For the Fan fiction Exchange challenge at The Final Prophecy.
Pairing: Draco/Harry, implied Snape/Harry, very very very very mild Snape/Draco if you squint...I didn't intend it though.
Warnings: Angst. Character Deaths. Mild reference to sex and violence.
It was indisputable that the Astronomy Tower was the most explicit place of Hogwarts. And by ‘explicit’ they meant all sorts of activities went on there, amidst the darkest of nights.
Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, knew this very well. Ever since his fifth year, after the spectacular break-up with Cho Chang, he had been visiting the Astronomy Tower regularly at night under his invisibility cloak, at first trying to get some fresh air and clear his head, and then, more explicit things in nature.
At first he was alone. Then he got company. Gradually, he and his company became alone. It had somehow become an unspoken agreement between those who were aware of the explicit nature of this place that the Astronomy Tower, after the first chime of the clock, would belong to the Chosen One and his company.
Two years later, it was no different.
“What’s got into you, Potter?” a smooth yet cold voice demanded, as Draco Malfoy grabbed the back of Harry’s neck and pulled him away. “I didn’t know that you were into fluffiness and comfort, Chosen One.”
Harry looked up; he had been instinctively burying his face in the other boy’s shoulder. The result, however, was predictable, as he could see now the light grey eyes in which a dark gleam gathered was silent, thoughtful, and reflexively mocking.
“Shut up, Malfoy, it’s not like you don’t tend to crush me anyway.” He retorted, pulling away himself, and walked to the side; the Invisibility Cloak had been snatched away brutally and heaped in a pile in the corner a while ago. He had the sudden urge to go and pick it up, and hide himself under it as he did so many times before, yet he could not move. He could not turn and walk the thin distance that was from the wall to where Malfoy was standing; he could not face that secretively devilish, almost painful smirk on Malfoy’s pale, fair face.
There was a reason why he came to have this, ‘inter-House union’ as Malfoy once put it, in the night. Of course, it would be impractical if either Harry or Malfoy began to display affection towards each other – if there ever was affection involved – in the corridors; but at the back of his mind Harry always knew what he was most afraid of, was the silent and cunning glimmer in Malfoy’s eyes, leering, knowing, of his pain, his weakness, the unspoken desire he could not bury.
Malfoy was a Slytherin, it explained a great deal. Not a lot of people knew that he was involved in the killing of Dumbledore, he was permitted to return to school after Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy was reported dead in a house raid. To the Order, his presence at Hogwarts was both of some danger and reassurance, for he and Harry under the same roof always produced spectacularly disastrous results; but he never said too much, only his usual snide comments in between classes; he never looked at Harry for too long, as if the existence of the Boy-Who-Lived sickened him. It was not surprising, seeing that the war was even more intense than before; the Houses were more divided, students subjected to more silence. Malfoy took the lead of the majority of Slytherins, while Harry was looked upon by the Gryffindors and the rest. It was not unusual, therefore, for the occasional exchange of sniping pleasantries, nor was it unexpected that under such pressure, the young leader of both sides ended up in the most unimaginable bond ever.
For all students who knew the explicit purpose of the Astronomy Tower at night, there was universal agreement that no one mentioned about Harry or Malfoy under daylight. They were perceived to be tense, fragile, and threatened to tip the balance at Hogwarts by the slip of a careless tongue. There were occasional looks, from all the Houses, directed briefly, calculatedly and carefully at Harry’s side, for they knew Harry nowadays hid as many secrets as anyone else; but for the few that dared to cast these glances they were happy with the knowledge that they shared at least one of Harry’s secrets. For everyone else, it appeared, Harry had been vanishing off regularly at night to meet with the teachers, to have special training perhaps, and he would return in the morning tired and battered. But they greet him with brightness, for they believe after a night’s hard work the Boy-Who-Lived would evolve one step closer to the Boy-Who-Will-Live-Again.
