Chapter Twelve
Love Builds Bridges
Where There Are None

It was lucky that Harry was leaning on the table as Draco uttered the words, for otherwise he would no longer be standing.

“You – what – how – huh?” he asked, trying to process the statement. “Run that by me again?”

“I’m in love with you,” Draco said quietly, going back to studying his hands. “I told you you didn’t want to know.”

Finally settling on a question, Harry asked, “Why?”

Grey eyes met green. “I just told you everything I know, Harry. Exactly why I fell in love with you, I don’t know. It just kind of happened.”

“But – you’re a boy – and I’m a boy,” Harry began.

“How very observant of you to notice that,” Draco said dryly.

They were quiet for a few minutes. The only thing heard was the sound of the seconds ticking by on the Muggle wall-clock. Neither boy knew really what to say; Harry was at a complete loss for words. Of all the reasons for Draco to switch sides – Harry definitely hadn’t expected himself to be the explanation. Yet here Draco was, watching him with those damn silver eyes, begging for acceptance.

How could he have missed it? How could he not have seen the signs, he wondered. The way Draco didn’t mind being close to Harry, neither after the visions, nor when they’d been drinking with Sirius, Remus and Ron. The time when Harry’s sleep had been plagued by nightmares. Or… Harry could come up with several more occasions when Draco hadn’t minded in the least to be held close by Harry.

Did Harry mind?

He struggled to remember any time when it felt wrong or uncomfortable. When they’d both fallen asleep at the Weasley Castle, with Pearle in Draco’s arms, a few days ago… That had been uncomfortable to begin with, when Draco put his head on Harry’s shoulder – but then they had fallen asleep, so it couldn’t have been that awkward.

In fact, Harry didn’t mind being around Draco at all. In the past month, Harry felt secure to have him around. They had let each other into one another’s mind, so there had to be a certain level of trust between them by now. They spent time in each other’s company without being forced to do so, and Harry knew that if he was presented with the choice of spending time with either Hermione and Ron or with Draco, the choice wouldn’t be as obvious as it had been before.

“Say something, please,” Draco begged, his voice barely more than a whisper.

“I – I don’t know what to say,” Harry said, waking up from his thoughts.

Draco’s face fell, though he stayed silent.

“I don’t know what I feel about you,” the Boy Who Lived continued. “I do feel something for you, but I don’t know what it is, not yet at least.”

The blonde gave him a small smile. “It’s enough for now, I guess,” he said. Then he added quietly, “Tell me when you find out, though.”

He put the water back on the stove, as it had cooled too much now. A few minutes later, he presented Harry with a cup. He accepted it without a word and walked down the hallway towards the living room to think, his mind still reeling with the past half hour’s revelations. One thought was constant through the storm of feelings – this was not what he’d expected.

He continued to make mental lists of pros and cons of an actual relationship. Unfortunately, there were a huge amount of cons and only a few pros.

If they managed to get back home to their own time, and he decided to start dating Draco, then his friends would go ballistic. Hermione, and Ron especially, would both think he’d gone nuts, or hit his head one too many times during the Quidditch game – which was true of course, but he wouldn’t be able to tell them that.

If he overlooked the whole Hermione-and-Ron-not-dealing-so-well thing – which they would eventually get over, if this was the future they were heading for – then there was still the fact that Draco’s father was Lucius Malfoy, one of the biggest supporters of Voldemort. If he found out that his son was dating the Boy Who Lived, then he definitely wouldn’t live long.

Of course, the blonde was already living with that threat as it was, whether he was dating Harry or not. And Voldemort couldn’t possibly want Harry’s death more than he already did.

One of the biggest cons was that Draco was who he was. Draco Malfoy, sworn enemy of Harry’s since the first day of school. The boy who’d made his life a living hell with his overall pain-in-the-ass attitude.

Yet he had changed.

No matter how many cons Harry could think of, this fact still returned to haunt him. The young man that Harry had caught a glimpse of in the last month was not the spoiled brat he knew from school. It was a quieter, softer and much more pleasant Draco, whom Harry had nothing against. Sure, they’d fought, but that was… It was something else. You could both fight with and love a person, couldn’t you?


