In memory of my baby brother who wasn’t taken by AIDS, but was taken from us far too early nonetheless.



I enter slowly.

The wooden floor creaks beneath my feet and echoes through the room. It is so quiet.

I entered the room
Sat by your bed all through the night

He’s lying on the bed, his face almost as white as the sheets. He’s thin, much too thin; I could probably count his ribs if I pulled the sheet away. His eyes are slightly sunken, dark shadows around them and eyelids closed. He is sleeping.

I sit down next to him in a worn chair. I can’t be bothered to transform it into something more comfortable.

His hand feels thin, cold in mine. His fingers have always been bony; I used to tease him about it in the beginning. I hold his hand in mine, trying to warm him even though I know it is futile. The Pneumocystis is going to kill him this time. It is only by luck, by pure chance, that he is still here. His body isn’t strong enough anymore. If it weren’t for the slow, small rising and sinking of his chest, I would have believed him to be dead already.

I watched your daily fight
I hardly knew
The pain was almost more than I could bear

As I hug his hand tighter, he stirs and I worry because he needs to sleep.

Green eyes open slowly and gaze at me hazily. He is not wearing his glasses.

“Hey,” he says, his voice rough. He has trouble talking.

“Hey,” I say, my voice uncharacteristically weak. I feel the walls around my heart cracking all over again, threatening to break just as it did when I found out that he had HIV.

I stand from the chair to give him a soft kiss. His lips feel dry beneath mine, but it is still heaven to me. He kisses me back eagerly, although he is tired and should be resting. I wonder if it would be better for me not to come here at all. He would get more rest. But I am too selfish.

I don’t know what to say to him nowadays. I feel as though the dam of tears that I am holding back so carefully will crack if I say the words I want to say to him. I have to be strong for him; he has always been strong for me.

Now he needs me.

“You look like hell,” Harry says to me, his words slurring together.

I look up. I hadn’t even realized that I was studying my hands, avoiding his beautiful eyes. What a waste of precious seconds.

The seconds seem so much more important now.

“Thanks,” I say, choking.

He smiles softly at me and raises his hand to cup my cheek in his palm. I look down again, hating myself for being the weak one when he’s the one who should be in this role.

He coughs and I can’t hold back the wince. I look up, meeting pained green eyes in a face that is still so beautiful to me.

You just faded away
You spread your wings you had flown
Away to something unknown
Wish I could bring you back

“’ome here,” he says, taking my hand and pulling me towards him.

I climb up onto the bed. It squeaks as we move; I feel clumsy. I don’t want to hurt him; he is so fragile. As I settle in, I feel his arms tightening around me. I can feel the bones but it is still heaven to have him near again.

“Draco,” he says and the name sounds better coming from him than it does from anyone else, even when the voice is so weak and sick. The words blend together when he continues; he can’t pronounce the letters correctly anymore. “You’re allowed to be sad.”

I look up at him. He is honest, his green eyes shining with love.

Love for me.

“But you…” I start, but he cuts me off with a kiss.

“Shh,” he says. “Not me. You.”

He runs his hand through my hair, all the time looking at me, making my heart break no matter how much I try to hold it together. I feel my eyes watering and he smiles at me, running his hand through my hair again.

“Let it out,” he whispers, warm breath on the top of my head.

The first tear falls, quickly followed by a second and a third, before the dam inside me disappears completely beneath the emotions.

He holds me as I shake and cry, whispering gentle words that I can’t hear but know anyway.

You're always on my mind
About to tear myself apart
You have your special place in my heart

“I won’t make it without you,” I say finally, my voice hoarse from tears, hating myself for being weak, but Harry’s loving eyes making me forget that I should be a strong Malfoy.

“Yes you will,” Harry says and he sounds convinced, voice weak yet somehow filled with determination. “Because I won’t leave you.”

I close my eyes, more tears escaping.

“Heaven is a place nearby,” Harry says and I hear with my heart rather than with my ears because Harry’s words blend together so much I can’t tell where one ends and the other begins. “So I won’t be so far away. And if you try and look for me, maybe you’ll find me someday.”

He is singing now, his voice soft and low. It is just for me, for my ears and my heart.

“Heaven is a place nearby, so there’s no need to say goodbye. I wanna ask you not to cry – I’ll always be by your side.”

I hold him closer. “I will never let you go,” I say hoarsely, meaning it.

He kisses me. His lips are dry, skin too hot to be healthy. I don’t care.

“And I will never leave you.”

You just faded away
You spread your wings you had flown
Away to something unknown

I stay late that night. After Harry has fallen asleep, his breathing ragged and coughs making him wince in his dreams, I stay by his bed, watching him as he takes breath after breath. I fall asleep with my head on my arms, holding his hand in mine. His words echo in my head.

And even when I go to sleep
I still can hear your voice
And those words
I never will forget

When I wake up, there is sunlight streaming into the room through the windows. It appears to be a beautiful day, but I don’t notice it. The bare chair feels hard and unkind beneath me, but I don’t notice it. There is a nurse standing in the door, but I don’t notice her. I stare only at Harry. His hand is cold in mine; thin, breakable, cold, but I don’t notice it.

I notice only one thing:

Harry’s chest doesn’t rise anymore.

It is so quiet.

Heaven is a place nearby
So there’s no need to say goodbye
I wanna ask you not to cry
I’ll always be by your side

The End

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