Harry did not object to this myth personally, nor did he comment on it. He knew that everyone around him did not understand, perhaps he himself did not understand, but Malfoy, Malfoy did, Malfoy knew perfectly well what went on in that head of his, that head of his, which was full of Order’s planned attacks, spellscursesprophecies, depressed thoughts, grief, longing, and DumbledoreSiriusSiriusDumbledoreSNAPE ---
Harry did not admit this, but Malfoy knew. Perhaps it was because Malfoy himself had a similar mind, a half-strangled, depressed mind with all that was important to the cause and all that was important to the mind’s master. Malfoy knew and understood, far better than Harry had anticipated; for he neither sneered nor openly harassed Harry on this delicate subject, he was silent. He was silent when he clasped Harry in his arms, crushing him with force as Harry decidedly clutched back; neither of them giving up until one of them suddenly made the plunge, to seek security and familiar territory in each other’s mouth and body.
Throughout the lovemaking process Malfoy would not shake back his left sleeve, he would not let Harry see what was underneath, yet Harry had his silent consent to seize it harshly, to cause pain knowingly, almost as a punishment. Harry knew what was underneath, he had been so certain all through his sixth year although no one listened to him, he was even more certain now. He does not ask, he does not force Malfoy to show, for he met the other boy’s silence with his own, and looked away when his painful grasps brought shimmer to Malfoy’s eyes.
It was the exchange of weakness, the agreement of the aggrieved, the hateful bond they chose to enter at midnight; for under the sun they both appeared normal and vengeful and right, but as the clock chimes, the night darkens, Harry slips out of the Gryffindor Dormitory. Neither of them ever mentioned the potential danger that lurked in the castle after hours, neither of them ever asked how each other got past the increasingly tight security of the school. Neither of them cared, it would seem, about each other, only what they came together to do.
Stars, hide your fires.
Let not light see my darkest desires.
Sometimes Harry stayed with Malfoy till sunrise; sometimes he left without saying goodbye. There was never need to say goodbye, for he knew both of them would return at the same time the next day, or the day after. When Malfoy was not there, however, Harry would lean by the wall and look down, let the cool wind brush against his wide open eyes, barely making out the dim shapes around the Grounds and the Lake, the Lake, he knew that the Slytherin Common Room was under the Lake, just as he knew how almost every night Malfoy stalked from the lowest point to the highest point in Hogwarts. For Harry Potter. It seemed almost ironic, and he wanted to laugh, laugh the silent laughter that could be seen from time to time in Malfoy’s eyes, but his never learnt how. He never learnt how to disguise his emotions like Malfoy did, he never learnt how to put on a cold and brave face and laugh at the same time as tears were rolling in his eyes. It was a Malfoy-thing, something Harry Potter could not adopt; Harry Potter was to be brave, brave as he smiled, smiled to reassure everyone that everything was going to be OK, when his own insides were screaming and pleading for an escape.
He turned; he turned sometimes and briefly met Malfoy’s gaze, that look of cold understanding and silent mocking flickering to that of hatred, across the House Tables in the Great Hall. Owls would arrive during breakfast; news would then break out about mysterious disappearances, killings, sightings of the Dark Mark; sometimes it would be related to someone’s family or friends. No one cried anymore, no one made a scene, no one slumped forward on the table screaming with noooooo; instead they got escorted by the Head of Houses out of the Great Hall, and they seldom returned. The students were thinning, their families believing the kids would be safer at home, only to have Voldemort killing by their entirety. ‘Hogwarts without Dumbledore is just as safe as Azkaban’, commented one parent, before Hermione retaliated that ‘Hogwarts’ still got Harry Potter.’
It was not a valid argument in Harry’s eyes as he believed he came nowhere close to Dumbledore, but he could see the determined looks on his friends’ faces, and out of the corner of his eye, the silent smirk upon Malfoy’s lips. He turned; he turned sometimes to meet that mocking gaze fully, with somewhat meaningful look of his own, but he could never do it properly. He saw Malfoy’s face close as the expressions on the pale face wither into nothingness, he saw Malfoy clutching his own left arm, but that never reduced him to tears. Only Harry, only Harry with his powerful hatred and confusion, channelled through the slender fingers of his, could bring anything more than an empty expression on Malfoy’s face, but they never made each other smile like what lovers were supposed to do, they only engraved the pain deeper, deeper into each other’s most private and tender territory.
