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This story was first published on December 11th, 2011, and was last updated on December 11th, 2011.

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Table of Contents

1. Chapter 1
2. Chapter 2
3. Chapter 3

P/DM. "Draco's a ghost, so Harry doesn't know what his problem is anyway." Written for the


Chapter 1

Disclaimer: JK Rowling and the publishers own them, I don't.

Warnings: Psychological trauma, violence, mild substance abuse, sexual content, non-consent due
to drugging
Word Count: 20,700. Posted in three parts as Livejournal intended.
Summary: "Draco's a ghost, so Harry doesn't know what his problem is anyway."
Prompt: "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."
A/N: This was written for the HP Darkfest on Livejournal – please heed the warnings. It's quite
different to anything I've written before, so if you're looking for romance/humour/fluff I would give
this one a miss. That being said, whilst the journey is dark, the ending is not so much.
This was challenging to write for obvious reasons, but I am quite proud of it. Thank you to the fest
and the mods for giving me a chance to spread my wings a little. Worry not if dark!fic isn't your thing
- I'll be back with more regular H/D nonsense soon enough.

Room Four
"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."
- Philip K. Dick.

Part one.
It starts with a whisper in the night. A twist of words into a flash of all-consuming green. Harry
opens his eyes wide in the darkness, holding his breath. He trembles, sweat beading on his forehead.
The night holds firm, dark and silent. Long stretches of moonlight stretch across the carpet of his
bedroom, breaking the shadows and making him feel exposed.
Nightmares are an inevitability. Nightmares of snakes and green light and the faces of his ruined
comrades are the next step of this journey he doesn't even know he's taking. He wakes with screams,
with sweat on his brow and the sheets torn between his fingers. There's thunder in his mind as castle
walls collapse, toppling like a tower of cards. Lightning bolts flash in time with screams as people
fall for the final time.
Everyone has nightmares. He mentions them, and faces and hands grow sympathetic around him.
They tell him they know, they understand, and for a while he believes that they really do. Sometimes
he can sleep without thunder or lightning, and he believes that everything will be all right.
Until the next night, when the masonry crumbles and the castle walls fall, the sound as deafening as

He feels uneasy in the walls of his own home. They are unfriendly and pale, and see too much of
him. The windows are too large, and he spends too much time lingering behind the edge of the
curtains watching the street below. Sometimes he runs from the windows of the lounge to the
windows in his bedroom, so he can check that there is nobody in the back garden either.
Every door in the house is propped open, stuck to the wall behind it with a strong sticking charm.
That way he can see into every room, and can know that there is nothing hiding behind their doors.
He has an obligatory party in his house for the friends that made it; they drink and laugh and smile
and are thankful that the war is over. Music is soft in the background. Harry hears the clink of glasses,
the murmur of conversation, the rustle of his clothes as he moves and the tap tap tap of footsteps
across the stone floor. Harry hates that he doesn't know – can't know – where everyone is in his house
at every moment, and he feels tired behind his smiles and the inane conversation that had filled the
void where the war used to be.

And he's back in the castle, and the walls are toppling around him, crashing and cracking. Dust
fills his eyes and his lungs and brightly coloured lights fly above his head. People are screaming and
someone is whispering into his ear, Avada Kedavra,and then a body falls at his feet. Fred stares at
him with wide unseeing eyes, and then he starts to laugh. Harry wakes with a jolt and he cries, curling
up in a ball at the head of his bed and wishing that everything would feel the way they promised it
would now that the war has gone.

They start to bury them far too quickly, although it's taken forever. The new Ministry is buried
under paperwork and broken departments and Harry shivers as he thinks of all the dead lying resting
in some mortuary somewhere, waiting patiently for the ground to swallow them up, a perfect oblong
of six feet deep to hide them away in.
The fifth to disappear is Lavender Brown. Harry is so tired that Ginny has to steady him with a
hand on his elbow as he stands and stares at a tree on the far side of the churchyard, watching green
leaves slowly fall, spinning to earth one by one. The trees sound just like the ocean, their leaves
stirred by the breeze and rustling gently together, sometimes joined by a soft creak of a branch.
Everything is moving on. The world is marching onwards, uncaring of if everyone else is keeping
up or not. He can't work out if he feels relieved or panicked, can't work out how he's supposed to feel
at this moment in time. Somewhere in his stomach is a restless unease that won't shift, that won't turn
into the relief that he yearned for.
And now Lavender is gone and the people around him are murmuring and moving away. The
voices wash over him, waves of sound from which he can discern no individual words. The
churchyard gate creaks and whines on its rusted hinges and he can hear the soft thump of dirt as it fills
a perfect oblong of six feet deep. Despite the overwhelming loneliness of his house, he wants to go
back and drink himself to sleep but he's guided to the Burrow instead, invited for tea by someone.
He's too tired to remember who. It's too warm; the air is heavy and damp on his skin. The sun burns
outside and his friends chat together outside under the last of the summer days, but he hides away, his
eyes hurting in the light. People move around the kitchen, quiet noise and footsteps. Their voices are
soft and kind but Harry can't hear many words. Cupboard doors gently squeak open and thud shut, and
china clinks softly together.
A whistle grows in the back of his mind. A quiet sound to begin, almost unnoticeable. It gets
louder, and Harry shuts his eyes, his neck twisting reflexively to the side. There's green behind his
closed eyelids and when he opens them the sound is louder, trembling through the air, laced with a
whisper and piercing like a blade. The cry of a Horcrux. It grows and grows until it's as loud as the
screams of falling schoolchildren, and his eyes widen and his hand twitches atop the tabletop.
The sound dies as Mrs Weasley takes the kettle off of the fire, steam escaping from its spout.
"Milk and sugar, yes, dear?"
"Yes," says Harry as he blinks hard at the kettle. "Please."

The nightmares grow into voices in the dark that follow him out of his sleep and into his house.
Harry hears them breathing in the shadows when he wakes after dreams of the Forbidden Forest. He
desperately tears the house apart trying to find where they're hiding, but after a while he gives up and
thinks that maybe they're hiding somewhere he can't touch.
When he's more tired than usual he thinks he sees things out of the corner of his eye, but when he
moves to look at them they disappear, like trying to focus on faint stars in the night sky.

Two weeks since everybody started to forget about Lavender Brown, and Harry stands at his
kitchen window, eyes fixed on the narrow alley that runs down the side of the house. He's locked the
kitchen door so he knows that he's the only one in the room, and as such he can give the window his
undivided attention. The alley remains empty as it has done all day. His stomach rumbles and he
sighs. He turns away from the window and then freezes, his body going tense as he hears a shrill
whistling floating through the air, faint but real.
He shakes his head but it doesn't go away, and he realises with horror that the sound isn't in his
head, it's in his house.
He runs across to the door, swearing as he tries to yank it open, before he pulls his wand out and
removes the locking charm. The door crashes against the wall behind it and the whistling grows
louder, the sound drifting through the hallway. Desperate, Harry turns his head each way to find the
sound and runs after it, stumbling and staggering in fear and haste.
He chases the sound up to the attic, his heart pounding and his mouth dry, but the moment his foot is
on the rickety wooden stairs it stops. He grips the banister and slumps against the wall, his knees
shaking and his heart fluttering madly inside his ribcage. Leaning heavily against the wall, he
swallows thickly, suddenly wishing that he wasn't alone.
Making his feet move, he steps back down into the house. The stairs beneath his feet groan and
creak like a forest in high wind, his heart still thuds like the footsteps of soldiers along a bridge.
The whistling starts up again.
His eyes widen behind his glasses and he lurches into action again, stumbling from room to room,
panicked and desperate. He feels like he's going to be sick as he follows the sound to his bedroom
and he edges in step by step, wishing it would leave him alone.His shaking fingers tighten around the
doorknob, cool and smooth under his fingers, as he realises that the noise is in his wardrobe. He
steels himself and lets go, stepping closer and closer, the sound growing louder and louder, making
him shut his eyes involuntarily, forcing them open long seconds later. He curls his fingers around the
handle of the wardrobe, holding his wand tightly in his other hand. He counts silently to three, and
then yanks the door open, his wand pointing inside as the mirror hung on the back of the door clatters
with the movement.
The whistling stops. All there is in the wardrobe are his clothes, old school books and his tatty old
trainers. Harry curses under his breath and turns away, and then screams as the full length mirror
shows red hair, freckles and blood, standing just behind him. He panics and smashes the mirror with
his fist, cursing and shaking as he wheels around to find the room empty.

He runs. He haphazardly packs a kit bag of clothes, hands shaking violently, pulls the hood of his
jacket up over his head and then apparates away from the house. He ends up in Diagon Alley and
ducks his face away from the stares of passers by as he swiftly makes his way to the far end. His
destination is the Sphinx and Dragon Inn. The side of the building looks down onto Diagon Alley but
its front and the entrance lie turned away from the main thoroughfare on a small side street, which
means that he can slip in and out unseen if necessary. The sun is setting and the sky is a malevolent
orange colour that feels unfriendly and oppressive. It's too warm but Harry shivers anyway, ducking
down the small dim side alley and slipping into the Inn.
One hundred galleons and Room Four is his, with a promise of discretion from the innkeeper, and
a fake name in the log. Room Four is perfect; on the top floor, up a creaky set of stairs and the lone
room on the end of a long, straight corridor. If anyone comes up, he'll hear them on the stairs and then
have plenty of time to get to the door before they traverse the corridor. There's only two doors inside
the room; the one that leads to the corridor and the one to the small en-suite bathroom. He feels better
once he takes the door to the bathroom off of its hinges and slips it under the bed. Now there's only
one door and one window to watch.
The taps in the bathroom drip all day and all night, a sound he quickly becomes accustomed to, a
soft background soundtrack to his new life in Room Four. The whole room creaks and groans; the
dark mahogany furniture is old and tired. The walls are a deep faded red, their former opulence lost
over the years. The bedspread is patchwork with a hole in the corner but Harry doesn't care; the bed
is comfortable enough for when he manages to sleep anyway. The window looks out onto Diagon
Alley, and there are hundreds of people to watch pass by as the day goes on. It makes him slightly
nervous, but he can just see the opening to the small side-alley which leads to the door of the Inn, so
he knows if anyone might be coming his way.
He has peace, uneasy, sour peace for two days. For two nights he sleeps without thunderstorms,
and he spends his day quietly by the window, watching everyone walk past, shopping and carrying on
with their lives as if nothing ever happened. Once, he sees a figure halt in the street below his
window, wearing a black cloak with the hood pulled up over their face. He tenses, fingers clenching
in the material of the curtain and his other hand going for his wand. He's starting to think that there are
still Death Eaters out there; he knows that not everything has been made perfect by the fall of
Voldemort, and he's waiting, just waiting for them to find him. He lifts his wand, standing tall and
straight and tense, and then the figure is joined by a small child and they both proceed along the Alley
to Gringotts.
Maybe next time, Harry thinks, lowering his wand.
That night he sleeps restlessly, tossing and turning, his mind fixed on the cloaked figure that had
paused beneath the window. He can't trust anyone that he doesn't know. Voldemort came back once,
and paranoia starts to grow as he contemplates what will happen if it transpires that he's missed a
Horcrux somewhere -
Right on cue, a whistling noise rends through the air. He snaps his eyes open and he sits upright,
eyes darting about the room. He screams and chokes, lungs empty of air, and scrambles backwards as
he sees Fred stood at the end of his bed, spattered in blood and grinning happily, his fingers between
his lips. He pulls them away and the whistling stops.
"Thought you were never going to wake up," he says.
"You – no," Harry manages, now frozen in place with his back pressed painfully against the
headboard. "How – you can't be here, you're not real."
He can't process it, can't understand how he's talking to Fred when he knows that they buried him
weeks ago. At least he thinks he knows – no, he saw Fred fall in the final battle, he can't be standing
here talking to Harry like it's something he does every day. For a desperate moment Harry thinks –
hopes – that he's dreaming but somehow he knows he's not. The air is warm and the moonlight that
spreads across the bed is perfect and still.
"I don't think," Fred says carelessly, brushing dirt off of his shoulders, "you're in any place to
discuss what's real and what's not."
"No," Harry says, and he shuts his eyes and clamps his hands over his ears. "You're not here.
You're not. You're dead."
"Yep," Fred says, casual as you please. He rubs his cheek and blood smears across his skin, thick
and congealing. "Most definitely."
There's a roaring in Harry's ears and his eyes fight for control as they roll back into his skull. He
reaches out desperately for something to hold onto, but the roaring gets louder and everything goes
black, sinking into nothingness.

