All the wrong choices – (Ch33 – Is Draco alive?)

Harry moved without thinking, his right arm catching the last of the fire as the dragon reared up for more. He grabbed Draco and apparated. They were surrounded by gasps and startled cries as Harry collapsed with him in the middle of the waiting room at St Mungo’s. He felt his throat constricting as he cradled Draco in his arms.

“Help” He muttered as he took in the damage. “HELP!” he screamed with more desperation as it dawned on him that Draco wasn’t moving. He could feel his self-control slipping the more he looked at the damage. He couldn’t take in the bigger details; his eyes just wouldn’t make sense of them. It was too incomprehensible to understand. He focused on his blond hair or the lack of it. His hair was a bald and burnt mess. His pale eyebrows, which Harry loved to see arching in a question, were gone too.

His clothes were so badly burned; where they hadn’t disintegrated completely they had melted and welded to his skin, making it almost impossible to work out what was material and what was charred flesh. “SOMEONE!” He screamed again. He looked up at the people around him because he couldn’t bear to look at his lover anymore. If that was going to be the last he ever saw of him, he didn’t want to remember this smoking, bloody, lifeless body. He couldn’t bear to think like that. His scream seemed to have broken through the silent shock as people ran towards him to help. Someone pulled him away as Draco’s body was levitated out of the waiting room. He tried to fight them, to get up and follow, but the arms around him were like iron. He must have tried to pull away or made some noise of protest as he heard a voice come from whoever was holding him fast.

“Harry! Let them do their job” He heard Ron’s voice and felt his breath on his face.

“Ron! let me go, I need to-”

“Mate, come on!” Ron pulled him off balance, and Harry appreciated for the first time how strong Ron was. He was nearly dragged into an empty examination room. Ron let out a breath as he shut the door behind them. Harry started to pace, as the scorching flames across his eyes reminded him of his dream. He punched the wall as he realised that it was no longer dream residue. He gritted his teeth together as he felt the sobs trying to escape from his mouth. His breath threatened to give him away as he turned his face away from Ron. “What happened?” Harry shook his head as he tried to swallow, his throat tight with unshed tears. He tried to control his breathing. It was a long time until he could answer.

“He saved me,” He said, roughly wiping at the tears with the back of his sleeve. “The dragons, they all attacked at the same time. The dragon we escaped Gringotts on, tried to burn me. I would’ve died had Draco not thrown up a shield. He got in the way and the fire got him.” He took a deep breath before the tears started again in earnest. “I need to know he’s alive Ron, I need to know” He hated how whiny his voice was, how childish and high pitched.

“Wait here,” Ron ordered, and Harry offered no argument as he pressed his head against the cool wall. He took a deep and shuddering breath as the hot tears left tracks burning down his cheeks he turned letting himself slide down the cool tiles. The cold feeling good against his injured arm. He remembered vaguely having been caught by the dragon but it seemed to pale into insignificance against Draco’s sacrifice.

A mediwitch that he recognised came in at some point and tried to strike up a conversation with him as she stripped him off to heal his arm. He didn’t reply. She tried to joke with him as she applied the thick orange burns paste to him and bandaged the other wounds he’d acquired, but again he couldn’t bring himself to talk. Finally, she smiled at him sympathetically when she got no reply and then turned and left. His mind started whirring, why would she look sympathetic? Had something happened to Draco? He began to pace as he waited for Ron.

The walls seemed to press in around him and he desperately wanted to hit something. He pressed his fingers into his eyes until strange dots and lights appeared on the inside of his eyelids. He heard the door open and his head shot up He replaced he glasses and looked at Ron. He felt a cold sensation drench him. He put up a hand warding Ron off as the red-head stepped closer.

“Harry, He’s alive,” Ron said slowly, “But they don’t know whether he’ll make it, Poor bugger is hurt pretty badly” Harry scrunched up his face as if he could hide from the words. “They’ve moved him to the first floor. They’ve treated him as best they can, now we just have to wait and see.” Ron stepped forward again, Harry heard his feet close to his own before an arm landed on his shoulder.

“Come on, let’s get you home”

“Home?” Harry replied incredulously. “Not bloody likely!”