It was explicit; everything was explicit nowadays. The pale sunshine. The pain. The killings the Dark Mark the worried faces of the teachers, the murmurs in the Forbidden Forest in the night. The blurred shapes moving around in the corridors after hours, the clear, unbroken surface of the Lake as Harry looked down. The hand which Malfoy used to press him against his chest, the eyes which Malfoy owned. Nothing spelled it out for him, nothing stated clearly that what he looked at was it. But everything was explicit in Harry’s eyes, everything burnt, everything cried, everything awaited his rescue.
The Chosen One.
He had been avoiding the Gryffindor Dormitory, the comfort of the four-poster bed that he once called ‘home’; he could no longer bear the troubled slumber everyone succumbed to nowadays. Even Ron stopped snoring so carefree in the night, the dormitory was silent, silent as everyone lay awake staring at the ceiling, breathing. There were no longer chatter about Quidditch; matches had been long since cancelled. There were no exchanges of daily lives; everyone travelled in tightly-knit groups. There were no Hogsmeade trips to look forward to; the village was attacked twice in less than three weeks and all shops were closed. It was like being permanently grounded, as they sat in the Common Room watching House Elves work silently, and even their ears were drooped.
But Harry went up to the Astronomy Tower almost every night; he went up there regardless of whether Malfoy would come. He put on his Invisibility Cloak, he sat in the corner against the stone-cold wall, he cuddled himself into the tiniest possible ball. He would wait, with his eyes wide open till they watered, see if Malfoy would come, then drift off to troubled sleep.
Sometimes Malfoy came, sometimes he didn’t. Sometimes they made love; sometimes they only sat next to each other, silent. But Malfoy always found him. As he walked quietly up the stairs, he would know exactly where Harry was curling up, he would know exactly where to put his hands so the Invisibility Cloak came off in a harsh, pronounced, explicit manner. He would look down at him, silent, light grey eyes darkening in the dim light, his only expression snidely vicious. Sometimes Harry thought he saw Malfoy mouth ‘caught you’ silently, but as he turned properly to look, the other boy was only sneering again.
He held out his arm, he crushed him in his embrace. It made Harry want to weep, want to tell Malfoy everything that was on his mind, but whenever Malfoy does pull him into a tight embrace, his mind would go blank. The hugs by definition were without love, without sweet whispers against each other’s ears, without promise; they were by definition without definition. Yet they were explicit, explicit enough to induce pain and much suffering, explicit enough so that nothing else needed to be said.
During the day Harry never went out anymore, not by the Lake, not by Hagrid’s. The Hut was indefinitely empty as the Half-Giant ventured deep into the Mountains to work as a spy with others of his kind, something Dumbledore would’ve asked him to do, and he did it fondly. Harry missed the tea, the grumbles, even the Rock Cake, but he never said anything. This part, at least, Malfoy didn’t understand, Harry did not expect him to understand, as he knew there was never properly understanding between him and Malfoy. Malfoy passed right over the surface and stared deep into him, seeing all things that he himself could not see. Malfoy’s eyes were clear, demanding, it reminded of Harry that the Slytherin leader was exceptional at Occlumency; perhaps he was practiced at Legilimency too. Yet Harry made no attempts at shielding his own thoughts, he decided he had nothing that needed shielding from; he had forgotten what a highly-provoked duel with Malfoy felt like. The time when the adolescent hormones would just rush in was long gone; he was too tired, too bothered, too troubled and too deeply buried in bruises to care.
Malfoy knew Harry had the Order’s detailed plans of defence and attack, just as Harry knew Malfoy took orders from the other Death Eaters and perhaps Lord Voldemort himself. No one made a comment about this, no one asked, no one made a move. They knew the delicate balance, the simple bonding they have would’ve been broken if they brought the subjects to the fore. Harry knew this, Malfoy was cold and distant, Malfoy was cynical and pompous, but Malfoy was not stupid, Malfoy was not without his own psychological flaws.
Thus came a day when Malfoy was late; it was nearly three in the morning when Harry was woken by hurried footsteps. Malfoy was running, it startled him. Malfoy was always composed and cool, he never looked so terrified. He never looked so determined, either, as he lifted a corner of Harry’s Invisibility Cloak:
The voice was harsh, almost out of breath, and in the brief moment where they made eye contact Harry saw something of fortitude and despair; it brought him to life.