Despite the unwelcome visitor that Harry is sure hasn't gone far, he doesn't want to leave his room.
Unfortunately he has to; he has friends that aren't dead that probably want to know thathe'sstill alive.
He's invited to the Burrow for dinner and against his instinct he accepts, only because Hermione has
promised it will just be the three of them. He leaves only after he checks the window and the door in
Room Four, casting warding spells that will warn him if anyone had been up to his room whilst he's
gone. Ten more galleons and the innkeeper promises that housekeeping won't try and go in.
There aren't enough galleons in the world to silence Hermione. She greets him first, hugging him
tightly as he steps out the floo into the kitchen of the Burrow.
"Where have you been?" she asks, looking him over like she's his Healer. "We've been worried
Harry gently pushes her back, smiling wanly. She's warm and real under his hands, so very
different from the shadowy figure that he's convinced himself he didn't see. "Just stayed at the Leaky
for a while," he lies, not quite willing to share the safety of Room Four with anyone. "Needed to get
out of my own head for a while, you know?"
"Yes, but please tell us before you just vanish!" She bites her lip and watches as Harry moves
away and slips into a chair at the table. Ron barrels in and repeats the sentiments, and Harry lies and
reassures him, too. He's tired, almost exhausted, his body and mind strung wired and tense, so he's
happy just to sit and listen to Ron and Hermione chatter. In fact, their voices are familiar and soothing
and it makes him feel a little bit safe for the first time in days.
They talk about the house they've got their eye on in – of all places – Godric's Hollow. Harry can't
understand why they would go back there but they seem happy, so he listens and nods with a smile on
his face, thankful that they're close to him. He feels so safe that they manage to persuade him to go
outside, a trip to Diagon Alley. Andromeda wants some flowers for Teddy to take to Tonks and
underneath the haze that his world has become Harry feels a stir of duty towards his Godson, enough
to propel him through the floo after Ron and Hermione.
It's a disaster.
The sun is too bright and there are too many people. The brown cobbles of Diagon Alley shimmer
in a soft haze of heat beneath the crowd's feet as they push and press and shout and cry.
"Mister Potter!"
"Harry, over here!
"Potter, a quick question?"
They're so bright. Robes and faces of every colour, jostling for space and attention. Ron's cursing
and trying to cast another shield charm to push people back. The sunlight glints off of someone's
earrings. Blonde hair glows in the sun. Green and red and yellow and orange robes flutter. The sky
above is a perfect cornflower blue, endless and unreachable.
They'd managed to buy the flowers, but the three of them together are unmistakable, a beacon to
people who still strain to find answers from them, who want to get close, to just be in the presence of
the three that defeated the Dark Lord. Harry wishes they would go away. He doesn't have any answers
for them.
As chaos reigns around him, Harry stares down at the bright pink blooms in his hands, looks at the
yellow stripe running across each petal, right to the very tip. The leaves are deep green but as he
stares they grow lighter, brighter, until they are the very same green as a burst of light. The crowd
howls like thunder. A tinny whistling grows in his ears and he twitches reflexively. He misses
Hermione's look of alarm, and all he can hear is the shrill whistling, louder and louder, drowning out
the noise of the crowd as he stares.
He should help. He should fight, stand up for himself and his friends. He can't. He's so tired.
He shuts his eyes for a long moment, and when he opens them the world is grey and the whistling
has stopped. His eyes widen as he lifts the flowers in his hands; they too are made up of a
monochrome palette, white and black and every grey in between. He looks up at the crowd.
They're all black and white, too. Muted and soft, the riot of colour and the haze of heat gone to
nobody-knows-where. Before he can work out what had happened, a hand grabs hold of his wrist and
he's yanked almost off his feet as they apparate away. The flowers fall to the cobbles and are
trampled beneath the feet of the crowd who still push and shove, frustrated and disappointed that their
heroes have abandoned them.
Harry collapses into a kitchen chair back in Grimmauld Place. He rubs his eyes hard and then
looks around his kitchen. Everything is still grey. He doesn't panic; instead he's filled with a curious
sense of detachment, and bizarrely he also feels something that seems almost like relief. Voices wash
over him again and he relaxes, Tonks and Teddy and the flowers already forgotten. He thinks that
maybe everything will be all right; without colour to define them the sharp edges of the world have
gone, and it jars less against his senses -
A grey figure decorated in silver blood. They're standing in the doorway, and Harry hears a bark-
like laugh coming from the room beyond. He stands up sharply, his chair screeching on the floor, and
ignores the protests and questions from Hermione and Ron. He's all but forgotten that they're there as
he chases the figure from the room, his heart pounding. He freezes in the doorway of the sitting room
as he comes across four figures, lined up against the back wall like they're his firing squad.
Panic floods his veins and he screams, wanting them to go away, for this all to stop. Something
inside him breaks, and his control abandons him.
"Leave me alone!" he bellows, his voice cracking as he grabs a book from the shelf next to him
and hurls it across the room. It sails through the figure that is second from the left and hits the glass-
fronted cabinet next to the window which shatters, dropping glass on the carpet. He draws his wand
and the mirror above the fireplace smashes, too.
"Harry, no!"
Hermione's shriek sounds petrified, above the sounds of smashing glass and the tinny screeching in
his ears. Marching feet tramp past, unerring and resigned to their fate as guardians of the castle. He
can feel the night air, cold on his skin and then the scorching heat of flames, licking their way across
the wall.
"Leave me alone!" he howls, grabbing his hair and turning away, trying to get away from the black
and white people who will soon take to following him everywhere he goes.
Fred laughs, Sirius rolls his eyes, Lavender giggles and Cedric smiles quietly.

He runs. Back to Room Four, hiding away where no-one can follow or find him. He pulls his wand
out and mutters several charms to render the room untraceable. No more owls will find him, no more
invites to disasters. He collapses onto his bed, face pressed to the scratchy woollen blanket and
exhaustion steals him away.

And he's in the Forbidden Forest, and this time he's changed his mind, and he doesn't want to die.
He tries to run but branches burst from the ground, winding their way up and around his feet to his
knees. He tries to pull himself free, grabbing the wand he'd stolen and trying to sever the branches,
succeeding only in cutting his legs. Silver blood falls to the dead leaves and bracken on the floor, and
then his mother floats in front of him as Bellatrix shrieks with laughter in the background.
"Just stand still," Lily whispers, grey and sad. "Stand still and it will all be over."
"I don't want to die," Harry says, and then the world goes black.
He opens his eyes, shivering. He's on the floor next to his bed, his cheek pressed to the carpet.
Hands grab him and Fred hauls him to his feet, passing him his glasses.
"Calm down," Fred says, his black and white form frowning. He pushes Harry back onto the bed,
steadying him. The room is quiet save for the drips of the taps in the bathroom and two sets of quiet
"You're not going to go away, are you?" Harry asks finally. "You're in my head, or a ghost or
"No. I'm not going away," Fred says, turning his head to gaze out of the window. Harry cringes at
the sight of his face, all blood-spattered and bruised.
"Why?" Harry asks hoarsely.
Fred shrugs and after a moment, Harry nods, all of a sudden too weary to even worry about people
or Death Eaters or even ghosts. He just wants to sleep.Everything has changed since he threw his fit
of temper at Grimmauld Place. Now Hermione and Ron look terrified around him, trying to act
normal whilst shooting each other meaningful glances, making discreet suggestions about visiting a
mind-healer. Harry ignores them, uncaring. He feels like he's crossed from one plane of existence to
another, and he's now resigned to the fact that Fred and the others aren't going anywhere. It's weary
but resolute, and suddenly Hermione and Ron seem much too far away for him to think about.
"Okay," he says, the words stirring the stale air around him. "Fine. Follow me all you like. Just –
no being a dickhead, all right?"
Fred cackles with delighted laughter as Harry rolls back over and goes back to sleep.

"I wish it just wouldn't," Harry says, his voice hoarse. It's been weeks and weeks since the last
box went six feet down. Now when he runs through the castle in his nightmares, he trips and falls into
his own perfectly oblong six-foot hole. Dirt starts to fall and he wakes screaming as it fills his mouth
and eyes and ears.
At the end of his bed, Fred swings back on a chair and grins at him. "Well that's not up to you now,
is it, short-arse?"
Fred really isn't so bad, if Harry doesn't focus too much on the fact that he's dead. He comes and
goes as he pleases, and normally has something rude or insulting to say. Harry thinks maybe if he
plays along, Fred will go away.
At first, he doesn't dare examine the small part of himself that hopes Fred will stay. It grows
stronger every day, and soon Harry starts to look forwards to the unexpected visits. Fred understands
what it's like. He doesn't mollycoddle or fuss or stare at Harry looking concerned. He just makes bad
jokes and throws things at the back of Harry's head when he's not expecting it.
"What are you, a fucking poltergeist?" Harry fumes, rubbing his head and kicking away the book
that lies crumpled at his feet.
"Call me Peeves," Fred says solemnly and then grins until Harry cracks and smiles right along
with him.

Harry drains his tumbler of firewhiskey and slides it across the bar. The barkeep doesn't say a
word, just nods and gives Harry more. The bar is busy enough for Harry to blend in, but not so full
that claustrophobia threatens. It's as grey as the rest of the world has remained since that day buying
flowers in Diagon.
"You're going to end up stinking drunk, sat all by yourself."
Harry turns to glare balefully at Fred, who has taken it upon himself to occupy the barstool next to
Harry's, sprawling back with his elbows on the bar.
"Don't get me wrong," Fred says conversationally as he picks up a drink of his own and takes a
sip, setting it back on the bar with a thud. "I think it's great you've managed to get out by yourself. I
thought for a while there you were never going to leave that room."
Harry doesn't admit that the only reasons he left were because firstly he'd ran out of alcohol, and
secondly the people in the room below his were having a screaming match. The noise and thuds and
bangs had sent his nerves on edge, and by that time he'd drunk just about enough to ward off the fear
of being attacked if he left the building.
"I was by myself until you turned up," Harry says grumpily. The barkeep looks up, confused.
"Yes, but to everyone else you're alone." Fred grins, and turns his head towards Harry. Harry's
stopped cringing at the sight of Fred's face by now, all the silver blood on his grey form. He just sighs
and drains his drink.
"Why don't you go and haunt George?" Harry asks, staring out across the wooden surface of the
bar. The thin lines of the grain in the wood weave and bend for a moment before settling back into
their places, still and silent.
"I'm not haunting you, dummy," Fred says, sounding as exasperated as ever as he twists to face the
same way as Harry. "This is completely down to you." He raps his knuckles against Harry's temple
and Harry brushes him away with a scowl.
"Not getting easier?" Fred asks, and a drop of blood falls onto the bar. Harry wipes it up with a
finger, idly smearing silver between his thumb and forefinger.
"You're still here, aren't you?" Harry asks flatly, and his point is made.
"I suppose I am," Fred says, and then he's gone. Harry sighs and leans on the bar with his forearms.
The barkeep slides another glass his way and Harry necks it in one. It tastes like blood, the lingering
flavour of silver on his tongue.

Harry has forgotten what colours look like. He can't remember which shades of grey correspond to
the colours they once were. He knows Fred's hair used to be ginger but he just can't figure out what
it's supposed to look like. The only colour he does remember is a bright vivid green that he'd much
rather forget about anyway.

"Keep up, speccy. Someone I want you to see."