Was there any possibility that Harry had begun to fall in love with the blonde as well as the other way around? He knew he liked Draco’s company, he knew they could understand each other – but love? It was a very strong word. Something Harry definitely longed for but had yet to attain. He had the love of Sirius and Hermione and Ron, but that wasn’t the same. The warmth of a lover… Someone to call his own…

Would he mind kissing those soft, pink lips of Draco’s? He remembered their first day in this world, when he’d first seen the blonde, lying unconscious on the bed at the Weasley castle. He’d checked the Slytherin out. He’d caught himself doing it of course, and stopped it immediately, yet… Hadn’t he continued to check him out? Steal glances at him when Draco wasn’t looking? He had certainly noticed what the blonde was wearing, how he’d kept his long, soft flowing hair…

With memories of the times he’d shared with Draco in the past month and a half, Harry fell asleep on the couch that night. His sleep was filled with dreams and nightmares, with Draco and the Hanawalt family as the main cast.

He was outside, lying down on the ground with grass all around. It tickled him, and he turned slightly to make it stop.

“Lay still, Potter,” Draco said to him, “Or you’ll only make the wounds open again.”

Harry looked up to see Draco right above him, and a sudden rush of pain went through his body. He felt blood pouring from his side.


A shot rang off, and suddenly Harry found himself back in the cave. Mr Hanawalt stood before him, the gun in his shaking hands. Unlike in the dreams he’d had before, however, Harry saw that Mr Hanawalt’s face was filled with horror.

A warmth surrounded Harry, and he knew that Draco was with him again.

“Have you gotten used to it yet?” Harry heard himself ask.

“Used to what?” Draco asked.

“Us being together here in this place,” Harry said, motioning around him. They were back in the apartment living room. Harry was standing up, looking out through the window. Draco was sitting on the couch.

Draco looked at him and Harry met his gaze. “It’s getting easier.”

Then the world around them seemed to come apart again. They stood two feet apart, surrounded by a seemingly never-ending darkness.

“But then things had to get more complicated,” Draco said, turning away from Harry. He was facing the ink black darkness, and Harry found himself wanting to see the blonde’s face.

“How?” he asked. “How could it get even worse?”

Draco let out a small, sad chuckle.

“I fell in love with you.”

He turned back to face Harry, and Harry let out a cry when he saw the other boy’s face. He was tired, dirty… with bloodstains all over, as though he’d been fighting. Without thinking, Harry pulled Draco closer. Draco seemed weak, his legs barely supporting him.

He whispered something to Harry, but Harry could no longer hear. They both shut their eyes tightly and concentrated on staying close to the other. A wind was roaring around them, pulling at them, making their cloaks swirl and their hair loosen from their ponytails. A moment later, a force stronger than anything they’d ever felt before ripped them away from each other.

Harry was left alone in the darkness. Then suddenly, a bright light blinded him. He felt his mind shut down, and surrendered to whatever force was behind it all.

Harry dreamt no more that night and remembered none of it when he woke up again.

Harry awoke the next morning, slightly disoriented as he saw the living room’s surroundings rather than the bedroom’s. As he became aware of where he was, he also remembered why. Sitting up and stretching his slightly sore muscles, he recalled the conversation he’d had with Draco the night before.

Before he had time to get too far into the thoughts, however, a sound was heard, and in the very next second, Ginny walked out of the fireplace.

“Good morning,” she said cheerfully.

“‘Morning,” Harry replied, not nearly as happily.

Ginny’s face fell. “What’s up?” she asked. She looked at the couch, and the mess it was. “You slept here?”

Harry gave her a small nod and a look that said, ‘I don’t want to talk about it’. She pouted at him, but then continued into the apartment.

“Remus is coming by later on,” she said, walking down the hallway and assuming that Harry was following her. He was, luckily for him. “He’s going to talk to Dumbledore after we hear about Draco’s vision, and I’m going to put together the op this time.”

“You’re doing the operation?” Harry said, surprise obvious in his voice.

She turned to glare at him. “I’m not a little girl anymore, Mr Potter,” she said. “I can do this, and I intend on doing it better than the last operation you were sent on.”