He sprung from the corner; wrists tagged by Malfoy down the stairs, floor by floor by floor until they heard more footsteps, those of Filch’s. Malfoy stopped in his tracks; but there was no where to hide in the middle of the corridor, Harry could feel the boy’s grip harden as the dim light came around the corner, then he instinctively pulled him under the Cloak.
They were pressed against the wall, Malfoy’s back against Harry’s chest. Harry let out staccato, punctuated breaths as Malfoy’s rigid body slowly relaxed, a slender arm eventually wrung free of his hold, and produced a wand.
For a split second Harry thought Malfoy was going to curse Filch and desperately considered a plan to stop him without giving away their hide; but he was wrong. Malfoy pointed his wand at the hanging side of the Cloak, and whispered, “Silencio.”
It was then when Malfoy turned with all his might and crushed Harry to the wall, a loud bang that would not go unnoticed had the boy not produced the Silencing Charm seconds before, and he kissed him vigorously, with everything from desire to despair.
The caretaker tottered along slowly; it seemed like hours. Harry knew the Silencing Charm would not conceal everything if they made excess movement, so he stayed uncharacteristically obedient, until Malfoy finally bit his lip and let go.
Harry opened his eyes; the look in the other boy’s eyes was wild. The grey mist had gathered into a storm, he saw it coming with formidable power. Malfoy was dangerous, he was even more so as he shook back his left sleeve, revealing the burning Dark Mark.
“See this, Potter? You see this?”
Harry tried to keep calm; he swallowed his own blood and nodded. “I knew it was there since the beginning.”
Malfoy was laughing, he was maniacal, but Harry could see the tears forming in the corner of those grey eyes. It was painful, he knew, he knew what it meant, and he knew that Malfoy was terrified. Voldemort was calling, and Malfoy must answer.
Hesitantly, he reached for the other boy’s arm, found the burning spot and wrapped his own, icy-cold finger around it. Malfoy closed his eyes; he was concentrating very hard, there were expressions beyond pain on his once pale now paler face. Harry squeezed, he squeezed as he would normally, and felt a familiar burning in his own scar. He immediately knew that both of them were reduced to tears, but he was sobbing, Malfoy wasn’t. Malfoy opened his eyes as he left go of the boy’s arm, and looked on:
“Stop being an insolent brat, Potter.”
“You know what, Malfoy?” his voice was hoarse, “even if Voldemort doesn’t kill you today, all those nicely tucked away emotions of yours will. Blow you up. Into pieces. One day. Eventually.”
Malfoy didn’t flinch, he merely smiled. It was humourless, a smile that said ‘you are absolutely right’, a smile that recognised defeat and withdrawal. He smiled and he said,
“You are much more incapable than I thought, Potter. Did all those Order friends of yours never tell you not to touch a Dark Mark? Do you not realise that with you and your special connection with the Dark Lord –” he glanced at Harry’s still pricking scar – “that any physical contact with such a thing as the Dark Mark would be exceedingly dangerous?”
Harry went rigid; there were truths in Malfoy’s words, truths that he neglected under current circumstances. Malfoy was sinister, but he was not stupid. He used the sudden kiss to startle Harry, and allowed, invited him to touch his Dark Mark, perhaps sending a signal – yes, my Lord, the Potter boy is here. With me..
“…such a Gryffindor.”
The words spoken against his ear were soft as Malfoy leaned for another much briefer kiss, and then pulled away. Filch was long gone, the corridor was once again deserted and dark, Harry could barely make out Malfoy’s expression, but he knew something was different, Malfoy was different.
“You will learn to thank me, Potter,” Malfoy ducked out of the Cloak and continued to speed along the corridor, “for that I, unlike you, am accomplished at Occlumens.”
Harry followed; his heart was thumping. There was evident amusement in Malfoy’s voice, as the boy said:
“The Dark Lord does not know that you are with me, yet, nor is he aware of our…involvement.” He paused and turned, climbing behind a portrait that was evidently a secret passage, “you know, Potter, for the Chosen One, you are extraordinarily poor at concealing your thoughts. Does all Gryffindors wear their hearts proudly on their sleeves? Yes, I would expect, so explicitly…”
“Malfoy, please shut up and tell me where we are going, or I will raise the alarm.”