Harry wrenches his arm out of Fred's grip, looking cross. "You're not real, stop dragging me
"Make me." Fred replies, and saunters off down Knockturn Alley. Harry growls and then follows,
ignoring the wide-eyed fearful look thrown his way by Madam Malkin, who is just leaving her shop
for the night. He pulls his hood up further so it casts his face in shadow.
The sky above him rumbles, angry and dark as Harry steps onto Knockturn. His eyes take a while
to adjust, seeing in the dark isn't an easy business when everything's grey. He's uneasy and angry with
himself that he's followed Fred out of Room Four. What was he thinking? There could be countless
faces that would recognise his in an instant.
"Fucking ghosts," Harry snarls as Lavender Brown eyes him from a darkened doorway. He averts
his eyes. He's become used to most things he sees, but Lavender's mangled throat still makes his
stomach turn.
"We're not ghosts," Fred repeats for the thousandth time, right behind him. Blood drips onto the
shoulder of Harry's t-shirt and he wipes it away impatiently.
"Stop it."
He follows Fred further and further into the maze. Stone walls either side grow higher and higher,
towering above him. The stones shift and creak threateningly, moving closer by inches.
He stops outside a doorway and in the blink of his eyes Fred is gone. He is alone. The door is
silent and still, and Harry wonders what colour its peeling paint would be if everyone were alive. He
reaches out and runs his fingers over the splintered wood, feeling curious over why Fred has led him
Taking a deep breath, he pushes the door open, the creak of its hinges immediately swallowed by
the noise from within.
It's a bar, a dark, smoky room full of dull pounding music. The air is close; every breath he takes in
feels too warm and stale. Countless bottles line the shelves behind the bar, glinting in the dim light.
Patrons crowd around tables, heads momentarily lifted and eyes staring at the stranger who has just
arrived in their midst. It feels like pollution in here, Harry decides, ignoring the unfriendly stares.
Brittle and oppressive. Lazy and jaded.
He hears Fred but doesn't see him. He turns away from the bar and with a shock to his heart he
sees a familiar figure stood nearby.
"He grew up all of a sudden, didn't he?"
"Shut up, Fred," Harry says aloud, unable to tear his eyes away from Draco Malfoy. He's tall and
far too skinny in his dark trousers and shirt, and he's so pale he's on the same spectrum as the weak
autumn sunlight that Harry left behind on Diagon. The music throbs and pounds like industrial
machinery, and Harry's heart beats along with it.
What is he doing here? Is he even real? Harry knows that after the war the last of the Malfoys fell
like dominoes. Draco certainly looks real to Harry, but then again so does Fred and the rest of them
who seem to spend all their time skulking around after Harry in the shadows.
Draco turns towards Harry and as he spots him his eyes widen and Harry's heart stops.
Draco's eyes are violet.
Harry steps forwards without thinking. Spiders skitter away under his feet, running away to hide in
the darkest corners of the room. Harry keeps walking as Draco stares at him, his gaze both clouded
and sharpened with alcohol. He looks drunk, and he looks scared.
Harry reaches him and Draco watches with wide purple eyes as Harry takes hold of his tie and
pulls him sharply forwards, staggering and stumbling. No-one in the bar even looks in his direction as
he pulls Draco a bit closer, hungrily staring at those violet eyes. Why can he see them? Why aren't
they as grey as the rest of the world?
"Give me a break, Potter," Draco finally says, swaying slightly. "I just buried my mother."
Harry doesn't let go. "And here I was thinking they'd buried you."
Draco laughs. He tips his head back and laughs so hard he nearly falls over. It sounds strange,
clashing on Harry's senses like broken glass. He hasn't heard anyone laugh in forever. They weren't
supposed to be laughing yet.
"They might have done for all I know."
"Are you dead or drunk?" Harry asks.
Draco steps up close, so close that his nose nearly touches Harry's and all Harry can see is violet.
"A little bit of both."

The clock on the wall ticks far too loudly. Ron and Hermione are out of sight just through the
doorway, their whispering voices a rustle like autumn leaves. Ginny kneels at Harry's feet where he
sits in an armchair, the cushions deep and soft. Her hand is on his knee and she's grey and sad and
silent. A thousand miles away.
"You could come here," she says. Her voice is too light and it's trembling. "Stay with us."
She's trying to sound casual, like it's just a suggestion because they miss Harry being about, rather
than an intervention because they all think he's gone around the twist.
"Nah, I'm fine," he says with a smile. "Wouldn't want to intrude. I'm happy staying at Grimmauld
Place, you know I am."
She bites her lip and looks away. A memory fights to surface in Harry's mind, a memory of friends
and people who can help, who can care for him and make everything all right again -
It's forgotten in the blink of an eye as Harry remembers Draco and his purple eyes. He can't stay at
the Burrow. If he stays they'll never let him out back down Knockturn and then he'll never find out
why Draco's eyes are fucking purple.
He'll have to give up Room Four.
"I miss you," she says.
Harry shakes his head and puts his hand on hers as he lies to her face. "I'm right here."
Behind her, Fred pulls a face and Harry wants to laugh. He's wanted to laugh ever since Draco
broke the taboo. Ginny's face turns worried frown. The whistling starts up again and it gets louder and
louder as Harry watches Ginny's mouth move again, not hearing any of her words.

Draco is easy to find.

Violet is easy to find.
Fred cackles when Harry tells him.
"You've completely lost the plot, now, Harry. Ghosts and Malfoys!"

When Harry finds him again, he's drunk and collapsed in a heap in the back of the same bar with
the polluted light. There's no industrial music this time of day, just the mutter of conversation, the
thuds of glasses being set down atop tables, and Draco's laboured breathing. Harry kicks him and his
eyes struggle open, violet in the gloom.
"Oh god. I'm going to be sick. Go away, Potter. I hate you."
He grabs hold of the table next to him and struggles to his knees, breathing hard. His eyes flutter
shut and he dips his head low in front of him, swaying slightly. His hair is a mess, and there's dirt on
the back of his neck.
"I want to talk to you."
Harry squats down next to him and takes Draco's chin in a tight grip, forcing his face up.
"Please don't hurt me," Draco says, screwing his face up. His breath is heavy and thick with
alcohol. Harry debates punching him right in the face. He owes him a broken nose, right? But now
Draco's a ghost it seems a bit pointless, and besides, the purple is more important than a petty
Behind the bar, a door creaks open and thuds shut. A dry voice cackles with laughter and a glass
clinks against another. Harry glances around, hating that he's got his back to the room.
"Come on," he says, letting go of Draco's chin and standing up. "You're coming with me."
"I'm not," Draco says, petulant and tearful. "I'm not, I'm not, I'm not."
"Fine. Stay here and rot," Harry says, and kicks him again for good measure.
Draco bursts into bitter tears and swipes at Harry's legs with his hand, hitting at him ineffectually.
"Fine," he manages to choke through his tears. "All right."
Harry grabs him under his arms and heaves him to his feet, pulling an arm over his shoulders.
Draco's hands are filthy too.
"You're the most pathetic ghost I've met so far," Harry says.
Draco laughs and cries at the same time, the sound a choked sob. "I know I am."

Harry dumps Draco on the bed in his room in an undignified sprawl of limbs, his elbows and
knees bent at awkward angles. The springs in the mattress scream in protest and the wooden legs
groan tiredly.
"Welcome to Room Four."
Draco forces himself up until he's almost sitting, his weight resting back on shaky arms. "Are you
going to kill me?"
Harry laughs, and wonders if he could kill these ghosts all over again if he tried. He locks the door
and checks the window and the bathroom before turning back to Draco who is looking steadily more
and more frightened.
"What kind of stupid question is that?" he asks. He sits down on the edge of the bed and reaches
out to touch Draco's temple. Draco flinches.
"You're going to – you want to hurt me. Torture me. For what I did."
"By my records, you did fuck all that's worth remembering," Harry snorts. "Except not selling me
out in the manor and letting me steal your wand."
"Have you still got it?"
Harry draws it out of his pocket and waves it in Draco's face. His eyes struggle to follow it, his
vision blurred by alcohol and then he reaches out to grab it, his fingers closing on air in the space that
is left as Harry whips the wand back out of Draco's reach. Quick as a flash, Harry has him flat on his
back on the bed, one hand pressed to Draco's chest and the other pointing the wand between his eyes,
pressing hard enough to leave a mark on the white skin.
"Play nice," he says, his tone threatening.
Tears leak from Draco's closed eyes, leaving tracks down his face and dampening the blanket
beneath his head. Harry's irritated by the tears and wishes Draco would open his bloody eyes. "What
do you want with me?"
"I," Harry says and takes the wand away, "just want some company."
Draco's eyes snap open and he frowns. "From me? Are you mad?"
Harry doesn't tell him the real reason he's brought him here. Instead leans over and slaps Draco
gently across the cheek, making him flinch again. "Completely and utterly. That a problem?"
Draco eyes him carefully, and then he shakes his head. "Promise you won't hurt me?"
Harry puts the hand holding Draco's wand over his heart. "Cross my heart, hope to die."
"Fuck you," Draco says, his voice trembling. He doesn't dare try and sit up again.
"I promise," Harry says shortly. "All right?"
Draco nods slowly, and his body seems to relax. His fists unclench and his shoulders sink back
onto the patchwork blanket. He swallows and Harry watches as his Adam's-apple bobs in his throat
before looking hungrily back to Draco's eyes. Draco holds his gaze for a second and then looks away,
swallowing thickly again and staring at the ceiling.
Chapter 2

Part two.
"What are you reading?"
"Shut up," Harry replies automatically, his eyes not lifting from the worn pages of the book on his
"I know that book. It's Dark Magic."
"Shut up," Harry says again. "I know what's in it, thanks."
He hisses in irritation as the mattress dips next to him. Draco sprawls out over the mattress on his
side, and his eyes are wide, his pupils huge and shiny. His expression is one of neutral curiosity, like
a small child exploring the world around them for the first time.
Draco has been in Room Four for a week. Seven whole days and Harry hasn't tried to kill him all
over again. He's not that bad really; death has certainly improved his disposition. That and the vast
array of alcohol he consumes in lieu of eating, along with glittering vials of potion that make the
world spin and everything seem much calmer. Harry doesn't quite trust the glittering potions; when
Draco manipulates him into taking them - slyly calling him scared until Harry snaps and just drinks
the damn thing to make him shut up - he forgets he's supposed to be on lookout and he knows that he
needs to remain vigilant.
"Why are you looking at Dark Magic? You're Harry Chosen One Defender of Light Potter," Draco
says in one breath, with a slight curl of his lip.
Harry ignores him. He's got his hands on as many books as possible to try and solve the riddle he's
been presented with, and many are concerned with Dark Magic. In the thousands of pages he's hoping
to find some explanation as to why the world has gone black and white, and more importantly, why
Draco's eyes are purple. The process of hunting for an answer makes the void in his chest diminish
slightly, and he hopes that when he finally works it out then ache will vanish completely.
"Pot-ter," Draco whines. "Don't ignore me."
Harry kicks out at him in irritation, his foot hitting him in the ribs. "God, you're such a fucking pain
when you're drunk. Go back to hating me."
"What's the point in hating you? I'm dead," Draco sulks. "And I've been kidnapped. I'm making the
best out of a bad situation."
"As am I," Harry says vaguely, and then looks up, raising his wand. "Sit still. Mutatio Ostrum."
Draco flinches as Harry points his wand at him. His hair ruffles as if a breeze has just passes over
him, and then he cautiously opens his eyes. Harry swears softly, seeing that they're still purple.
"Potter!" Draco sits up looking furious, and punches Harry on the shoulder. "Don't just cast spells
on me - what did that even do?"
"Shut up, Malfoy," Harry says, sounding bored. He turns a page, looking for something else that
might explain the circumstances he's found himself in. Out of the corner of his eye he sees Draco
swing at him again, and quick as a flash he drops his book and grabs Draco, pushing him over and
pinning him on his back on the bed.
"Stop being such a brat," he says, his face inches from Draco's.
Draco stares back, his breath whispering over Harry's face, and then his eyes narrow almost
imperceptibly before flicking to Harry's mouth and back again, and Harry sees the shadow of
something stirring beneath the violet. He lets go of Draco hurriedly and sits back, feeling slightly
uneasy. Second later he thinks he might have imagined it, because Draco is rolling around and
hiccuping and complaining about being manhandled and doesn't look threatening in the slightest.
Shaking his head, Harry goes back to his book.
It doesn't seem like it now, but he'll soon find out that sharing Room Four will be easier than he
first expected. Draco will settle in on the left hand side of the bed and he'll disappear and appear as
he pleases, but he'll always obey Harry's order to be back by dusk. He'll be quiet and noisy in turn,
his mood changing like the weather. Sometimes he'll cry and Harry will want to throttle him, and
sometimes he'll scream at Harry and blame him for everything and Harry will actually goto throttle
him, pinning him to the wall with his hands around Draco's pale neck, but he'll remember that he
promised not to hurt him and let him collapse to the floor, panting.
He won't tell Draco why he wants him to stay, though. He daren't give away how important
Draco's eyes are to him, the one flash of colour in a black and white world. He's not entirely sure why
Draco does consent to stay without any explanation from Harry, but occasionally Harry will catch
Draco staring at him from across the room with that funny look in his violet eyes, and it will make
Harry shiver.
Harry will watch Draco as he sleeps, on his back atop the patched covers, and he'll grow to like
Draco when he's asleep, quiet and comfortable. The only problem will be that his eyes are shut so
Harry is left in his colourless world until he awakes. Sometimes Harry will wake him up on purpose,
because it doesn't matter if Draco is scowling. His eyes will be purple anyway.