“Yes, please do so,” Harry said with a shudder. He had absolutely no wish to be kidnapped again.

“Draco sleeping?” she asked. “Oh, you probably don’t know if you slept on the -”

“He’s sleeping,” Harry interrupted her. He could feel it inside of him. He didn’t like the feeling; Draco was feeling frightened and insecure. Nightmare, his brain told him, Draco was having a nightmare. Making a quick decision, Harry said to Ginny, “I’ll be right back.”

Before she had time to reply, he was inside the bedroom, the doors closed behind him.

Despite the room being quite dark, Harry could make out Draco’s figure on the bed. He was beneath the covers, yet the raven-haired boy could still see him writhing back and forth, mumbling into the pillow. Distress was radiating off the blonde.

He walked over to the bed and sat down on the right side, stretching over to reach Draco. Draco whimpered at first when Harry shook him, then his eyes shot open as he sat up. He looked around the room, his eyes wide, before they settled on Harry, his features calming considerably.

He didn’t say anything; he just fell back on the bed, his hands covering his face.

“What did you dream?” Harry asked.

“The vision,” Draco replied, his voice muffled by the hands over his mouth.



Harry smiled slightly at the small bit of conversation they’d just had, before he said, “Ginny’s here. She wants you to tell her about your vision. Are you ready to do that?”

Draco removed his hands from his face to look at Harry. “Do I have to?”

The Boy Who Lived nodded. “’fraid so.”


“You’re a man of few words this morning,” Harry said, standing up. Draco didn’t reply. “There will be breakfast in a few minutes, so come out when you’re ready to face Ginny.”

The Slytherin nodded, and Harry left the room. He could feel Draco’s gaze lingering on him, and he knew what Draco was thinking about. Harry wouldn’t allow himself to start dwelling on their conversation, though – he had to keep his head in what was most likely going to be a rough conversation with Ginny Weasley.

“He’ll be out in a moment,” Harry told Ginny as he entered the kitchen where she had begun making breakfast. He assumed she’d done this before, since she knew where everything was and didn’t ask for permission.

She shot him a questioning look – she had obviously thought that they’d been fighting, in which case Harry wouldn’t have gone into the bedroom and stayed there for almost ten minutes. However, she seemed to give a mental shrug, for she returned to making coffee for herself and Draco and hot chocolate for Harry.

“Has he told you anything?” she asked finally, as the silence appeared to become too much for her.

Harry shook his head. “We didn’t have time to talk about it last night, we were both exhausted,” he lied. They’d had plenty of time to talk – just not about the vision. He wondered now if last night had been a good time to have the Talk. Draco had still been reeling from the vision and both had been in a bit of pain. Harry knew that the blonde had been more so than Harry himself had; he’d been able to feel it. Still, he hadn’t let himself touch Draco to heal; it would have given a completely wrong impression.

“You look like hell,” Ginny said to him.


She shot him a concerned look. “What happened yesterday? And whatever made you leave for Hogsmeade when Dumbledore warned you that a vision would most likely be coming? When Sev’ told me… I didn’t believe him at first.”

“Ginny, this is between me and Draco. I know I hurt him, and I will apologize to him for it, but what I did is done. Can’t change it. I’m not sure I would have, even if I could.”

“Why would you place yourself at such a risk?” Ginny frowned. “It’s not like you.”

“Look, Gin’, I’m not ‘like me’ at all at the moment, so if you would stop the bloody Spanish Inquisition just for now, then I’d be very happy,” Harry snapped.

She backed away from him, muttering, “Fine.”

Draco chose that moment to walk into the kitchen. He looked tired; there were dark shadows beneath his eyes and his whole posture screamed of weariness. The blonde hair was a mess, as though the boy hadn’t cared about getting it as perfect as it always was. In fact, the Slytherin looked like he hadn’t done anything about his appearance at all since Harry woke him up. Harry felt a sting of guilt as he realized that he was largely responsible for making the vision – and what came after – so hard on Draco.

