Beren (beren_writes) wrote,
Beren
beren_writes

Gold Tinted Spectacles - 36/40 - Waking and Sleeping - Re-Edit

Re-Edited 11th February 2004
Title: Gold Tinted Spectacles
Part: 36/40 - Waking and Sleeping
Author: Beren (aka Didi)
Email: beren@dtwins.co.uk
Other Story Parts: Link to other parts
Pairing: Harry/Draco
Rating: NC-17
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Warnings: This story is set post OOTP and therefore has SPOLIERS. If you don't want to know anything that went on in book five do not read this story.
Genre: Slash
Summary: Harry is about to enter his seventh year, and things are not quite what he expected. He is no longer the angry boy who watched his world fall apart at the end of his fifth year, but neither has he completely found his place yet. He is looking for someting, and to his confusion it seems to have something to do with Draco Malfoy.
Author's Notes: Thanks to everyone who posted feedback when I was uploading this in parts and after it was finished. This is the re-edited version which hopefully removes the mistakes that people spotted and improves on the original draft.
As always I have to thank my beta - she re-read this for me to make sure I hadn't edited in any mistakes :).
This is NOT a work in progress, the story is FINISHED.



Chapter 36 Waking and Sleeping

Harry had become very familiar with the interesting spiral patterns of the wards on the ceiling of the isolation room in the hospital wing at Hogwarts. When he opened his eyes they were the first thing he saw, giving the young man a sense of safety which settled over him like a warm blanket. For a few moments he lay perfectly still, drinking in the calm and quiet, letting his fuzzy thoughts try to form some sort of order, but it could not last. Harry's mind was not quiet and the serenity which surrounded him did not sit well with him. Almost before he knew what was bothering him he turned on his side and his gaze roamed over the sleeping form of his lover.

Such relief ran through him that Harry could barely breathe. The fact that Draco was lying peacefully beside him caused his whole chest to tighten and his breath to come in short gasps. He did not know if he wanted to laugh or cry as emotions too mixed together to analyse swamped him, and yet he did not fully comprehend why. Searching his muddled mind, Harry could partially recall his soul mate's kidnapping, and he remembered the feeling of utter loss when he had woken, separated from Draco by dark magic, but everything else was dim and confused.

Vague memories of pain and anger filled him when he tried to look deeper. Faces of people floated behind his mind's eye: Sirius, Moody, Dumbledore, Fudge, Lucius Malfoy; but none were clear and Harry could not recall what these people had been doing. It was all so confusing and the Hecatemus' mind shied away from trying to sort through the information. All that mattered was that he could see Draco; his soul mate was whole and sleeping peacefully, the currents of his mind flowing gently as they normally did. It was such a wonderful feeling that the memories of fury and agony could not diminish it.

So captivated by the pale blond profile was he that only slowly did Harry become aware of the pale line running the length of Draco's face, over the Slytherin's forehead, past his eye and down the pale cheek to the jaw line. Reaching out slowly the Gryffindor ran one finger lightly over the mark, tracing its length with quiet deliberation. Harry had seen traces of wounds before; he had had several himself and the magically healed injury would fade in time, but that there remained any mark after a healer of Madame Pomfrey's calibre had treated the wound indicated just how deep the cut had been. It made the muddled recollections in his mind seem suddenly real and for a while Harry could not bring himself to move.

The anger he remembered began to burn again as the truth that Draco's father had tried to destroy his son and separate them settled in his thoughts. What Lucius had done was horrific and Harry felt the fury at the man's actions trying to take over his mind. The pale reflections of the truth his confused mind could provide made him so angry that he feared what the whole memory would do to him. Harry wanted to strike out and hurt anyone who had touched his soul mate.