"God, look at you," Hermione says, pushing Harry's hood back and smoothing his hair back from
his forehead with her hands. "You're a mess. When was the last time you had a shower?"
He twitches away, scowling, and pulls his hood back up. His hair falls untidily back over his
forehead, back over his scar. He glances to the window, then the door and then the window again. He
hadn't planned on seeing her today; he'd only been back to Grimmauld place to get some more clothes
and a few books. He supposes that it's proved his suspicion that he isn't safe coming back here,
especially considering that people can get in and out as they wish. He half suspects that she's set a
curse on the house so people are alerted when he returns.
"I'm fine."
"The hell you are," Hermione says, and her voice is trembling. "You've not been back here for
weeks by the looks of things. For God's sake Harry, this is your home."
Harry shakes his head. This isn't his home – this is a house that he can't bear to be in because it's
too big and too vulnerable, and every time he comes in that fucking whistlingstarts up again, tinny and
shrill. It's stopped for now but Harry's constantly on edge, straining his ears and waiting.
There's a rustle and the cracking of a twig outside the window. Harry freezes, his eyes wide and
fixed unblinkingly on the glass.
"Are you even listening? I swear, if you don't start explaining a little better I'll body bind you and
drag you to St. Mungo's myself."
"Hermione, I'm fine," Harry repeats, trying to keep calm and listen for noise outside the window
and talk to Hermione all at the same time. He misses how her lip trembles and her hands move by her
sides as if she wants to take hold of him. "I just don't like it here. Too many bad memories, you
Hermione's doesn't look as if she understands in the slightest. She looks to Harry, lost and
despairing, her eyes bright. Harry looks away so he doesn't have to see it.
"You're not doing anything stupid, are you?" she asks, trying desperately to hold onto the
conversation, to hold onto Harry.
Harry laughs. He thinks of Draco, and the row of empty bottles that they've started collecting in
Room Four, their inventory of their escapes from reality. It's easier to relax when Harry's head is
swimming in firewhiskey and Draco is wide-eyed from whatever it is he's eaten.
"No, just relaxing. Thinking."
Hermione doesn't look convinced. "Who are you with?"
Harry blinks as he remembers Draco's screams in the dead of night. "No-one."
There's another crack outside and Harry swears he hears a soft curse and a shadow flitter across
the panes. Shit, he wasn't careful enough when he left the Inn, and now he's been fucking followed.
The Death Eaters that are still out there know that he lives somewhere in Grimmauld Place, see, this
is exactly why he doesn't fucking go back anymore -
"Hermione, I have to go," he says and steps back towards the door.
"Don't you dare," she shouts, her voice shaking and her eyes hard. "Don't you dare run away from
us again, Harry -"
He turns on the spot and disappears with a crack. He reappears just outside the door to the Inn and
tears up to his room, up the creaky staircase and along the narrow corridor. The door opens at his
touch and he stumbles in, slamming the door. His heart is thudding like a drum as he locks the door
and runs to the window, yanking the threadbare curtains over the glass.
"What the hell?"
Draco is sat on the bed with a book on his lap, and Harry grabs him by the collar and drags him off
of the bed onto the floor.
"What the - get off!"
"Shut the fuck up," Harry hisses as he drops down too, laid half over Draco with his hands on his
biceps, pinning him to the floor. Draco instantly obeys and falls quiet. His breathing is shallow and
his heart is fluttering like a trapped bird. Harry holds his neck tense, his cheek only a few inches from
the tip of Draco's nose, his head turned to the side so he can listen. All he hears is silence and the
quiet sounds of their breathing.
"Are we okay?" Draco whispers after a while.
"I was followed," Harry whispers back fiercely. "Just shut up."
Draco swallows and nods and turns his eyes to the ceiling.

"It's like every time I close my eyes there's just all this stuff," Draco rants like he's been doing for
days, waving a bottle about, clutched in his right hand. He lifts it to his lips but doesn't take a drink
before he moves it away again. "And people think they know about stuffand they don't."
"Give it," Harry says, and takes the bottle from Draco. He's sprawled on the bed on his back and
Draco is sat on the edge of the bed next to his hip. Harry hasn't left the room in five days. Draco had
disappeared that morning, returning barely ten minutes later.
"You're drunk," Draco says as Harry takes a mouthful from the bottle, the liquid cold-burning his
throat on the way down. It settles in his stomach, cool like water on a hot summer day.
"How do you know?" Harry asks, passing the bottle back. Draco takes it, looking thoughtful.
"Because," he announces with alcoholised logic and certainty. "You're talking to me without trying
to strangle me."
"I'm always drunk," Harry says and Draco laughs, tipping backwards from his sitting position to
sprawl next to Harry. The bottle slops over his wrist and he licks the liquid off. He slowly raises his
eyes to Harry's and there it is again; that glimmer of something underneath the sea of violet, something
that is between a promise and want. Harry shivers, Draco blinks and the moment is gone. Harry is
relieved; he's starting to think that Draco's obsession with him through his life may have been down to
something else other than hate and he's not sure how he feels about that.
"You," Draco says, poking Harry's shoulder, violet eyes on Harry's face and apparently nice again,
oblivious to the subtext between them. "Are the perfect person for me to go insane with."
Harry agrees. "The irony certainly is fitting."
Draco grins. "Well, there is that. But here was me thinking that you're the only one who's got as
much reason as me to be insane."
"Keep drinking," Harry says. "You're less annoying when you're drunk."
Draco scowls. "Fuck you, scarhead."
The insult is so old that Harry laughs. Draco looks surprised for a moment as Harry laughs and
laughs and laughs, rolling around on the covers of the creaky bed, and then he joins in.

And they're at the top of the astronomy tower. The wind screams around them, cold and gripping,
and Bellatrix stands there, her wand pointing at them both. The sky is dark and heavy, slowly circling
clouds hanging low and menacing. Harry buries his face in Draco's shoulder and grips onto his T-
shirt, grips onto life. Bellatrix is cackling and laughing and reeling off the names of all the people she
killed, mocking and taunting.
"Make her go away," Harry says, his voice trembling. He moves his feet and stumbles as the force
of the wind threatens to pull them over the edge. He can barely keep his eyes open; they're watering
and stinging, barely protected by his glasses.
"Go away," Draco says quietly, and his words are torn away in the wind. A sob escapes Harry's
chest and then Draco screams. "Go away!"
The wind dies, the whistling in Harry's ears disappears. He looks up, and Bellatrix is gone. The
sun is breaking through lighter grey patches in the sky, the light strong and warm. He holds onto Draco
tightly who holds him back, an arm around Harry's waist. It's like the storm was never there, how
quiet and still everything is. The sun is warm on his arms.
He presses his face back to Draco's shoulder and breathes in deeply. He feels everything around
them twist and shift, and when he opens his eyes they're in their room in the Sphinx and Dragon and
Draco is on the other side of the room. He's rummaging in his bag and nattering on about something
inane, as usual. Harry watches him, his eyes lingering on the curve of Draco's spine and the shift of
his shoulder-blades under his shirt as he moves. He straightens up and in each hand is a small vial of
potion, the liquid swirling and glittering inside.
"Thought you'd like one," Draco says and he passes one to Harry with a grin. Harry takes it
without question; he's used to the different coloured pills and potions that Draco finds from nowhere,
although normally Draco lets him drink instead.
Draco is watching him intently, and then he uncorks the vial in his hand and necks it in one, his
long throat moving as he swallows.
"Go on."
Draco's voice is coaxing and gentle, so Harry follows suit, watching Draco all the while as he
uncorks his vial and drinks it slowly. He licks his lips as the taste of decadence slips down his throat
and then drops the vial to the floor, a muffled thud on the thin carpet. He sits down on the edge of the
bed and shuts his eyes as strange warmth steals through his body. He feels fingertips touch his cheek
and he gasps at the burning sensation it leaves, tingling and throbbing.
Unspecified wantcurls through his veins; an unrelenting desire to touch and hold and claim. His
heart thuds in his ears.
"What did you give me?" he asks, his back arching as Draco touches his chest with the tips of his
fingers, and then the flat of his palm.
"Don't hate me," Draco says and his voice is right there in Harry's head. "I just want -"
"What did you give me?"
"Nothing dangerous, I promise. Potter, please."
A hand wraps around the back of Harry's neck and pulls him close. Harry's breathing is shaky and
uneven, and there are voices whispering in the shadows, and then a mouth is against his and he grabs
hold of Draco's arms and pushes him back. Somewhere under the desire that's pulsing through him he
feels shock, almost drowned out by the need. The potion curses him for pushing Draco away, pulsing
painfully in his chest.
"Please," Draco whispers, and the feel of his hands on Harry's arms leaves more blissful trails of
flames on his skin. He gasps and then Draco kisses him again, his lips careful and gentle against
Harry's, leaving his head spinning. Harry's consumed with an all-encompassing desire to kiss him
back, and fights it only for a second.
"No, not like this," Harry says, even though he's now kissing Draco back, short quick kisses over
Draco's mouth and face even as he tries to stop himself.
"Yes," Draco says, returning the kisses desperately. "Exactly like this."

Familiar voices wake Harry the next morning. His head is pounding and his whole body aches. He
rolls over with a groan just in time to see Fred grab Draco by the collar and slam him up against the
"You fucking scummy little -"
"Fred!" Harry shouts, his voice cracking and hoarse. He struggles out of bed and grabs his
trousers, pulling them on and cursing under his breath as he grabs his glasses from the nightstand.
Draco is demanding to be let go, his voice high-pitched and cracking.
"What the fuck? Put him down." Harry walks over and grabs Fred's wrists, trying ineffectually to
get him to let go of Draco.
"He drugged you," Fred snarls and in a flash Harry remembers the night before. Kissing Draco,
fuelled by the potion in his blood. He remembers laying Draco on his back on the bed and moving
over him, Draco's legs wrapping around his waist. He remembers Draco's breath on his ear, hitching
as Harry moved, encouraging him to go more, faster, harder, the words blending seamlessly with the
potion which also urged him on.
Prickles of humiliation and anger roll through him. He ignores the sly voice in the back of his mind
that tells him he quite liked it, and instead focuses on the steadily rising anger that comes with the
realisation that Draco has managed to take advantage of him rather too easily.
He looks up at Draco who has now abandoned all bravado and is looking like he's going to cry.
"Potter – please put me down, I only wanted- " he begins and stops as Fred shakes him.
"Shut up," Fred says threateningly. "There's a line, Malfoy, and you fucking crossed it."
"You wanted it too -"
"Are you fucking insane? Who would want you?"
"Fred, let him go," Harry shouts, pinching the bridge of his nose between his fingers, pushing his
glasses out of the way. Fred looks to him, startled, and then lets go of Draco who slumps to the floor,
his legs unable to hold him up.
Eyeing him cautiously, Fred seems to weigh up the evidence at hand before speaking slowly. "You
actually wanted it?"
Harry straightens his glasses and looks down at Draco. His chest is heaving and he's staring up at
Harry, his eyes wide and his lips slightly parted. Some strange feeling twists up and down his spine,
and he doesn't think it's the remnants of the potion.
He shakes his head slowly, even as that same sly voice from earlier tells him he's lying. He turns
to Draco who is watching him with his jaw clenched tightly, looking almost hurt. Harry crouches
down next to him and carefully lifts his chin with a finger. Draco cringes, anticipating violence. Part
of Harry wants to oblige; to fucking kill Draco for managing to get one over on him and taking
advantage like that. But another, stronger part of him knows that he can't beat Draco to next week
because he needs those fucking purple eyes to stay.
"Do that again and I won't be so nice about it," he finally says, his calm tone belying the threat. He
stands up and breathes out deeply, running his hands through his hair.
"That's it?" Fred asks, sounding disappointed. "You're not going to kill him?"
"I'm already dead, idiot," Draco snaps, fending away Fred's foot as he kicks at him.
"Not worth it," Harry shrugs and then turns his face to Draco. "As far as I'm concerned, that never
happened," he says, his tone light but the carefully constructed threat still obvious. "I don't care what's
going on in that blond head as long as he keeps his hands to himself."
Draco crosses his arms over his chest and looks away, ignoring Harry's comment. Fred laughs and
Draco scowls up at him, apparently finding his voice and some petulance somewhere.
"Fucking wuss," Fred replies half-heartedly, not even bothering to look at him. Harry is though;
he's standing and watching Draco with a new interest, like he's not properly contemplated him before.
Sure, he knew there was something going on between them, some subtext which has rewritten their
history together and placed everything in a new context. Yes, he knows that Draco watches him and
he watches Draco, eyes sometimes lingering on the shift and shape of his body under his clothes, but
it had never meantanything. Not until now.
"I remember the days when you used to sleep with my sister," Fred says, affecting a reminiscent
"What?" Harry asks, distracted, eyes still on Draco who is trying his hardest not to look back.
"Ginny?" Fred says, looking amused.
Harry looks at Fred then, puzzled. The name echoes like a distant bell tolling in his memory, but it
fades and disappears into nothingness. He shakes his head, nonplussed.
The last time Harry leaves Room Four by himself, he tracks down Draco's grave. He finds it in a
small cemetery in Wiltshire, which he reckons must be pretty close to the Manor. The hedges are
neatly trimmed and the grounds are well kept. It would be quite beautiful if he could see the colours
of the flowers, he supposes.
Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy lie together under one headstone in the back corner of the cemetery.
Harry doesn't care. He kneels instead next to the small slab of white marble which sits between
Lucius and Narcissa and the dry-stone wall that marks the edge of the grounds.
He brushes away dead autumn leaves and traces his finger over the words 'Draco Malfoy.' To his
surprise he feels overwhelmed by something that could be regret. Is that all Draco amounted to? A
child-size piece of stone with nothing more on it than his name and some Latin? Harry shoves his
hand in his pocket and wraps his fingers around the wand that should lie buried with its owner.
Sighing, he mutters to himself as he reads the Latin inscription that rests below Draco's name, and
then he leaves, twisting on the spot and disappearing with a crack.
Draco looks up as he walks into Room Four and waits for Harry to complete his checks of the
window and door before speaking.
"You look terrible."
"What does 'mortui vivos docent' mean?
Draco looks at him, puzzled, and wrinkling his nose slightly in response to Harry's clumsy
delivery of the language.
"The dead teach the living. Why?"

