared, boy; filling his arms with a slender bundle of skin, bones, and tattered fabric. Harry was too tired to worry, and too soothed by the silkiness of Draco’s hair and the fragile aliveness of his body to let himself be bothered.
The desire to fling something unpleasant at Dumbledore’s portrait flickered briefly across Harry’s mind. Our choices shape us. Implying that Harry had a choice.
A life not worth living versus a shot at getting killed and having it over with—lovely choice, that. Harry found himself mouthing the words and decided that he was none too happy at being nearly driven to talk to himself, either. Well, at least he could stop himself from talking to himself aloud. He had a choice there. He clung to it, trying to think how many things in his life he really had a choice in, could really call his own.
The Dursleys were his… unfortunately… and he certainly wouldn’t have chosen them.
Not that it was always bad, having no more choice than to say ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ to what was presented. Ron and Hermione had latched on to him like a pair of ticks… faithful, loving, almost always supportive ticks Harry couldn’t envision living without. Hedwig had been his, he thought painfully. Although he’d not chosen her, he didn’t love her any less for it.
He wondered if he’d chosen Ginny. Harry mulled her name, her image, in his mind and felt something uneasily familiar; a prickling sense of being manipulated and worn down by someone for whom he had affection.
Stupid bloody Voldemort had chosen him and stuck him with the lot of it. If Harry hadn’t been so utterly exhausted, he might have had the energy to feel angry.
But, Draco… Harry had chosen him. Chosen to be his opponent in all things. Chosen to attack, follow, defy, defend, save… hold…
Harry idly noted that he was no longer merely petting the silky strands of Draco’s hair, but caressing, burying his fingers in it, trailing his nails gently across the other boy’s scalp and tracing his ears with his thumbs. This failed to bother Harry; the sensations were far too soothing to allow his equilibrium to be disturbed. Draco’s lips parted and his eyelashes fluttered, as if stirred by the quickening puffs of breath escaping from that blushing, pink opening. Harry watched, enthralled--the trembling pulse visible beneath the thin, moon-pale skin of Draco’s neck; the accelerating rise and fall of his chest, fine collarbones plainly visible where his shirt lay open, its buttons casualties of the battle. Harry’s eyes traced the faint blue veins, visible here and there like the shadows of bird feathers, and he knew that this was not his enemy anymore… this slender, silken, bird-beautiful boy at rest in his arms.
It would be a shame to let anyone else steal this, his vision. Harry carefully removed his Invisibility Cloak from his pocket and spread it over them both.
Draco was not Harry’s enemy. Harry decided that he was just… Harry’s.
When the word ‘Mine’ dropped softly from Harry’s lips, a snowflake falling from a clear sky, he did not fear that he was talking to himself, because Draco’s eyes opened to stare at him.
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The Patronus skin was created especially for The Petulant Poetess by TarahFae.