As these ideas twisted round his thoughts, he never took his eyes off Draco and under his gaze the calm, pale features slowly began to move. At first there was only a small twitch but over the space of a few moments a frown began to mar the Slytherin's perfect face. A quiet moan escaped Draco's throat and Harry moved forward in a bid to comfort his soul mate, but the sound increased. It was like a bucket of ice water thrown over him as he realised with a start that he was the cause of his lover's distress; his anger was disturbing Draco's sleep and that was unacceptable.

The fury dissolved in concern as Draco moved slightly in reaction to the emotions running through Harry. The Hecatemus closed his eyes, pushing the feeling far away and calming his thoughts with a will made of iron. Draco relaxed back onto the bed almost immediately and Harry reached out to his soul mate and rested his hand on the blond head. Stroking gently he made his own body relax as well and Harry just lay there, refusing to think of anything except his soul mate. He let his love for Draco drown out everything else and allowed his mind to fade out any other thoughts. He did not move for many minutes.

Eventually, unable to untangle the confusion in his head and unable to go back to sleep, he decided to opt for the physical world. Harry sat up slowly. His body felt as if it had been through the wringer, but it was nothing he hadn't experience before. Careful not to wake Draco and keeping his thoughts well away from anything distressing, he calmly began to build his mental barriers. The world was very pretty and fascinating when he used his enhanced senses, but it was wearing and often difficult to interpret, so he chose bringing everything back down to normal as his first task.

Once he had done this he slipped his legs off the bed, pushed them into the slippers that were helpfully waiting and moved as fast as possible to the bathroom. It was here he almost lost it again as he moved to close the door and found himself quite incapable of doing so. As he pushed the oak towards its resting point, the wood obscured his view of Draco and Harry felt the irrational desire to panic. Only when he pulled the door open again did the feeling fade and he leant on the frame, breathing hard, calming himself down again. It was a purely instinctive reaction, but he couldn't stop it and eventually Harry went about his business with the door open so he could see Draco every time he glanced over.

Once he had taken care of his physical needs, he padded over to the speaking wall. Touching the activation stone, Harry waited calmly for an answer. The first thing to come up was a recorded message in hazy blue.

{Please do not dismantle the door charm, Mr Potter,} the writing even had Madame Pomfrey's disapproving tone; {it is there for your own safety and took several hours to replace. I took the opportunity to have a second key added to the spell and it is in the box by the door.}

"Thank you," Harry said evenly and the words appeared under the message; Madame Pomfrey would receive his reply next time she looked at the wall. "Is anyone there?"

He waited a few seconds and wondered what time it was and if anyone would be around to talk to him. For a while nothing happened and then gold lettering appeared indicating that there was someone sending him a message live.

{Harry? It's Tonks.}

That was a surprise to start with; the fact that the Auror had not gone back to her job immediately was a shock. The Order did not usually stay around long after a mission was complete and his lack of memory threatened to bother Harry again, but he squashed the feeling.

"Yes, it's me," he spoke quietly to the wall, "I just woke up. How long have we been in here this time?"

{Two days,} the reply came back, {how are you feeling?}

Harry thought about it for a while.

"Sore," he said eventually, "and confused. I can't remember much, especially after we left Hogwarts. Is everyone okay?"

There was a pause and Harry could imagine his friend's face as she tried to decide on the correct response.

{Yes, everyone is fine. It's probably for the best you don't remember,} Tonks' words filtered onto the wall, {that was when they started to torture that blond bombshell of yours.}

"Oh, thanks," he replied, refusing to dwell on the subject, "I think I'm glad then. It'll probably come back to me when I least need it, but you can't have everything."

{When did you become so cynical?} popped on to the wall with some jumbled letters that suggested his friend had laughed.

"My soul mate is Draco Malfoy," Harry replied with a smile, "I'm bound to pick up some bad habits."

There was another jumble of letters that suggested more laughter.