"Fuck! Don't do that, you're worse than Fred!"

Harry jolts, his hands gripping the sink and his breathing heavy. In the mirror over the sink,
Draco's black and white form hovers in the doorway, having just appeared out of nowhere, scaring
the shite out of Harry in the process.
"Sorry," Draco says insincerely and then yawns widely.
"Where have you been?" Harry asks, picking up a towel and wiping his face and neck with it.
Draco's been doing this a lot the past few weeks; disappearing and appearing at random but he doesn't
normally make Harry jump like this. He suspects the bastard enjoys it.
"Around and about." Draco shrugs.
"Were you careful?" Harry asks, a warning edge to his voice.
Draco rolls his eyes. "Yes," he says, acting like a five-year old brat for a moment, and then his
countenance softens. "I'm always careful."
"I should hex you," Harry says contemplatively, eyeing Draco like he's an intriguing Charms puzzle
to be solved. "So if you try and mention where I am your throat closes up."
Draco flinches almost imperceptibly. "Who could I tell anyway?"
Harry snorts. "Good point."
Dropping the towel back onto the rack, he saunters past Draco who immediately tenses, his tall
frame going rigid as Harry walks past. He's through the doorway and walking towards the bed when
the floorboards creak behind him and he feels fingertips brush his shoulder. He turns and Draco
immediately steps back, swallowing and looking rather nervous all of a sudden. He clears his throat
as if he's about to speak and then thinks better of it.
"What?" Harry asks, nonplussed.
"You're going to be reading all day, aren't you?" Draco mutters, his eyes on the floor.
Immediately on guard, Harry eyes him warily. "Yes."
"What are you looking for?" Draco whispers, eyes lifting and full of uncertainty and confusion.
"I can't tell you," Harry says flatly, now understanding Draco's strange mood, knowing that every
now and again Draco remembers that Harry hasn't told him everything and gets frustrated by it.
Sometimes Harry wishes there were a way to give him something in return, if not as a thank you for
his compliance but at least to distract him from the fact Harry doesn't tell him everything.
"Okay," Draco sighs and his shoulders slump. He nods in resignation and acceptance and then
steps past Harry, moving towards the bed. Harry has a moment to feel taken aback at the lack of
argument, turning to frown at Draco -
Draco lunges at Harry, grabbing his arms and crushing their mouths together. Harry is taken off
guard and stumbles backwards, but Draco follows him, pressing their bodies together and thrusting
his tongue into Harry's mouth in a crude parody of a kiss.
Harry shoves him back, hard. He wipes his mouth on the back of his hand, ready to shout, but then
pauses. There's the lingering taste of something familiar in his mouth.
"What did you just do?" he asks carefully, swallowing convulsively.
Draco shrugs.
Draco lifts resentful eyes up to Harry's and then slowly sticks his tongue out. It's darker than it
should be and glittering with residue, and Harry realises he's been had.
"You fucker," he gapes, even as he feels familiar tendrils of warmth curling through his body. "I
told you -"
"Tough," Draco says, his expression triumphant. Fuck, all that insecure pathetic nonsense had been
no more than a fucking act.
"Don't touch me," Harry says wildly as Draco steps closer. Draco point blank ignores him and
reaches out, and the moment his fingertips touch Harry's arm he's lost. Tendrils of pleasure flare
across his body originating from the touch, decimating his self-control. Harry grabs hold of him,
fingers wrapping around Draco's arms, and Draco presses closer hungrily.
"You bastard," he chokes as Draco kisses his neck, making his back arch and trails of flame dance
across his skin. It feels so good and he hates it, hates that he likes it and hates the small part of him
that feels relieved that Draco has finally stopped dancing around him.
They fall back towards the bed and the potion in his blood is telling him that he needs to see as
much of Draco's skin as he possibly can. His hands move without permission and he's pulling at
Draco's clothes, stripping him bare. He's half in horror and half in awe as Draco hastens to help,
hooking his thumbs into his underwear and shoving it down, breathless and excited. The dose of
potion running through him isn't enough to blur what's happening, but it's still enough to compel him
"I know you want it, even if you won't admit it," Draco starts breathlessly, and Harry hates him for
knowing. He smashes his mouth to Draco's, cutting him off in an instant. Draco kisses him back, if it
can even be called that, and they're biting at each other's mouths and trying to pin the other to the bed,
rolling and tussling and somehow Draco is tugging at Harry's clothes. Harry's gloriously, achingly,
hard and he's giving in to the side of him that wants this.
"God, I hateyou," Harry pants and Draco just laughs, yanking Harry's trousers down.
"Can't get enough of me," he says and Harry shuts him up by kissing him again, biting down hard on
his lip. He pushes Draco's legs up roughly, pressing his knees against his chest. Draco throws a hand
out wildly and mutters something, and a vial flies out of his bag in the corner and into his palm. Harry
doesn't even bother to reprimand Draco for using magic; he just snatches the vial and tears the cork
out with his teeth.
He pours it over his fingers and over Draco's arse, throwing it away and ripping his trousers open.
He gasps as he pulls his prick out and Draco reaches down to touch, sliding his hand over slick
foreskin and making prickles of warmth throb through Harry's skin.
"Fingers," Draco gasps as he teases the head of Harry's prick between his fingers. "In me, come
Harry obliges, running his slick fingers down the crease of Draco's arse, flashes of memory
coming back to him as the touch reminds him he's done this before. It's so different this time; he can
feel everything and he knows that he'll remember every second. He moans shakily as he pushes a
finger into Draco's arse, trying to resist and unable to stop. Draco's spine arches and he cries out loud
and a rush of power curls through Harry's core, though whether the potion is causing it he doesn't
"Fuck me," Draco says, tone demanding, breathless and victorious all at once.
Harry does. He holds his hips back for only a second until the potion pulses painfully in his
stomach and he gives in. He edges forwards, still fully dressed with his trousers and pants pushed
down to mid-thigh, unable to tear his eyes away from the sight of Draco, panting and writhing and
slick and ready for him.
He shuts his eyes but the potion forces them open again and he curses, a sob rising in his chest. He
guides his cock to Draco's entrance and watches as it clenches at the touch. He takes a deep breath
and pushes and as Draco's body gives way to him, something else gives way inside his own heart. It's
like he's crossed a line that he won't come back from, but he can't fucking work out what it is, and he
feels like crying and celebrating all at once.
"Come here," Draco gasps, his chest heaving and his brow shining with sweat. He curls his hands
around Harry's shoulders and pulls him down on top of him. The motion pushes Harry further inside
of him and he cries out as he's further enveloped in tight heat.
"Shh," Draco says and he's trembling violently, his legs wrapped high around Harry's waist. He
brushes Harry's hair back from his forehead with both hands and the gesture feels familiar and
comforting. He gently wipes Harry's wet cheeks with his thumbs.
"Not like this," Harry chokes out, his hips starting to gently thrust of their own accord.
"There's no other way," Draco says, his voice uneven and punctuated by gasps. He cranes his neck
up and gently presses his mouth to Harry's, the kiss unlike anything they've shared so far.
The potion purrs contentedly in Harry's chest and he gives in, kissing Draco back and losing
himself in his body.

Harry wakes up sticky and sated and tangled up in Draco's limbs. Four seconds later he has
remembered exactly what events led to him waking up in this position, and responds by wrapping his
hands around Draco's neck, pinning him down to the bed.
"You fucking bastard," he snarls, fingers tightening and rage pulsing through his body. "I'm going to
kill you -"
Draco's face is turning shades darker, his hands pulling frantically at Harry's wrists and his legs
kicking out weakly. Even the purple isn't worth this, isn't worth being treated like a pawn in Draco's
sick games.
"He's already dead, dummy. He'll just come back again,"
Harry whips around to see Fred leaning against the wardrobe. Distracted, Harry lets the grip of his
fingers loosen slightly and Draco gulps in great gasps of air, coughing weakly. Fred quirks an
eyebrow at Harry and he realises the picture he and Draco must make. He flushes, humiliation
twisting with anger, and lets go of Draco completely, looking around for his clothes.
"I thought you wanted me to kill him last time," he spits, yanking his trousers up.
"I thought you actually wanted to back then," Fred says, sounding bored. "Now I'm not so sure."
"What?" Harry grabs his glasses and staggers out of bed, pulling his T-shirt back on. "He drugged
me, again."
Fred walks up to him and takes him by the elbow, pulling away and speaking quietly. "And he'll do
it again, I can tell you that. He's not as stupid as we like to think."
Harry stays silent, listening.
"He's as queer as they come and he wants you," Fred says, his voice low enough so Draco won't
hear. "He always has – that's why he's here. And he clearly wants you enough that he's willing to risk
a strangling. Use it to your benefit."
"You sound like a Slytherin," Harry mutters and Fred cackles and then is gone, the sound of his
laughter echoing distantly around the room. It fades and dies and Harry turns to look at Draco. He's
sitting on the edge of the bed, a sheet wrapped around his waist. He looks guilty and scared and Harry
can see fingermarks on his neck.
"You've got two minutes to explain," Harry says flatly.
Draco swallows, his jaw working. His eyes dart about over the carpet as if he's trying to keep
words in, but they finally spill out unchecked, tumbling over one another. "You're keeping me here
and you won't tell me why and this is the only miserable thing I get in return! I know you don't think
you want me, but fuck.I want you and when I can have you I forget all about your stupid books and
your stupid agenda you won't tell me about."
Ah. So there it is.
Harry walks over and crouches down in front of Draco, who shies away. Harry plants a hand on
his knee, keeping him in place.
"Stop drugging me," he says firmly and with the edge of a threat.
"So you don't mind me trying to get you into bed?" Draco asks instantly, his eyes going wide. "It's
the potion you're objecting to?"
Harry breathes out, rubbing his eyes and not wanting to think that maybe Draco's hit the nail on the
"Stop drugging me," he repeats, and Draco nods. Trembling fingers tilt his chin up and he obliges,
letting Draco lift his face up. Draco traces a finger along the bridge of his nose and their eyes meet,
and Harry feels something strange inside him.
"I can't tell you what I'm looking for," Harry says quietly. It's true; if he tells Draco how important
he is Draco will use it against him. "If you stop asking and if you stop bloody drugging me, you can
have me."
The deal hangs in the air between them. Fred is right; this way Harry can manipulate Draco's
desire for him and use it as something to keep the balance of power tilted to his own end. He can let
Draco think he's getting his way, and he can keep Draco here for as long as he needs him.
"I can have you?" Draco asks uncertainly.
Harry rises up onto his knees and leans forwards, brushing their mouths together.
"Yes," he says, and Draco closes the distance and kisses him.
It's Harry's turn to feel triumphant. Doing it like this is fine. It's on his terms and he's the one still in
control, no matter what Draco might think.