Malfoy half-laughed, he did not turn around. “But you won’t, the Gryffindor curiosity is burning inside you, you know, Potter…” his name trailed along in the air like a wisp of smoke, before Malfoy sharply turned the corner, “you murmur when you sleep.”
Harry stopped in his tracks; a mortal fear had just gripped his heart. He knew this, he knew what his dreams constituted of, it was one of the reasons he did not dare to sleep in the dormitory anymore, but Malfoy –
“What’s the matter, Potter? Lumos.” The light was stabbing into his eyes, as Malfoy stood not five inches away in the stone passage. “Have I hit the right spot there?”
“Don’t. You. Dare.” Harry’s teeth were clenched, images of a tall man with dark hair and robes whipping around in the Dungeon swooping past the forefront of his mind rapidly, he blinked and blinked and tried to make it stop, but no –
“You are pathetic, Potter, even if I haven’t been listening to your hopeless sleeptalk I’d found out the exact same thing just by looking into your eyes – just by doing this -”
Malfoy leaned closer, there was a glitter of light almost fanatical in his eyes. Harry backed and backed until his back was pressed against the cold stone wall, but images would not melt away, he felt exposed, betrayed, even more so than he had been in the past seventeen years.
“And th-this is wh-what you wa-want to s-see, is it?” he could not speak clearly, his eyes were watering, the uneven surface of the stone wall digging into his back. Malfoy was not fierce; he did not impose as much hatred upon him as the man in his mind did, yet the gradual openings were made more vulnerable by the second, he saw repeated images of the Potions Master shouting at him, telling him that I am the Half-Blood Prince, running away from him, disappearing into the dark night – then he blinked, again and again, until scenes involving Malfoy came to the fore; Malfoy kissing him, Malfoy crushing him in his arms, Malfoy making love to him biting him sneering staring smirking at him, finally crying, for times he could not remember, first induced by the Dark Lord, then by none other than Harry Potter himself.
It took minutes, perhaps hours, or several sunlit days, till the images disappeared and Malfoy’s face was in front of Harry’s eyes again, expressionless. He had expected rage, expected indignity, or cold snide comments such as have you fallen in love with me, Potter?, but none as such came.
Malfoy stared, he stared and he turned and he walked on. Harry was left paralysed on the spot, his hands trembling, his mind in the state of collapse after imprudent exploration by the other, he could not move. He could not move until Malfoy’s voice drifted to him from some tens of meters away; emotionless, matter-of-factly.
“The person you have been longing for, Potter, is here today. If you do not wish to be killed then put on your Cloak and follow me.”
The words almost startle him; they did not begin to settle in until he had sped alongside with Malfoy some minutes later. Malfoy did not stop once to ask whether he was still there, he already had much practise in finding out the exact spot where Harry hid under his Cloak. As they scrambled along Harry realised Malfoy was no longer a child, he was no longer the blonde boy who wept in Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom, he was somewhere torn between a man and a boy, just like Harry.
Just like Harry.
The passage came to an end and began to climb upwards, Malfoy disappearing into a miniscule exit that looked like a large mole hole first then Harry. He oozed himself out, noticing that it was the point where the Death Easter had Disapparated last year, just outside of the Grounds.
It was silent, too silent; Harry had been expecting Death Eaters and perhaps Voldemort himself. He knew it was too much risk, he could mentally see the appalled disapproval on Hermione and McGonagall’s faces but he couldn’t give up. He could not give up seeing the man that had haunted his dreams and his deliberate consciousness; the man who in the pseudonym of the Half Blood Prince that was once his best friend, the man who loathed him in reality for every moment of his life, the man who killed Dumbledore and ran off just like that into the night right where they are standing now –
Then it happened, Harry saw it with his own eyes, Severus Snape emerged from the shadows and took Malfoy by the arm.
“Why are you late, Draco?”
The voice was slightly hoarse, yet still smooth and cold and elegant, just as Harry remembered it, just as every single cell of Harry remembered it, and they began to shiver. The wind was picking up; he clutched more tightly onto his Cloak, afraid that if his cover suddenly got blown away all would’ve been lost.