{Okay, I'll give you that,} Tonks' reply wrote itself on the wall. {How is Draco?}

"Sleeping," Harry returned and glanced fondly at his lover in the bed. "I'd rather no one came in for now if that's okay. I have my barriers back up, but I'm feeling a little delicate and I don't want to wake Draco. He'll go all protective on me and forget that he's the one who needs to heal if I put any strain on this weird brain of mine."

{You're as bad as each other,} the Auror told him. {I'll let Madame Pomfrey know. She'll want to come in when he wakes up though; he took quite a beating and you were pretty damaged yourself.}

"I know," he replied calmly, although the thought made his chest feel kind of tight, "I'll send a message the moment he opens his eyes."

He was going to go on but a yawn got in the way and put some gibberish on the wall: he was surprised to find that, even after such a short time awake, sleep was looking interesting again.

{Was that a yawn?} Tonks' question popped up with a very motherly tone.

"Yeah," Harry admitted, "I think I might go back to bed. This being upright idea seems to be more difficult than I thought."

{Sleep well, Harry,} Tonks replied quickly.

"Thanks," the young man replied, "oh, but you will tell me how come you're still here later, won't you?"

{Of course,} the wall wrote up almost instantly, {and everything else that's been going on. Now go back to bed.}

"Yes, Mum," Harry said with a smile that almost chased away the anxiety he was so studiously ignoring and reached for the control stone, "talk to you later."

He turned back to the bed and looked at it thoughtfully. Draco appeared peaceful where he was lying, but the faint evidence of bruises and cuts were stark reminders on his pale skin and would not fade for some time. Although Harry could not remember exactly what had happened, his muddled memory informed him that it was bad, very bad, and he felt suddenly very grateful to be alive. The space next to Draco that he had vacated only a few minutes previously called to him in his need to be as close to his lover as possible and he answered it. As quickly as he could manage he headed back to bed. What Draco has been put through and hence what Harry had shared were not ideas he wished to deal with at the moment. He was here, Draco was here and that was all that mattered.

====

It was a feeling of great distress that brought Harry back to wakefulness the second time. His eyes flashed open the moment he first felt it and he reached for Draco instinctively. His soul mate was still asleep, but his whole body was tense when Harry touched him. Draco was locked in a nightmare and Harry did the only thing he knew how to do: he opened his mind and walked into the dream with his lover.

The landscape of Draco's nightmare was dark and cold and it smelt damp, and it brought back a dim memory of the dungeon from which they had rescued him days before. It did not have the form of a real place, but it conveyed the same oppressive atmosphere and Harry heard Draco scream. Finding his lover in the dreamscape was his only concern and Harry ran, ignoring the things that leered out at him from the dark. This was not his dream, these were not his fears and he brushed them aside as if they did not exist.

The darkness was all encompassing and more than once Harry ran into a dead end, but his lover's cries of anguish drew him on. Touching minds when one was dreaming was not like the joining of conscious minds and Harry had to find the aware core of Draco's thoughts before he could do anything.

At last he ran into a chamber bathed in a menacing green light and he found his soul mate. Draco was kneeing on the floor halfway across the room: his body pressed up against a shimmering barrier thumping it with his fists. Beyond the barrier was a hazy figure and it took Harry a moment to realise that it was a dream version of himself.

"Harry!" Draco screamed, throwing himself against the barrier.

His own heart breaking at the sight, Harry did not hesitate. He ran the last few feet and sank to his knees beside Draco who didn't even seem to see him. When Harry wound his arms round his lover pulling himself close to the blond youth's body it was almost as if he wasn't there: Draco was still focussed on the indistinct image through the barrier. It would not be easy to break into the dream, but Harry knew he had to try.

"I'm here," he whispered gently in Draco's ear, "that's not me."

His voice appeared to have some effect as his soul mate stopped striking his fists against the barrier, but he was still staring fixedly at the dream copy of Harry.

"We're safe," he continued talking, "we're together again."

"They tried to take you away from me," Draco spoke softly with a small sob, still staring through the shimmering curtain.