Harry reads and watches and reads and watches. He delves through hundreds of pages, trying to
find answers to his questions about Horcruxes and purple and dead people. Unfortunately, his delving
into script dealing with Dark Magic opens up a world that horrifies, fascinates and terrifies him. He
didn't know people could do a fraction of the things he's read about, and it fuels his paranoia. The
people who he watches from the window grow more menacing every day and his trust in strangers
fades and then completely disappears.
Harry will grow to need Draco, more than he realises. As he grows steadily more afraid of the
evil lurking outside the window in the alley below, he'll trust Draco more and more.
It helps that Draco will grow complaint and even pleasant now he has permission to touch Harry.
He does at every available opportunity; the moment Harry takes a break from watching the window
he'll be all over him. The moment Harry sets his book down Draco will be crawling into his lap,
kissing his face and reminding him you promised, just ten minutes, you said I could.
He gets used to it far too quickly; grows to expect and welcome the attention. It keeps Draco in
check and there's no denying that it makes him feel good.
He'll never tell Draco this of course; he doesn't deserve to know that Harry wants him too. He
might trust Draco more than he trusts the threatening figures that lurk outside and in the shadows, but it
doesn't mean he trusts him entirely.

Harry slowly draws the curtains over the window of Room Four, feeling so weary that his hands
can barely move. It's just gone three in the morning and Diagon Alley is empty, so he can finally
snatch some sleep before he has to be up on watch again at six.
He pads over to the bed and climbs onto it next to Draco. The bastard hadn't been about all day
and then appeared from nowhere at around seven, just to get into bed and fall asleep. Harry would
punch him for his audacity but he's just so tired, so instead he pulls his trousers and shirt off and slips
beneath the blankets next to Draco, wrapping himself around him.
Draco's breathing steadily and calmly, twitching minutely as he dreams. Harry brushes his hair
back from his forehead and wonders what ghosts dream about.
He's asleep within minutes.
And he's back at Hogwarts and he's in the ruined Great Hall. The debris is still and the dust has
settled, and in the corner cowers a familiar figure. Draco's eyes are flicking frantically to the group of
people advancing on him, towering over him and glaring at his shaking form.
"Look what you did," a tall freckled boy says forcefully, stepping up close. "Look what you did."
"You're scum," a girl with bushy hair says tightly and beside her, a round faced boy nods fiercely.
"Just leave Harry alone, you're making him worse."
"I'm not," Malfoy croaks. "I didn't mean to -"
"Shut up," someone snaps in an Irish brogue. "Just shut the fuck up, Malfoy."
"You just couldn't leave him alone, could you?" A girl with long straight hair and freckles across
the bridge of her nose steps forwards, her fists clenched and her wand in hand. A dark-skinned boy is
standing close behind her and looking disgusted. "You're obsessed with him. You always have been.
You just had to take him away from us."
"I didn't take anyone," Malfoy says wildly, looking from face to face, still cowering like a trapped
animal. "I'm not obsessed."
"Then why did you take him? You thought you'd get to share his podium just because you've got
him twisted around your little finger?" the tall boy says threateningly.
"No, I didn't take him, he took me -"
The bushy-haired girl laughs scornfully. "Don't lie."
"I'm not -"
"That desperate for attention, are you?" The Irish voice cuts across Draco's desperate arguments.
He steps forwards, and the wand in his hand turns seamlessly into a knife. "All right. Have it your
way if you're so obsessed with him."
He passes the knife to the tall boy, who grins, slow and menacing. "I think I know what you have in
"Harry, no," Draco says, the little colour in his face draining. His voice is tight and trembling.
"Harry, don't."
The group advance on him, and he disappears behind their legs. Harry watches, unable to move,
even as Draco starts to scream.
The knife flashes in the light. Blood drips like molten silver from Draco's forehead and runs
slowly down his face.
Chapter 3

Part three
Weeks pass. Days blur together. Nights fade. Harry leans against the wall by the window,
watching the street below with narrowed eyes. There's a wizard near the Apothecary that he's got his
eye on, a gentleman in a dark robe with a scar on his forehead. Every so often his eyes flicker up over
the Inn and Harry tenses, his fingers tightening around his wand. He relaxes a little as the man turns to
speak to the shopkeeper, and lets his mind play back to the question that he's been turning over in his
mind for some time.
"How did you die?"
As he calls out there's a splash from the bathroom and then silence, other than the steadily dripping
tap. Harry waits patiently and then hears the sploshing from the tub resume, the noise drifting through
the open door. He continues to watch the man who is still hovering outside the Apothecary, waiting
for him to make his next move.
It takes Draco forever to answer, but he does eventually.
Harry nods as if Draco is commenting on the weather. "Makes sense. You don't have any marks."
"Lucky me," Draco says tonelessly.
Harry snorts with laughter. In truth he's puzzled by Draco's answer; how did he manage to get
himself drowned? A killing curse would make more sense, and he thinks maybe that Draco's lying to
him. Why Draco would decide to lie is another riddle that Harry decides to leave until later.
He lifts his wand and his breath catches in his chest as the suspect outside moves, striding away
from the window. He grits his teeth and moves back a fraction so he can't be seen, and watches as the
man strides away down towards Gringotts. He waits to check that the man doesn't double back and
then finally moves away from the window. He saunters to the bathroom and leans against the
doorframe, his eyes resting on Draco who is reclining in the bath, his eyes shut and his breathing deep
and even.
Somehow, Draco senses Harry's eyes on him and opens his own. Predictably, he flushes and turns
his face away, sitting up and drawing his knees up to his chest.
"I'd really rather you put that door back," he says, trying to sound bored.
"Tough," Harry says.
Draco attempts a sneer, but Harry knows that Draco actually likes it when Harry watches. He can
tell by the way his breathing quickens and his skin darkens in a patchy flush, and he sort of wishes that
he could see what colour it would really be. Yes, the bastard loves it when he's the centre of Harry's
attention. It doesn't happen often; it's getting more and more dangerous outside, so Harry has to be on
his guard all the time.
"Get off on watching me in the bath, do you?"
"Maybe," Harry replies and he walks over to sit on the cold, hard edge of the tub, placing his
wand on the edge of the sink. Draco's skin is warm and soft in comparison so he runs his fingers over
it, pushing droplets of water off of his shoulders so they run down his chest.
Draco shivers and tilts his head to the side, wordlessly granting permission as if Harry would
need it. Harry leans in, his nose nudging Draco's jaw before he gently kisses his cheek. Draco's mouth
curves in an almost smile as Harry kisses him again, the faintest hint of a bite making his breath hitch.
God, it's so easy to get Draco to do what he wants these days, just a kiss here, a lick there and he's
practically tripping over himself to do whatever Harry says.
Harry trails a hand down Draco's chest, leaning over further so he can kiss Draco's collarbone and
reach down between Draco's legs. Draco moans shakily and leans back, and Harry feels the same
rush of power he always gets when he's reminded just how much Draco wants him.
Reaching up, Draco threads a hand into Harry's hair and pulls him around for a proper kiss, eager
and messy. Harry responds with fervour, kissing Draco back with all he has -
There's a bang from somewhere behind him and Harry wrenches himself away from Draco, his
heart in the base of his throat. Time seems to stop as he sits frozen in place, listening and waiting.
Another soft thud and then the sound of low, angry voices, and Harry realises in horror that they're
just outside the door. Fuck, he didn't even hear them coming up the stairs or along the landing, he
should have been watching the fucking window, not trying to get Draco on his fucking back. Harry
grabs his wand and dives for the door just as it crashes open, and there are people in masks pushing
in, shouting and aiming their wands at him -
"Stupefy! Impedimenta!"
One man falls and then Harry ducks as a light shoots over his head. The already cracked mirror on
the wall shatters as Harry aims another spell at a different man, hitting him square in the face.
"Incendio!" he howls, overtaken by rage and fear and a desire to protect, to hurt these people to
keep himself and his room safe, to get them to leave him alone. Robes go up in flames and someone
starts screaming and flashes of light are flying in all directions and the screaming gets louder.
Something red hot brushes Harry's arm and he sends a sectumsemprain response. Silver blood
spatters the wall and the wounded man falls and Harry doesn't even care, he just wants them to leave
him alone, god how many of them are there, they just keep coming and he can't keep this up forever,
ducking more flashes of light and the ground beneath his feet in shuddering and the room is shaking,
pictures falling and furniture toppling -
"Harry! HARRY!"
Someone is screaming his name. A hand grabs his and pulls him around; he cries out and
instinctively grabs the person back, pointing his wand between their eyes.
"Harry! Stop!"
Heart pounding, Harry looks into Draco's terrified face. His chest is heaving and he's clutching a
towel around his waist with one hand, holding onto Harry with the other and looking like he's too
scared to move.
"There's nothing there," Draco says, his chin trembling. "Harry, there's nothing there."
Harry drops his wand and his hold on Draco and spins around unsteadily.
He's alone.
All he sees is Room Four. The chair by the door is broken into matchstick size pieces. The mirror
is cracked even more and there are smoking black scorch marks on the wall near the door.
"There was someone there," he says forcefully, looking back to Draco. "You know there was!"
Draco shakes his head slowly, like he can't believe what he's hearing. The look on his face
infuriates Harry, makes him feel small and insignificant and stupid all over again. He grabs Draco by
his arms and pulls him around, taking hold of his chin and forcing him to look up at him.
"If you've got something to say, say it," he says dangerously.
Draco tries to pull away but is neither as strong nor as determined as Harry, and he's still trying to
hold onto the towel around his waist. Harry snatches it away and throws it to the floor, just to spite
"Give it back!" Draco shouts.
Harry walks him backwards, crowding up to him and forcing him to move before pushing him hard
so he falls back onto the bed.
"Give me it back, you bastard," he shouts, trying to sit up. "You've fucking lost it -"
Harry is on the bed in an instant, climbing over Draco's body and pinning him down, shouting back
at him. "What did you just fucking say?"
"You've lost your mind!" Draco screams at him, his face twisting with something ugly. "I can't
fucking do this anymore, you're fucking seeing things -"
Harry feels rage rising in his chest and he just wants to – he doesn't even fucking know, he's got his
hands around Draco's shoulders and he's shaking him, just wanting him to shut up,and Draco's still
shouting at him -
He raises a hand and the back of it meets Draco's temple. He immediately goes quiet, his eyes
rolling back in his head and his body going limp. Harry watches as his breathing evens out, rubbing
the back of his hand.
"Sorry," he sighs, and then as an afterthought leans over and kisses Draco on the mouth. Draco
doesn't stir. Harry shrugs and leans over and picks up his book, flipping through the pages to find his

And he's at the top of the astronomy tower, and the wind is howling. It's dark, and the sky is angry
and clouds twist and rumble in a maelstrom above his head. Harry watches, frozen in place as Draco
slowly lowers his wand -
"Avada Kedavra."
Dumbledore falls and Harry screams as he disappears in a twist of black smoke. Draco cries out
in horror and lunges forwards. He trips and falls to his knees, scrambling desperately across the stone
like he's a soldier crawling on his stomach to avoid fire. He lurches to the edge, hand outstretched.
Draco watches as the black smoke disappears. He's frozen in time, always too late to do the right
thing. The wind ruffles his hair, his eyes are wide, and his hand reaches out towards nothing.
Harry can move, he makes himself move. He crawls on his hands and knees towards Draco,
reaches out and puts a shaking hand on his back between his shoulder blades.
"I didn't -" Draco says faintly, still staring down into the dark. Harry's fingers tighten on his shirt,
wanting Draco to get away from the fucking edge.
"I know," Harry says, and pulls at Draco's shirt. "Draco."
Numbly, Draco moves around. His eyes are wide and unblinking and full of terror. His hands
scramble for purchase and he finds Harry's arms, fingers curling around his biceps. His chest is
heaving as he tries to catch a breath.
"Draco, just breathe, for fucks sake, breathe before you – oh god."
Harry freezes, staring at Draco's hand which still grips onto his arm like he needs to hold on in
order to survive. A sick feeling rising in his stomach, Harry grabs Draco roughly and pushes him back
against the parapet, his whole body shaking.
"What are you -"
Draco's words turn into a cry as Harry grabs his wrist and wrenches it away from his arm,
gripping it as tightly as he can.
The tip of Draco's middle finger is black. It's growing steadily darker before Harry's horrified
"Did you touch him?" he demands, his voice shaking. "Did you?"
"No," Draco gasps, scared. "Harry-"
"The curse," Harry says, shaking his head and feeling numb. "It's in your fingers – it was killing
him, for fucks sake, Draco, why did you fucking have to touch him?"
He's screaming and Draco is now struggling, trying to wrest free. He pushes at Harry with his free
hand and kicks at him with his feet, wild-eyed and terrified and dying. Harry knows what he has to do
and his stomach is turning at the thought of it, but he has to. This is war, and war demands sacrifices,
needs people to do things that they'll hate themselves for.
The blackness has spread to Draco's first knuckle, staining his skin like ink. Scissors appear in
Harry's hand, heavy steel, and Draco starts to scream.
"Stop it," Harry is saying, angry and desperate because he has to save Draco, even though he's just
a fucking mess, he has to save him. He kneels on Draco's legs and tries to pin him down because this
curse kills people and it's moving far too fast. He's still twisting and flailing madly, trying to push
Harry away.
"Please, no, Harry, this isn't real, just stop it all right, you're scaring me, no, no, please -"
Harry gets a knee atop Draco's wrist, pressing it down onto the cold stone. Draco sobs and sobs
and then starts screaming again as cold metal bites skin. Harry grits his teeth as he cuts the curse
away, knowing he has to do this.
There's a crack and Draco goes limp, violet eyes rolling back into his head.