“’Morning,” he mumbled, walking over to the table and sitting down opposite Harry. Ginny placed a cup of coffee before him, neither uttering a word. The blonde took a sip of the steaming drink before him, refusing too meet either of the room’s other two occupants’ eyes.

Finally, Ginny had once again had enough of the silence. “Look Draco, I’m sorry that I have to do this to you; I always am, but you need to tell me what happened in the vision.”

He looked up at her slowly, grey eyes meeting brown. “We were in a big field, there were mountains around us,” he said, his voice devoid of any emotion. “There were about fifteen poles, all around eight to nine feet tall. I think they were set in some sort of pattern, but I couldn’t see in what way.

“To each pole, a human was bound with ropes by their wrists. It cut into the victims’ wrists, making them bleed. They were all lifeless. None but one of them were over thirty; they looked young and strong.

“And they were all filled with bullet holes.”

He stopped and turned his gaze towards the table. Harry tried to sense the blonde’s emotions, but Draco seemed to have put up a shield, whether consciously or not, Harry didn’t know. The raven-haired boy felt the need to stretch out and help the other boy, yet he knew that Draco would pull away even further if he did.

“There was one who wasn’t bleeding. Two of the Death Eaters were talking to him, but I couldn’t hear what they said because they were too far away and the wind was howling too loudly. He must have said the right words, though, for they took him down from the pole and Apparated away with him.

“The others were left to die, if they weren’t dead already.”

Harry wondered how he could appear so calm and unemotional whilst talking about the pain and death he’d witnessed. A voice told him that Draco was anything but calm and unemotional – it was just a façade that he had to put up in order to be able to give Ginny the information she needed to save the people in question. After the young redhead left, he would break down, either in front of Harry or in complete privacy. Harry found himself hoping that it wouldn’t be the latter.

“Do you remember anything specific about any of the victims?” Ginny asked, breaking the silence.

Draco gave a deep chuckle that sounded anything but happy. “You know, that’s the funny part,” he said. “I recognized four of them.”

Harry stared at him, and out of the corner of his eye, he could see Ginny unconsciously moving closer in what looked like – anticipation?

“It was Angelina Johnson, Dean Thomas, a young man that looked like Neville Longbottom, as well as Potions Master Severus Snape.”

Ginny left shortly afterwards, when Draco had emptied out the last bit of information he could remember of the vision. She had been deep in thought, and had barely stopped to say good-bye as she floo-ed from the apartment, no doubt already planning the operation she needed to get going.

Harry returned to Draco in the kitchen, where the blonde sat staring out the window, watching snow fall. He didn’t turn or acknowledge Harry in any way as he sat down in the same chair as before. As the Slytherin gazed at the falling snowflakes, the raven-haired boy studied Draco.

His face was a mask of indifference. He looked tired, as Harry had noticed when the young man first entered the room, with shadows beneath his eyes and the eyes themselves a bit bloodshot. His mouth was set in a thin line, his jaws pressed tightly together. One hand stirred lazily in the now almost empty cup of coffee and Harry saw the slight tremble of the hand only because he was paying such close attention. He was upset; despite his efforts to hide it, it was plainly written on Draco’s face.

Neither boy said anything; one didn’t know what to say, the other didn’t want to talk.

The snow had begun falling sometime during the night and was now covering the ground here and there. The skies were an anonymous grey, leaving the city almost as colourless. It fit their moods perfectly.

A half hour later, Draco stood and left the room. Harry stayed in the kitchen. He heard Draco open and close the bedroom doors, and sighed deeply to himself. He wanted to talk to the blonde, and he wanted Draco to talk to him. Yet he couldn’t find the words to say, not after the conversation they’d had the night before.

“I fell in love with you.”

The words repeated themselves in Harry’s mind, echoing back and forth, again and again.

How had it happened?

Harry told himself he’d had this one-sided discussion too many times, yet he couldn’t stop the thoughts from coming. He wondered where Draco’s feelings had come from, and if he’d done something – anything – to encourage them. The thoughts swirling in his mind asked him whether it was really possible. Was the blonde lying to him? Although Harry would have jumped to that conclusion a month and a half ago, it was no longer such an open option. The way Draco was behaving now… It didn’t seem like he would act like he was if the words had all been a practical joke. Besides, the story that had accompanied the words had fit all too well into reality to be made up.