His lover did not seem to know Harry was there: it was almost as if he was talking to himself.

"Nothing can ever do that," Harry told him quietly, "nothing will ever divide us."

"I couldn't stop them," Draco said, tears streaming down his face. "The curse, I couldn't fight it."

Draco finally sagged away from the barrier against Harry and he gladly held on to him.

"But you did, Love," he said lovingly, "you held on, I could still feel you. I could find you."

Draco had been supporting him all year, but the sudden reversal in roles did not scare Harry at all. It was his turn to be the protector now and Harry fell into the role easily.

"I love you, Draco," he said firmly, "and you're safe. It's time to wake up now."

His soul mate finally turned to face him then and he seemed to see him for the first time. Draco reached for him desperately and clung to Harry where he was lying in his arms; the dreamscape dissolved.

Harry came back to himself and he was half sitting in the bed with Draco pulled onto his chest. Draco had his head buried in his lover's shoulder and he was crying with heart wrenching sobs.

"It's okay, Draco," Harry whispered gently, holding his soul mate close, "everything is going to be fine."

Draco didn't stop crying for a long time.

====

The tears had taken what strength Draco had woken up with and he had fallen into a light doze in Harry's arms, but it was not a deep sleep and he did not remain that way for long. Harry knew the moment his soul mate opened his eyes again; he had felt Draco's slow rise back to consciousness, but neither chose to speak and he held his lover tenderly, offering the simple comfort of being together. Lucius Malfoy and the other Death Eaters had seen fit to try and rip them apart and now they lay together, reaffirming that the dark had not succeeded.

"He should have just killed me," Draco said eventually in an analytical tone which belied the tremor that ran through his body, "it would have been the sensible thing to do. The shock would probably have killed you outright as well."

The topic of conversation was not as surprising to Harry as it may have seemed to anyone listening. Draco's mind was Slytherin trained and the Hecatemus had expected the rationalisation of what had happened as surely as he knew in his heart he would never let anyone take his lover away again.

"That was the point," Harry replied quietly. "Voldemort has never just wanted to kill me; he wants revenge. You were his revenge; your father was his instrument."

"I have no father," Draco replied, his voice cold and steady.

They fell into silence again, Harry rubbing one hand along his lover's back until the Slytherin eventually relaxed against him. The emotions coming from Draco were confused; somewhere between angry and afraid. This had been Lucius' final betrayal, the one from which there was no return.

"Killing me would have ended it," Draco insisted, seemingly unable to see past the logic to the truth.

It was almost as if Draco could not believe that Voldemort's insanity was so complete that the Dark Lord had lost his ability to reason like the Slytherin he was. Revenge was something Draco could understand, but blind action was not.

"When he first realised I was still an opponent," Harry began speaking slowly, "back in my first year, he asked me to join him. Then that would have been his revenge, against Dumbledore and the world of the Light; taking their hero and making him one of his own. Then his sixteen year old self made it personal and killing me would have been his revenge. After that it became more complicated, me dying wouldn't have been enough anymore, I had defeated him twice and for that I had to suffer. That was the only reason he killed Cedric I think, because he knew what it would do to me. His perfect revenge was using me to bring himself back, only then he decided to kill me himself and I stopped him again. I think that was the first time he realised I was a real threat and not just a lucky child."

For a moment his voice failed, but he closed his eyes and swallowed hard, bringing his feelings back under control. This needed to be said, he had to confirm what Draco already knew, but could not bring himself to face.

"He wants to reduce me to nothing, like he was," Harry spoke again after a few long seconds of silence. "To do that he wanted to take you away from me but leave me just enough of you to keep me alive. Death is far too good for me now and you were to be the method of my insanity."

Draco fingers were almost painful where they gripped Harry's arm and he did not speak for a long while.