But why? Why is Malfoy doing this? Why did he bring me out here, just to – just to –
“You have no idea how tight the security is nowadays, you don’t work here anymore.” Malfoy’s reply was calculated, uncaring and casual; he never once looked at Harry’s direction as he stepped slightly aside to allow Harry a better view of Snape’s face. “Are you going to hand me to him? Are you going to see me tortured, killed, just like my parents?”
There was mockery in Malfoy’s voice, yet it was pained, it was so silently pained that Harry was not sure whether Snape caught it, but from all those times when Harry held onto his Dark Mark he knew what kind of pain it was, unexplainable, yet explicit.
Snape eyed Malfoy carefully, his face pale under the Lumos spell, the hallowed cheekbones more pronounced than ever. “I think you forget, Draco, that I made the Unbreakable Vow -”
“My mother’s dead! You know that! It doesn’t matter anymore!” Malfoy was shaking, his hand clenched into fists like an injured animal standing his ground. “The Unbreakable Vow, just because you don’t want yourself killed -”
“Silence!” Snape snapped, “You do not know of the effort I went through trying to protect you, it was the Dark Lord’s plan to send McNair here today if I hadn’t intervened -”
“And who cares if you intervened or not! Who cares if I, having been stuck in this castle for so long, get killed eventually! V-V-Volde-m-mort doesn’t forgive and forget -”
Snape went rigid, he raised his wand some more so that the light was shining right in Malfoy’s eyes. Malfoy stuttered and retreated as Snape pressed further, they were now both past Harry and within a few step’s distance to the Hogwarts Grounds. Snape had his back to Harry; Malfoy was shouting.
“Put it out! Legilimens doesn’t work against me anymore – you know it doesn’t - ”
Harry could see it now, Malfoy was glancing in his direction, there were tears rolling down his pale face. He did not understand, however, as he stood rigid in the night air, eyes darting between Malfoy and Snape, uncomprehending, mind racing, startled by the almost Boyish again Malfoy and the subtle meaning hidden underneath, terrified by what he was witnessing, overwhelmed by the sight of Severus Snape again –
“Why, is it, Draco, that you speak of the Dark Lord by his name?” Snape’s voice was controlled, cool, if not slightly concerned. He seemed oblivious to the fact that Malfoy was now staring right past him and onto the spot where Harry stood.
“Does it matter? So he’ll spare me because I showed him respect? You are just as stupid as anyone else – don’t you realise, Snape? Don’t you realise?”
Harry wasn’t sure if Malfoy was trying to buy time or not, yet he instinctively drawn and raised his wand, pointing at somewhere between two men, hands trembling slightly as he held his breath. Snape was unaffected, he was asking calmy,
“Realise what, Draco?”
Malfoy laughed, “Realise what! The Unbreakable Vow! Can’t you see it? If he kills me, you’d be dead too – don’t you see it? Will you disobey the Dark Lord?”
Snape was silent; Harry clasped his free hand to his mouth, he could see what was coming now. Malfoy continued to talk, but in a much cooler, controlled voice:
“But that’s not such a bad thing, is it? To be put out of our misery. You’d like that, wouldn’t you, professor Snape?” he paused, Snape made no reply. Harry could not see the older man’s expression, but judging by Malfoy’s looks it was bordering cold fury. Malfoy stared fixedly at Harry while he went on softly:
“Perhaps, sir, you’d like to be killed by someone else? Perhaps you are afraid that he won’t give us such an easy exit, but maybe someone else will – is that why you’ve been volunteering at the earliest opportunity to come back to Hogwarts? In hope that a certain some boy would kill you in battle?”
Harry was stifling a cry behind his hand; his wand had been darting between Malfoy and Snape, both of them unmoving, uncaring. Malfoy was smiling; he no longer glanced at Harry, for he knew Harry understood now what he had to do. He sidestepped to give him a clear shot, head held up proud and high in the air, silent tears rolling down his cheeks even though as his lips quivered into a sardonic smile.
Do it now. Kill Malfoy and Snape dies too. Do it, and the world becomes a better place. He wants you to. You want too, don’t you? Snape killed Dumbledore. Malfoys helped to kill Sirius. Kill them – kill – kill -
“Reveal yourself, Potter!”