And his eyes had told Harry that Draco was telling the truth.

The biggest question on Harry’s mind, however, was not about Draco’s feelings and his motives and reasons at all. No, it was the question of whether he could ever love the blonde back.

It would be so easy right now to take advantage of the situation and tell Draco that he loved him. That way, the blonde would be in it much deeper than Harry, and if something went wrong, he would draw the shorter straw. It would guarantee Harry warmth and love, whilst not having to give so much in return.

Harry frowned to himself. That was not the way to build a relationship. No, if he were to get involved with anyone, then it would be with total, complete devotion. He wouldn’t, couldn’t, settle for anything less just because it was convenient.

Besides, Draco deserved love.

In the past month, Harry had seen the softer side of Draco – a side he’d never shown at home. It was a boy whom was starved for affection, a person who wanted to be held, liked and – loved. Harry had found it very easy to give Draco the comfort he craved. He had held Draco several times, just because the blonde needed it, and it had been neither uncomfortable nor hard to do so, for some reason.

Harry sighed and stood. He was getting nowhere; his mind was running around in circles, only serving to make him dizzy. Grabbing his cloak from the hanger in the entrance hall, he walked to the living room and the fireplace. Picking up floo from the small box on top of the fireplace, he threw it into the flames and said,

“The Leaky Cauldron.”

A few moments later, he stepped out of the fireplace at the Inn. There were a few witches and wizards at the bar, but no one looked up as he brushed himself off. Instead he went to the brick wall on the right and tapped it five times. It opened, and Diagon Alley presented itself before him, with all its little shops and hundreds of magical folks milling about. Harry stepped into the chaotic street, making his way through the stores and people. Snow now lay thick on the ground.

He needed something to distract himself with – and buying Yule gifts was just the thing to do the trick. After all, it was only two weeks until Christmas.

First thing first – he needed money. Thus, he made his way down the street towards Gringotts Wizarding Bank. The tall, white marble building was, as it had been every time Harry had been there before, guarded by two goblins. They glared at him before letting him pass, as did the ones by the second door. Harry didn’t care much, however, knowing that it was just in the goblins’ nature to do so. Instead, he made his way through the main hall, to one of the goblins in a high chair.

After speaking briefly with the goblin, he was allowed down to his vault and another half hour later, he was back outside, ready for some shopping.

He knew it would be hard to buy Hermione, Ron, Sirius and the rest gifts that the Harry of this time hadn’t given them before, but he would have to try. A book was a safe bet for Hermione – although the question was which one, since the castle seemed to have every book imaginable. He entered Flourish & Blotts, and the store manager looked up from the desk he was sitting in.

“Can I help – Oh, hello, Mr Potter,” he said, a smile on his face as he saw who it was.

“Hi,” Harry replied, trying fervently to recall the name of the man. When he couldn’t, he said, “I’m looking for some Christmas gifts.”

“As usual, then,” the man grinned at him. “I suppose you’re looking for something for young Mrs Weasley?”

Harry grinned sheepishly. “I’m at a loss…”

“That’s not unusual,” the man replied. “Well, I recently received several books which I think would interest your friend greatly.”

He walked into the store and Harry followed through the long racks of books and books and, well, more books. There were old ones, new ones, ones that Harry recognized, and many, many more which he definitely didn’t.

“Here,” the manager said to him, pointing at a couple of titles to his right. Harry came to stand next to him, and saw the names of the books. A small smile spread over his face.

“I think she’ll definitely like that,” he said.

Another half-hour later, Harry found himself in Quality Quidditch Supplies. It was one of Harry’s favourite stores, and he knew he would find something for Ron in there. He did. After almost an hour, he forced himself to leave. He made a few more stops, among others to get Draco’s present. He found that Draco was just as hard to get something for as the others, but for different reasons. Several hours after he left home, he decided to leave. It was getting late and the shops were closing – and he couldn’t avoid Draco forever, no matter how much he wanted to do just that.

Stepping into the fire at the Leaky Cauldron, he returned home moments later.

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