"They waited for me to wake up," he said eventually, his voice little more than a whisper now, "before they cast the curse. They had me chained to the wall and Lucius actually asked me to return to his side. He almost sounded rational, the logical, scheming man I always thought he was, but there was something in his eyes. I laughed at him. It was so absurd I just laughed."

Draco's voice was tight and Harry moved to stroking his soul mate's hair as the Slytherin tried to explain.

[That was when they tried to separate us,] Draco continued silently, unable to make his vocal chords work. [Three of them stood around me with Lucius directly in front and they cast it at the same time. It was,] Draco had begun to tremble,[it was like they were trying to break my soul in two. I have never ... Harry, I ... they...]

[Show me,] Harry said firmly as words completely failed his shaking soul mate.

Draco shook his head, burying his face in Harry's chest.

[Draco,] Harry said again, completely sure of his need to know exactly what his lover had been through, [Beloved, show me.]

With a sob the wall Draco was trying to hold between his memory and his soul mate came crumbling down and Harry found his mind assaulted by the most terrible feeling he had ever experienced. It was worse than the separation to which he had woken after Draco's kidnapping, because he could feel the break happening and it was worse than any physical pain could ever have been. It was all Harry could do not to scream as he felt it all and heard his soul mate's remembered cry of agony. This was wrong, it was so wrong, and as his mind reeled the Hecatemus knew one thing; if it took him the rest of his life he would find a way to make sure this could never, ever happen again.

====

Many of the events after the curse had been cast on Draco were hazy and confused for both of them. They had talked for a while, which had occasionally jogged their memories, but nothing particularly detailed. Then Harry had fulfilled his promise to alert Madame Pomfrey that they were both awake. The school healer had given them both a thorough once over and instructed them to get as much rest as they could before leaving them alone once more.

Neither of them were recovered from the injuries they had received even though they couldn't exactly remember what they were, so they spent much of the remainder of the first day following Madame Pomfrey's orders. A bath was about as strenuous as they managed and, since it had been the middle of the afternoon when the healer had entered the room in the first place, the woman would not allow any visitors until the next day. With little energy the couple chose to retire early and the pair fell asleep before the rest of the school would even have finished dinner.

Harry had no idea how long he had been asleep when he was thrown to wakefulness by a dream. The images in his mind's eye did not fade and although they were distorted and confused, the Hecatemus knew without a doubt that they were bits of memory. Harry sat up in bed, breathing hard, trying to bring his racing heart under control. He did not want to believe that what he was remembering was true, but the recollections were too exact to be anything but memories.

Beside him Draco stirred, sitting up slowly and resting one hand on Harry's shoulder.

"What is it, Love?" his soul mate asked in a sleepy, but never the less, concerned voice. "Nightmare?"

Harry looked at Draco in slowly dawning horror as the images in his mind became clearer. This was all they needed and yet he feared it was true.

"I think," Harry said tentatively, "I think I killed Lucius."

His mind's eye was full off the writhing, evil curse, held in check by his innate power and then its path as it flew back at its originator. In the low night light level Draco's features glowed eerily and even if Harry had not been able to feel the shock his statement caused flowing through his lover, he could see it in Draco's features.

"He used the Killing curse," Harry said in a rush, needing to explain, somehow to excuse his actions, "I caught it. I didn't really know what I was doing and I sent it back."

It was one thing to disown a father, it was another to find out your lover had killed him, and Harry could not look Draco in the eye. He vaguely remembered communing with the curse before sending it back at Lucius, it was possible he had changed it, but he didn't know and he panicked. Harry had to find out, he had to be sure if he was a murderer and he scrambled out of bed like a man possessed.

"Harry," Draco's voice followed him, but the Hecatemus was too wrapped up in his own need to pay too much attention, "wait."

He ripped the key from its place beside the door and forced it into the lock, tearing the door open as if his life depended on it. He tore into the next room and ran straight into another person, at which point his legs, which were burning with the sudden exercise, decide to give out.

"Harry?" Remus' worried tones broke into the young man's frantic thoughts.