“Harry, you can come back tomorrow during visiting hours”

“I’m not going home. I need to be here!” Harry spluttered as he tried to think of reasons to stay. “I have never tried to use my name or fame to gain any advantage, but so Merlin help me, I am going up there to stay with him. They’ll have to cast the killing curse on me before I’ll just go home!” Ron sighed and smiled slightly.

“I thought you’d say that! I managed to get him a room to himself right off the main corridor. It’s not big or flashy, but you’ll have privacy”

“Oh right, Thanks mate!” Harry replied, his anger subsiding enough to pull his friend in for a hug.

“It was nothing. It was actually great fun being able to throw your name around” He laughed slightly. “It’s probably just as well I’m not the Great Harry Potter, Otherwise I’d throw my weight around more often!” Harry smiled as best he could at the attempt to cheer him up. He felt his lips twitch momentarily. Ron pulled away and smiled sympathetically at him before pulling him to his feet. “Come on, I even got them to find the least comfortable chair in the whole building for you to sleep on, and believe me, they had lots to choose from!” Ron smiled again as he helped Harry walk. He was stiff and sore as though energy had been leaking from all the cuts and grazes, leaving him smarting and drained.

Ron helped him up to the first floor, passed prying eyes and rubber-neckers. His being topless probably had something to do with at least some of the looks. The scars crisscrossing his darker skin probably had something to do with the rest. Ron led him to the room and paused in front of the door.

“Do you want me to come in with you?” Harry paused, looking at the door for a long moment as his emotions waged war inside him. He nodded, and Ron pushed open the door. They paused in the doorway as Harry’s eyes adjusted to the dimly lit room. Draco’s body hovered above the bedclothes and every inch was pasted with the same stiff orange burn paste. It was a slight improvement to the images Harry had burned into his thoughts; The pictures he couldn’t help but see whenever he closed his eyes. The room was warm, dark and silent as Draco bobbed there gently. Harry stepped away from Ron as he gripped the bed for support. He shook his head, not being able to bear seeing Draco like this. He looked around the room, anywhere but at Draco and the only thing offering comfort was knowing Ron was there with him. He wanted to ask Ron to stay but he knew Ron needed to get back to Hermione. He took a sharp intake of breath as he spun around. It was a mistake as he hisses in pain, the bites on his legs screaming in pain. He cursed under his breath for a moment.

“Ron, I’m so sorry!” Ron looked quizzical for a moment, waiting for Harry to explain. “How is Hermione?” Ron’s head raised in understanding as he smiled.

“You can ask her yourself if you want, she’s in the other ward. They’re keeping her in overnight just to make sure she and the baby are alright.” Harry nodded slowly.

“Maybe later, now I know that she’s alright”

“Yeah mate. They think everything’s fine, apparently, she threw up a shield, but the spell’s impact knocked her backwards. We don’t think she was hit with anything. Bloody lucky really!” Harry nodded in earnest, ignoring the pain in his arm and shoulder. “Right come on you, let’s get you in the world’s most uncomfortable chair” He snickered as he helped harry over. He lowered him down gently.

As soon as Harry sat down, it was as if the weight of the world fell off him. He felt his strength leave him as his eyelids fell closed. He heard Ron snort as he raised up.

“I’ll put a do not disturb sign on the door, just in case anyone needs saving, and you’re asleep.”

“Git” was all Harry could say in return. He heard Ron chuckle

“I’ll be up on the fifth floor getting a cuppa if you need me” He whispered as Harry heard the room door close. He forced his eyes open to look at Draco. He wanted to hold his hand, tell him he was there, offer comfort, anything but there wasn’t an inch of skin which hadn’t been burnt. His face looked so peaceful in complete contrast to everything else.

“I love the way you look so peaceful when you sleep as if the world hasn’t touched you, the way your soft grey eyes light up when you see me. I love the way you feel in my arms.” He felt the tears coming again and this time let them fall without trying to hold them back. He knew that somewhere in the ruin that was Draco’s body, that he could hear his voice. “I Love you Draco, I should have told you before. Please come back to me” Harry closed his eyes again, unable to stop the sobs from wracking his chest; all the heartache and stress coming to a head. Slowly, the sobs stopped, his breathing evened out as the world washed away from him in small, saltwater drops.

Accio Next Chapter

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