Harry was snatched out of his own reverie; the harsh and demanding tone of his ex-Potion master was unmistakable. He never turned, he never turned to look at Harry but he knew he was there, his back was rigid, his hand folded in front of his chest. Wandless. Defenceless.
It took Harry two seconds to decide; then he threw away the Cloak and pointed his wand at Snape. He sidestepped in between those two men, carefully watching their moves, cursing for his own trembling body and blank mind, until Snape finally looked at his way:
“What are you doing, foolish boy? Point it at him.”
Harry was taken back by this comment, he stutters. “W-what?”
“I see your intelligence have not improved a single bit since I left, Potter,” Snape was impatient, his eyes narrowing dangerously. “I am the one who will die as a result of Draco’s death, while my death will have no effect on him whatsoever.”
“Get it over with.”
“I killed Dumbledore, we killed your Godfather, isn’t that enough?”
“JUST FUCKING DO IT!”
Malfoy and Snape swore in unison, and as they did so their hands went to their left arms, wincing and hissing to what Harry recognised as the Dark Lord’s last call. The Death Eaters were going to be here if he did not make a decision, and they were going to die anyway, but Voldemort wouldn’t let them go so easily –
“Have you not the courage? Have you not the intelligence? Are you not clever enough to see two of your worst enemies standing in front of you, defenceless, yet take no advantage even as we asked you to?”
“I always knew Potter haven’t got the gut, just like that stupid Godfather of his, head-rushed into everything -”
Harry knew they were trying to push him into doing it, he knew in order for the Killing Curse to be effective enough hatred needed to be generated, but he refused to succumb to it -
“You are quite correct, Draco, and as if all those years in Azkaban was not enough he had to go get himself killed -”
Stop, stop, I won’t do it -
“- And Dumbledore, the stupid old git always talking about love trust love, look where that got him too -”
Shut up, I can’t, I won’t, stop -
“Do you remember, Draco? It was pathetic, he was pleading for me to save him -”
A powerful surge of hatred and pain travelled down Harry’s spine, his wand blasted and he heard himself speak the ruthless words, Avaka Kedavra, and saw in front of his very eyes a jet of green light emitted in slow motion like those Muggle movies, for a moment there he thought it was going to miss Malfoy by inches but Malfoy shifted, he shifted only very slightly but then the curse was able to hit him square on his chest – and he fell, in a posture not unlike Sirius’s when he fell, those cold grey eyes shutters shut and his back forming a graceful arch, falling, falling as panic and love and pride and all those things Harry forgot to say would never say to Malfoy got entangled on the tip of Harry’s tongue, falling, falling falling and he finally hit the ground.
“N-no...Malfoy…I didn’t…I…” Harry fell to his knees and climbed over, he climbed over just as he did last year when Malfoy fell to his Sectumsempra curse, but this time even Snape wasn’t able to save him, he was gone and Snape – Snape –
Harry whirled around. Snape was clutching his chest, he looked up and smiled, a wry smile that Harry found was more disturbing than the fact that his whole body seemed to freeze bit by bit, as the man also succumbed to the ground, struggling to get out his last words –
“Dumble-dore, he…wasn’t…trying to… I couldn’t save him.”
With that Snape fell too, next to Malfoy’s lifeless body, leaving Harry standing in the deep, deep night by himself, wild tears streaking down his cheek and blurring his vision, until none of the bodies at his foot were visible anymore, and he knew all that really mattered to him was lost.
It was not until long after the war had ended did Harry revisit Hogwarts and the Astronomy Tower again; it was in the night, approximately the same hours when he used to meet Malfoy. He sat in the corner, wrapped his robes around him – normal robes, for those who could tell exactly where he was hiding under the Invisibility Cloak have been long gone – and wept, wept silently as he watched the sun rise, asking the silent emptiness How can I love you so much yet make no move,asking why is it that both of you have to die by my hands, not understanding why why why and never dared to truly look back; for he remembered every moment of his life the grey eyes the cold voice the sneer that were so identical on two men, remembered the silent consent the silent pain the silent bond and promise that was never spoken, yet so explicit, so explicitly engraved into him that he would never, never forget.
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