The Hecatemus gripped the werewolf's arms as the man sank with him to the floor, looking into his friend's worried eyes.

"Is he dead?" Harry asked desperately and caused only more confusion in Remus.

"What's wrong, Harry?" Lupin asked firmly and evenly. "Is who dead?"

Harry knew he was succumbing to the panic running through him, but the idea that he had killed someone and that person was Draco's father was just too horrible.

"Did I kill Lucius Malfoy?" he asked frantically.

At last understanding dawned in Remus' face and profound sympathy replaced the confusion.

"Oh, Harry," the werewolf said with a catch in his voice that sent despair into the Hecatemus.

Harry knew the answer now; there was blood on his hands, the ex-DADA professor's expression could mean nothing else.

"No, Harry," Remus was firm and definitely, "you didn't kill that evil bastard."

The venom in the werewolf's voice was almost enough to drag the Hecatemus back from the emotional turmoil that was threatening to overwhelm him.

"You put him in St Mungo's," Remus said as Harry looked up into the older man's face from where he was now sitting on the floor, "but you didn't kill him. Ron told us what happened, and whatever the curse was when it hit Malfoy, it was not the same as the one he cast. He's unconscious and under heavy guard, but he is still alive."

The relief drew a chocked sob out of Harry and arms closed around him from behind as Draco moved in close. The moment his soul mate had him Remus withdrew and Harry wrapped himself in his lover's embrace.

[Even if he was dead it wouldn't make any difference,] Draco's voice told him silently. [You defended yourself. Never forget that.]

====

When Harry had run from him, it had made the most terrible feeling course through Draco; that was until his sleepy mind had caught up with the complete desperation in his soul mate. The emotions running through Harry had been so raw that they were almost stunning and it had taken long seconds before the Slytherin's thoughts had put themselves in any sort of order. After that Draco had dragged his still very sore body from the bed and limped after his disappearing lover intent on comforting him no matter what the truth of the situation. A part of him had harboured the desire to one day be reconciled to his family even though he had known what Lucius was, but that part was dead. All that remained was focused completely on Harry, and it had torn his heart in two when he had moved to the door and seen his soul mate collapsing in the arms of Remus Lupin.

It had been surprising how fast he found he could move when he had heard the sob coming from Harry, even though the remembrances of his injuries still bothered him. He had needed to comfort his soul mate as much as Harry had needed comforting and the move back to their bed was rather lost in the sea of emotions which had been buffeting them both. Harry had not been what Draco would have called coherent as the shock of what he had remembered ran its course and Draco recalled very little but trying to cope with this. There had been three people helping, of that much he was sure, and Madame Pomfrey had dosed both him and Harry up with something, but he had no clear memory of the other two until he woke again.

It was still night, that much Draco realised as soon as he opened his eyes, or at least the lights in their room were down at the normal night time level. The enchanted candles never fully went out in the hospital wing in case Madame Pomfrey needed to do rounds in the middle of the night, but they burned with very low flames. The second thing he concluded was that the potion he had been given had been dreamless sleep since he recognised the slightly muzzy sensation behind his eyes that it always left him with and lastly, but not least, he realised who the other two people had been, mostly because they were still in residence.

The door was once again closed, but two chairs had been brought into the room and placed just inside the entrance. On them sat a tired looking Remus Lupin and a dozing Tonks. If it hadn't been quite such a shock to find anyone in the room Draco might have found the scene quite sweet since the Auror had her head on the werewolf's shoulder. As it was, the Slytherin's instinctive reaction was to give his soul mate a quick mental once over and he did not relax again until he was sure Harry was not reacting adversely to either presence in their sanctuary. Only after this did the young man look over to Remus and meet gazes with the werewolf.

"Thank you," Draco said quietly, "for everything you did last night."