Draco won't stop crying, and its grating on Harry's nerves. He's standing by the window, watching
the street below, tensing every time someone goes near the entrance to the alley. Draco is curled up in
the bathroom under the sink, sobbing and refusing to move. He turns his face away every time Harry
goes into the room so Harry is now doing his worst to ignore him.
He tries to keep his focus on the street below, clenching his jaw tightly. Draco's a fucking ghost, so
Harry doesn't know what his fucking problem is anyway.

Harry's half asleep in a chair by the window, occasionally forcing his eyes open to look down and
check the street below. The light is fading and shadows are chasing the last few shoppers, reaching
hungrily for their heels as they hurry home.
Tonight feels different, somehow.
Harry is exhausted, as usual, but he doesn't even notice. His attention is elsewhere because
hovering on the edge of his mind is something that he can't quite pinpoint, a feeling that he's forgotten
something but he doesn't even know where to begin to work out what it is.
The sun is just disappearing behind the buildings on the other side of the Alley when he feels
Draco appear behind him; a subtle shift in the air around him that tells him Draco has arrived.
Harry stays still and waits to see if Draco will approach him; the bastard hasn't uttered a word to
him in days. The longer Draco's silence continues, the stronger Harry's indistinct feeling of emptiness
grows. It's almost at breaking point; much more of it and he'll snap and force Draco to speak to him.
However, it appears that Draco already knows this because it seems he's surrendering before
Harry can start the battle. He walks across the room slowly and hesitantly, standing close before
sinking down to kneel by Harry's feet. Harry opens his eyes and looks at him cautiously.
He's stopped crying, at least.
"I just want to help," Draco says and he seems confused and helpless. He lays a hand on Harry's
knee and breathes out deeply, swallowing thickly and resting his forehead on the back of his hand. "I
want to help you."
Harry frowns. He shifts in his chair and leans down, slipping his hands onto Draco's cheeks, tilting
his head up. For a moment he thinks he sees something on Draco's forehead, a mark of some sort, but
then the next time he blinks it's gone. He brushes his thumbs along Draco's cheekbones.
"Don't start crying again," he says, and then he slowly leans down and kisses him. Draco responds
desperately, his hand coming up to wrap around Harry's wrist, gripping tightly as if he's scared to let
go. The touch sparks another not-quite memory in Harry and he jerks away as if irritated by an insect,
frowning and trying to grasp onto the shadowy image in his mind.
A girl with bushy hair, holding onto him and pushing his hair back off of his forehead. A boy with
freckles and a smile that somehow looks sad. Frustration rolls through Harry; he's no idea who they
are or where this picture has come from.
"Malfoy, do you…" he begins, and Draco looks up at him. "Do you remember anyone? From
before the war – I know there's me and you and Fred, and Sirius and Lavender… but I keep feeling
like there's someone I'm forgetting."
Draco goes perfectly still. He glances at Harry's face and then down, his purple eyes darting about
as he thinks. He licks his lips, the gesture nervous and unconscious.
"Is there anyone else left?" Harry asks and Draco seems to breathe again. Harry relaxes as Draco
does, placing his trust back in those violet eyes that have become his anchor and foundation.
He shakes his head finally, his eyes on Harry's, resolute and glinting with something that Harry
doesn't understand. "No."

When Harry awakes on the morning where everything starts to fall apart, he's none the wiser to the
impending doom. As Draco wakes him by biting his way along Harry's collarbone, all Harry is
thinking about is if they've got time for another round before he has to get up and check the window.
It's still dark outside, so he figures he's got at least an hour before the dawn breaks and suspects start
to move around in the alley.
There's no sign that his world will be turned upside-down by that very night, no feeling in the air
that tells him he has a mere twelve hours left before his life will take another violent turn and fall out
from beneath his feet.
No, it's just like any other morning. He groans and threads his fingers unto Draco's hair, letting
Draco have his way. Not that he minds when Draco's way is straddling his waist and riding him at a
nice slow pace. He's already sore and aching from a night feeding Draco's sexual appetite – which is
pretty impressive as it is considering he's a ghost – which gets more pronounced when he's feeling
needy and wanting to be the centre of attention.
Draco brings them both off at an unhurried pace and it's like they're just two lovers in bed having a
lazy morning, rather than two misfits clinging on to the edge of a world in the grips of a war. Harry
loses himself in the charade as Draco settles back down at his side, their bodies sticky and sated, and
dozes for a moment, his idle black and white thoughts wandering.
He's half-dreaming of Latin words on white stone when a voice cuts through the air.
"Don't fucking lie there, they're on the way! Get up!"
Harry jumps and sits up wildly, startled, his hand going for his wand as panic, fear and anger swirl
around in his chest, making him feel too hot. His gaze lands on a figure that is stood by the window,
their face pressed to the glass.
"For fuck's sake, Fred," Harry shouts, angry at being caught unawares. "What the hell are you
Fred rounds on him. "Get up, there are people coming. They know you're here."
It feels like the world has stopped. Fred's words hang in the air and Harry's heart beats in his ears.
Draco is scrambling out of bed and shouting at Fred, but Harry doesn't hear a word. It's as if he's
looking at the world through a haze of slow motion and for a moment he's paralyzed, his limbs frozen
in indecision.
He blinks and Fred and Draco are gone.
Sound comes back to the world, a swell in his ears that sounds like a roar. It wheels and then
focuses and he hears the dripping tap, voices calling outside on Diagon and the creak of the stairs at
the end of the corridor.
Lunging out of bed, he runs over to the door to check the locking spells are holding firm. Satisfied
that they'd hold at least for a while, he staggers backwards, stooping to scoop his trousers and shirt
off the floor. He grabs his wand from the bedside table and then dives into the bathroom, moving so
he's behind the wall, out of sight of the room beyond. He yanks his clothes on, trying to keep as close
to the wall as possible, his heart drumming against his sternum.
Pressing himself back against the wall, he curses Draco's name. He didn't expect Fred to stay but
he can't fucking believe that Draco has gone, has just left him like that -
"It's Weasley and Granger."
Heart nearly giving out, Harry whips around to see Draco standing on the other side of him, well
away from the door, now dressed and looking thoroughly panicked. Harry swings at him and his fist
connects with Draco's cheek, making him stagger backwards.
"You fucking left, you twat!"
Draco doesn't even bother pretending to be hurt. He looks up, one hand on his cheek and anger in
his purple eyes. "I went to see who it was, you fucking maniac -"
"Don't call me that-"
A soft, almost hesitant knock at the door halts their argument. Harry grabs Draco and presses him
up against the wall so they're chest to chest. For good measure he plants a hand over Draco's mouth,
holding his breath as he listens, ears straining.
It's muted and soft through the wood and Harry bites back another curse his heart clenching as he
registers the use of his name. He's starting to sweat and his legs are trembling slightly, but he holds
Draco grabs Harry's hand and pulls it away from his mouth. "If you let me go I can disappear- " he
starts to whisper, and then stops as Harry pushes his hand back over his mouth.
"Don't you dare," Harry replies fiercely. Before Draco can reply there's another bang from the
door, this time louder and more impatient.
"For fuck's sake, Harry, we know you're in there!"
A different voice, this one angrier and more frustrated, which means there's more than one person
after him. Breathing heavily, he steps away from Draco and presses his own back to the wall again,
slipping an arm around Draco's shoulders and forcing him to go down with Harry as he sinks to the
floor. His knees are brought up tight against his chest and Draco is squashed in at his side; Harry
holds him close with his arm wrapped around Draco's neck, placing his palm over Draco's mouth
again just to make sure he doesn't call out.
"Harry James Potter, you let us in!"
Harry shuts his eyes and breathes out shakily, hoping with every nerve in his body that they'll go
away.Maybe he should try and get out before they decide to break through all the charms he put on the
door. Draco's right – he could disappear in an instant so Harry would just have to apparate after him.
But if he does the people outside will hear the crack and know that he was in there.
"Harry! It's just me and Ron, please."
"Harry," Draco wrests free again, whispering urgently. "It's Granger. You know when you asked
me if there was anyone left -"
"Do you want me to curse your mouth shut?" Harry snaps. "I don't know who the fuck you're on
about so just shut up -"
He hisses in displeasure as the banging starts up anew. He doesn't know who these people are and
he doesn't care, he just wants them to go away and leave him in peace. Underneath the banging on the
door he hears a whistling sound, one he hasn't heard in fucking weeks. Fuck, what if the people
outside are somehow connected to the sound? Is it possible to possess a person with a piece of soul?
His head twitches reflexively, his neck twisting slightly on his shoulders as his eyes roll shut and
Draco tenses next to him.
Harry's eyes open again and he clenches his jaw, drawing in deep, fierce breaths through his nose,
a controlled heaving of his chest. His mind is made up.
"Can dead people apparate?" he asks calmly, trying to block out the whistling that is growing
louder by the second. Room Four isn't safe anymore. It can't be his home when other people know
where he is.
Draco pulls his hand away. "Don't you dare," he says, sounding frightened. "Don't you dare – look,
they're here to help, for fuck's sake, Harry, just let them in -"
His words are lost in a scream as Harry grabs hold of him and apparates them both away with a
crack that sounds like breaking fingers.