Lupin smiled at him for the thanks and the expression changed his whole demeanour. When Remus had been their DADA teacher back in the third year Draco had despised him for being poor and tatty round the edges. What the young Slytherin had never seen and his older self was fully aware of was the power that Lupin's rather unkempt exterior hid so well, and the reliability and intelligence that lived within the man sitting across the room. It had only taken Draco a few hours during the Christmas holidays to realise how completely he had underestimated the werewolf and he saw it again now.

"You're welcome," was Remus' understated reply. "Madam Pomfrey did not wish either of you to damage yourselves with over exertion. She was going to stay herself, but we volunteered and convinced her otherwise."

Draco nodded his acknowledgement and briefly considered going back to sleep since it was most likely the foreign presences in the room which had woken him in the first place, but Harry beat him to the line. The dreamless sleep potion was obviously no longer in effect as the Hecatemus also swam towards consciousness and Draco waited patiently until his soul mate was almost there. Then, before Harry had a chance to really remember what had happened the previous night the Slytherin wrapped his lover in a warm mental embrace which brought him from sleep with a genuine smile on his face. The expression was worth every effort Draco had to put in to place it there.

"I did not mean to wake you," he said gently with a smile of his own, "but since you are awake, we have visitors."

It would not have taken Harry long to figure out this on his own, but Draco knew what he was doing and he chose to control the situation and hence his lover's reaction to it. Draco could feel and see it the moment Harry's thoughts caught up with the events of the night and the smile slipped slowly off his face, but the feeling of well being Draco had worked hard to create could not be beaten completely. The turmoil of emotions Harry had been prey to before the potion had done its work threatened for a moment, but subsided again quickly.

"Hello, Remus," Harry greeted quietly, "sorry about running into you like that."

"Not a problem, Harry," the werewolf replied with a warm smile, "we all have our moments. It was lucky you didn't run into Tonks or we'd have been picking up bits of both of you from all over the hospital wing."

"I heard that," the young Auror's sleepy voice said as she slowly raised her head from Lupin's shoulder.

That drew another smile from Harry which made Draco happier than he cared to express. If the Hecatemus could do that without his lover's mental interference then the crisis was truly over. The last thing they needed was yet more emotional baggage to tie them down. It was as the Auror sat up and stretched, managing to hit Lupin on the arm with a cream contrivance on her arm that Draco saw Harry frown. The emotion coming off the Hecatemus was, however, concern rather than anything darker.

"Tonks," Harry asked, obviously a little confused, "why is your arm in plaster?"

The Auror appeared inexplicably embarrassed by the question which intrigued Draco no end.

"Um, I broke it," the young woman said rather awkwardly.

The grin that spread across Remus' face did nothing to dissuade the Slytherin of the idea that there was more of a story to the cast than that.

"Go on, Tonks," the werewolf said with a mischievous light in his eyes, "tell them how you broke it. They could do with a laugh."

"I should drag you in for wilful obstruction of an Auror," the woman grouched at that, but she did smile in resignation.

This was going to be good, Draco could tell.

"It happened after the battle in the dungeon," Tonks said rather reluctantly.

"And how," Remus gained a glare for his comment.

"Okay, okay," the Auror said, throwing her arms into the air and narrowly missing the werewolf with the cast, "I fell over one of the unconscious Death Eaters when we were doing the clear up."

For a moment Draco was not sure he had heard correctly and then he felt the smile work its way onto his face. The mental image in his mind was just too absurd; after an all out assault on a Death Eater strong hold, which, from the looks of things, Tonks had escaped without a scratch, one of the Ministry's finest had damaged herself by tripping over the fallen enemy. Draco couldn't help himself; he laughed and Harry seemed to have the same idea since a small chuckle was drawn from the Hecatemus as well.

"But that still doesn't explain the plaster cast," his soul mate said, recovering from his mirth rapidly. "Madame Pomfrey can fix bones in minutes."