Their landing is awkward. They stagger and trip and fall, hitting the cold ground beneath them.
Draco is struggling, trying to push Harry away and making far too much fucking noise. Harry swings
blindly in the near dark and the back of his hand connects with Draco's face again. Draco goes limp,
falling back against the ground.
"Shut up, I can't see in the dark, remember?" Harry breathes.
Draco groans in reply, the backhand obviously having done more damage than the punch from
earlier. Harry racks his brain to try and remember the name of the place they just left and then gives
up when his mind just provides pictures of boxes going into perfect oblongs in the ground.
"Fuck. Get up."
He climbs to his feet and pulls Draco up too; Draco staggers against him and grips onto his shirt to
keep himself upright, breathing heavily.
"Where the hell did you bring us?" he asks, his voice hoarse and trembling. "What the fuck have
you done?"
"Shut up," Harry says, and raises the back of his hand again. Draco flinches and goes quiet. Harry
stands tense and listening, straining his ears for any sounds of life around them. He can hear waves in
the distance, the soft continuous murmur of the sea, and tall grasses whispering in the wind. The early
morning air has a chill to it and the ground below their feet is cold. It's so dark, and he can only see
the distinct outlines of the hedges and trees that are nearby. He turns slowly on the spot, unnerved by
the open space and the air on his face.
They're not alone.
There's someone out there in the dim light, he can feel it. He pulls Draco up closer and raises his
wand. Fuck, he can barely see. The darkness is lifting, the inky sky giving way to the light that's
spilling over the horizon. It doesn't help much; everything looks blurred in black and white, like bad
night vision.
"Potter?" Draco whispers, sounding uncertain.
"There's someone out there," Harry whispers in reply, twisting around as something moves out of
the corner of his eye.
Draco shrinks into his side. Harry whips around, trying to see what it is moving out there.
His name drifts faintly through the air. He stumbles as he turns to try and pinpoint the source.
"Come on then!" Harry bellows out into the darkness, turning on the spot. He sees shadows
moving, just out of sight, people circling them in the dark. "What are you waiting for? Come on!"
There's the sound of laughter and as it fades, Harry's ears catch the sound of something more
Muffled but still shrill, an echoing cry that twists through the air, growing louder and louder. Harry
twists around wildly, his wand out and pointing at nothing through the darkness.
"Can you hear that?" he asks frantically. "Malfoy -"
"Hear what?" Draco whispers, sounding panicked. "All I can hear is the fucking sea."
The whistling grows another notch louder. Harry grits his teeth and steps forwards, and someone
in the dark laughs.
"Stop it!" he bellows. "Stop hiding! Come on, end it!"
The whistling stops abruptly and the silence is deafening. Harry's legs give out from under him and
he collapses to the ground, exhausted and spent. His limbs are askew and shaking and he just can't do
this anymore -
Draco sounds alarmed and then his familiar hands are pulling Harry up, hauling him into a sitting
position against Draco's chest, holding him tightly. Harry fights to keep his eyes open, refusing to give
in and collapse -
He strains his ears to try and hear the comforting thump of Draco's heartbeat, slumping against him
with his head pressed to Draco's chest, his hand fisting in the material of Draco's shirt as he
desperately clings on.
He can't hear it. Instead he hears something terrible and familiar coming from within the cage of
Draco's ribs.
He scrambles violently away from Draco, sharp stones scraping his palms. Draco tries to grab for
him again but Harry shoves him away, staring at him wide-eyed and horrified.
"Harry, just let me help," he begs. "Stop it, why are you looking at me like that? Stop it."
Harry barely hears him. All he does hear is the dull, barely audible whistling sound that is
emanating from Draco's sternum, pulsing like the heartbeat he no longer has.
"You," Harry croaks, raising his wand with a trembling hand and pointing it straight between
Draco's eyes. "No, not you. Please, anyone but you."
Even as he says it he knows that it's all over. Draco goes impossibly still, his eyes fixed on the
"What are you doing?" he whispers.
"I know you can hear it," Harry says, and Draco reaches convulsively for his chest, twisting the
material of his shirt in his hand.
Their eyes meet for a second and then Draco bolts. He scrambles to his feet and runs and the hex
Harry sends at him hits the ground, sending dirt and stones scattering. Harry scrambles to his feet and
chases after him, hurling another hex which misses by inches.
"Get back here!" he bellows as Draco sprints away. "You have to let me -"
He sets off in pursuit, his chest heaving and his heart pounding. He staggers on the uneven ground
beneath his feet but keeps going, ignoring the pain and pushing through it.
He misses again and curses. The long grass whips his shins as he runs after Draco, easily
following the tinny sound of whistling.
"Harry no! Stop, leave me alone! Harry!"Draco is screaming as he runs, sobbing and staggering
and Harry is gaining on him. The whistling is getting louder and louder and someone nearby laughs as
Draco stumbles, falling to his knees. Harry lunges for him and grabs his ankle, yanking him towards
him across the grass and dirt.
Draco shrieks and tries to pull free but Harry drags him easily. Draco kicks out and his foot
connects with Harry's ribs. Harry grunts in pain and twists Draco's legs so he's forced onto his back.
Draco scrabbles wildly at him as Harry pins him down with the weight of his body, panting as he
tries to get his wand back to Draco's face but Draco has hold of his wrist and is using every ounce of
his strength to push Harry away.
"Harry, please," he begs, voice high pitched and terrified. "Harry, no."
"I have to kill you," Harry pleads, the whistling deafening in his ears and piercing him like knives.
"You know I do -"
"You're seeing things again, stop it!" Draco kicks out again. "Stop it, Harry, I've had enough, I
don't want to do this anymore, you can't -"
Harry's wand inches closer by degrees. Draco turns his face away, desperately.
"Harry, no - !"
The word ends in a scream as Harry summons his remaining strength and forces his arm to move.
His wand presses against Draco's temple, shaking violently with the pressure. The Horcrux in
Draco's chest screams along with him, a twisting protest as it senses its end -
"Avada Kedavra."
The world is consumed in a blinding flash of bright green light and Harry gasps. It's in his eyes and
nose and mouth and he can barely breathe, he hasn't seen this much green in years and he's suffocating,
can't see anything but green all around. He clenches his eyes tightly shut as the roaring in his ears gets
louder. His arms are trembling violently and behind closed lids his eyes are trying to roll back into
his head. He can hear people screaming his name and then the green goes black and everything ends.

He can hear waves. A gentle soothing murmur of water washing against stone. He can hear the soft
cries of gulls, wheeling above him somewhere. He can smell salt in the air and the earthy scent of dirt
and grass. He doesn't immediately move, despite lying face down on what feels like a field – grass
prickles and pokes at his face.
He can hear someone breathing nearby; shallow rapid gasps that sound scared and uncertain.
Harry forces his eyes open, his whole body shaking violently. He pushes himself up onto his hands
and knees and has to stop.
The blades of grass beneath him are a dull deep green, their dried edges a dirty yellow. The
patches of dirt visible in-between are an earthy brown. He flexes his fingers, digging them into the
soil and feeling overwhelmed. His hands are a soft peach colour, pale yet not white, and covered in
dirty marks. The sleeves covering his arms are a dark navy blue, deep and rich.
Gasping for breath, he looks up. He's at the top of a cliff and beyond he can see the sea, steely blue
and sparkling in the light of the sun which is just breaking over the horizon. The sky is a watery blue,
streaked with violet and pink and yellow where the sun touches it.
He looks over and sees Draco Malfoy lying on his back perilously close to the edge of the cliff.
He's propped up on an elbow and is holding an arm up in front of him, as if he's fending off an attack.
He's so pale that he could be white, but his shirt is a burnt brown colour and on his forehead is an
angry red mark, clearly visible under the mess of his fringe.
His eyes are grey.
Harry stares at him, unable to even speak. His throat tightens as he looks over Draco. The mark on
his head is a deep cut in the rough shape of a bolt of lightning. It has healed over into a dark red line
and the surrounding skin is an angry pink. He has a vivid blue bruise on his cheekbone, and both
wrists are dotted with mottled bruising, ranging from yellow to blue to black to green. His chest is
heaving as he tries to breathe, clearly terrified. Bile rises in Harry's throat as he looks at the hand
Draco is holding protectively in front of himself; half of his middle finger is missing down to his
second knuckle.
He falls back, chest heaving as he fights for breath. Where are Ron and Hermione? Why the hell is
Malfoy here? Vague memories swim around in his head, of Draco and skin and scissors and curses.
He grips his hands in his hair and clenches his eyes shut, realising that he's been walking the last year
of his life only half awake.
"You're alive," he says, his voice cracking. He looks up desperately and watches as Draco slowly
nods, still looking frightened.
Exhaustion steals over him. His mind is blank but the edges are filled with thoughts all pushing and
jostling to be let in, demanding to have sense made of them. Draco, whistling, books, Fred, Death
Eaters, curses, Hermione, the astronomy tower, Dumbledore, Room Four, the potions, Ron, boxes,
holes in the ground, black and white, shadows and colours -
His eyes roll back, the sound of the waves turns into a roar and everything goes black.

The walls of his room are a pale creamy yellow, calm and soothing. The clock on the wall ticks
softly and he can hear footsteps and murmurs of chatter in the corridor outside. The sounds are no
longer overwhelming; they simply blend together to create the background of sound that has become
familiar to him lately. He doesn't mind being in this room really; it feels safe and calm. He's been
here for a while now, recovering and letting himself be cared for. Ron and Hermione are here every
day, and the Healers bring him calming draughts and vials of dreamless sleep. The only part he's not
so keen on is the talkinghe has to do. Hermione says it's part of his healing therapy. Harry thinks it's a
waste of time, really.
The door opens and he opens his eyes, rolling over. He smiles tiredly at Hermione, who smiles
weakly back and walks over. She still looks relieved to see him which is a little disconcerting, but he
doesn't mind. He didn't really miss his friends – it's hard to do so when you've forgotten they exist –
but he's glad they're back.
"Finally awake," she says and sits down next to his bed, reaching out to brush his hair away from
his face. "How are you feeling?"
He nods and smiles; she understands. He wants to tell her that he feels like himself for the first
time in years. He finally feels the relief he'd been yearning for all that time, finally actually feels that
the war is over.
Besides, he hasn't seen Fred in weeks. He does miss him a little, but he knows it's for the best.
He feels tired and small and weak, but better. He's just starting to trust himself again, believing in
the things he sees and feels around him. The only people he's seen are the healers and Ron and
Hermione, but that's okay for now; as his strength grows he might be ready to see other people, but not
just yet. He's still ashamed in a way, mostly of how he allowed himself to lose his mind in lies. His
friends had been there to help and he'd pushed them away.
"You've got a visitor," Hermione says quietly and Harry pushes himself into a sitting position,
pulling his pillows up behind his back. "Only if you want him."
"Who?" Harry asks, brow furrowing at her tone. Hermione looks down and fiddles with the hem of
her jumper. She opens her mouth but is saved from answering when there's a soft cough from the
Harry looks around and his stomach clenches as he sees Draco Malfoy standing there, leaning
against the doorframe like he's been there for hours. Harry's tried not to think about Draco; he refuses
to answer the Healers questions about him. It's too much.
"Hello, Potter," he says quietly, and his voice is gentle.
"He'll go if you want," Hermione says, but Harry shakes his head after a pause.
"He can stay."
Hermione slips away, pausing in the doorway before nodding, almost to reassure herself. She
leaves them alone and Draco slips in and shuts the door, walking over to occupy the chair Hermione
just vacated, looking at Harry carefully. They're silent for a long time. Harry looks at Draco's missing
finger and the ugly scar on his forehead, the crude bolt of lightning that Harry now knows he put there.
"I thought you were a ghost," Harry says finally, as if that makes up for it. Draco laughs tiredly and
leans on the edge of Harry's bed, his forehead on his palm.
"No," he says.
"You told me you drowned."
Draco shakes his head. "You thought I said a lot of things that I didn't. I told you I tried to drown
myself, but I didn't manage it."
"I visited your grave," Harry says helplessly, trying to justify himself, trying to somehow explain.
Draco laughs again, bitter. "That was bound to confuse you. I have a headstone already. The
Ministry put it up before my trial. Imagine their disappointment when I was acquitted. I meant to have
it taken down, but…I just didn't, I suppose."
Harry breathes out, not sure if he can stand to hear anymore, feeling empty as more evidence of his
illness is brought to light. "How much of it was actually real?"
"Well, you did cut off my finger and give me a matching scar, if that's what you're asking," Draco
says tonelessly. "And we did sleep together. A lot."
"Why the hell did you stay?" Harry asks desperately. "If I was getting that bad -"
"I wanted you to myself," Draco says, the stark admission making Harry's stomach tighten. "Then I
wanted to help. I couldn't leave you after that, I just…whatever. It wasn't your fault, you were a mess.
It was the war."
They lapse into silence again. Harry is watching Draco, trying to understand what is going on
inside him. He feels guilty, so ashamed of himself, maybe even more so than when he had to explain
himself to Ron and Hermione. He's maimed Draco for Christ's sake, even tried to kill him. As he
looks at him there's a strange feeling in his chest, like they're still entwined together in some way even
now they're back in reality.
"If you want," Draco says quietly. "I'll stay. Try and help you work out everything."
"I tried to kill you," Harry whispers. "Look what I did to you."
Draco just shrugs. "Probably deserved it," he mutters.
"I swear I – I saw the green light, I said the words," Harry says. "You didn't deserve that."
"You know how Avada Kedavra works," Draco says blandly and Harry shudders at the words.
"You have to mean it. And despite how messed up you were I don't think you actually meant it."
"But the green light -"
"And the people that you insisted were trying to break in?" Draco says pointedly. "It wasn't real,
Harry breathes out shakily and reaches out for Draco's hand. Draco starts and then after hesitating
for a moment, slips the hand with the missing finger into Harry's palm. They sit quietly together for a
long while. Harry notices that Draco's fingers feel different in his somehow. Warmer.
"I just wanted you to be mine," Draco admits. "By the time I went to get help, it was too late."
Harry eyes him carefully. "That explains a lot," he finally says and Draco laughs thickly.
"Stay," Harry says and leans back, blinking tiredly. He can barely stay awake for more than four
hours at a bloody time at the minute. "You can help."
"Yeah?" Draco asks hopefully.
"Yeah," Harry breathes back and he's already half asleep, his body relaxing and sinking into the
Draco watches him for a moment and then carefully slips his hand out of Harry's. He gently
brushes Harry's hair back from his forehead and pulls the blanket up around him, fingers trailing
gently over his chest. Breathing out deeply, he sits back in his chair, reaching up to absently rub at the
scar on his own forehead. He watches Harry with a weak smile on his face.
He blinks and his eyes flicker violet for a moment before returning to grey, quiet and still.