"Ah well, yes, now that's not my fault," Tonks said brightly, "and it's the reason I'm still here. Due to my unusual physiology the normal bone healing spells have an adverse reaction and although I could change the shape of the bone it's fundamentally broken which I can't fix. So I have to have some of the older remedies which take a little longer. The cast should be off tomorrow and your school healer wouldn't let me go home until she was sure everything was okay."

"Sounds like Madame Pomfrey," Draco commented lightly.

"She'll never change," the Auror agreed with a smile.

He had been lying propped up on one elbow, but he took the opportunity to slowly sit up fully. He could still feel the strain and damage his body had been put through, but the aches were nothing he wasn't used to after a hard Quidditch match. His mind shied away from the causes of his injuries and the concerned look Harry gave him did not escape his notice.

[Just aching,] Draco assured his soul mate silently, [I'm fine.]

There was still a slight cloud in Harry's eyes, but the Hecatemus chose not to comment, which was probably a good thing as Draco could imagine the mutual over protective discussion they could end up in just at that moment. Instead Harry sat up as well; from the expression on his face and the grimace that passed across his features he was feeling his own injuries as well.

"It so bloody annoying not knowing why you ache like buggery," was the Hecatemus' distinct comment on the matter.

"Right now I'd rather not know," Draco replied dryly.

"Can I get you anything?" Remus asked instantly. "I'm sure Madame Pomfrey has some muscle relaxants somewhere."

For a moment Draco considered the offer as did Harry, but at the same time they both shook their heads. If Quidditch had taught them anything it was that letting the discomfort run its course now would be far the better option in the long run.

"No thank you," Harry replied and gingerly swung his legs out of bed, "but if you don't mind I just have to use to bathroom."

At the reminder, Draco's bladder made itself known as well and he followed his lover as quickly as his abused body would allow.

"Back in a sec," he offered as he slipped into the bathroom behind Harry and closed the door.

When the pair returned it was to find steaming cups of tea and a large plate of hot toast on the beside table.

"Madame Pomfrey said you'd probably be ravenous when you woke up," Tonks said cheerfully from where she was munching her own bit of toast and jam, "and it's nearly breakfast time so we thought we'd indulge."

That was all the encouragement Draco's stomach required and if the way Harry dived on the food was anything to go by the Hecatemus was in total agreement. The next few minutes were filled by munching and pleasant conversation, but, as he ate, Draco could not help noticing that Remus appeared to be becoming more uncomfortable by the moment. It did not escape Harry's notice either and the Slytherin knew his lover would not be able to stay silent for long.

"What is it, Remus?" the Hecatemus asked eventually, giving his friend a warm smile.

"It's nothing," the werewolf replied, and Draco raised an eyebrow at that.

Not even Fudge would have believed he could get away with a reply like that. Harry gave the other man a long hard look and after a few moments Lupin caved.

"It was just that when you came out of the bathroom," the werewolf said guiltily, "you looked so much like James and I couldn't help remembering."

Harry's face filled with understanding.

"Oh," Harry said with a nod, "and thinking of James you were reminded of the Marauders and from there of Sirius."

To some it would have seemed quite a jump, but Draco did not need to be psychic to know that Harry had hit the nail on the head. The werewolf had gone pale, but the man nodded at the truth of the statement.

"I think I owe you an explanation," Harry said firmly and broke Lupin out of his melancholy with a start.

Once the topic of Harry's godfather had been broached, Draco had expected no less of his lover, and he was not surprised that they would be discussing this now. It would not be the most fun conversation, but of the possible subjects this was not the worst. Taking his half drunk cup of tea, Draco settled back against the headboard and prepared for a deluge of questions. It was going to be a long morning.

End of Chapter 36

Tags: category: slash, ch_story: gold tinted specs, fandom: harry potter, fictype: 10-30kwds, fictype: 30kwds up, genre: creature fic, pairing: harry/draco, pairing: hp - harry/draco, rating: r to nc17, type: chapter listing
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