All the wrong choices – (Ch34 – Honest Green Eyes)

To say he woke up, he didn’t really. It’s like he was drifting and slowly drifted close enough to shore to hear civilization again before catching a current and drifting further away.

The first couple of times he drifted to shore he heard harsh whispered shouting and angry words. Mentions of words like ‘neglect’ and ‘failure’ featuring in the hushed argument. He didn’t like those words, so he slowly drifted away. When he drifted back again sometime later he heard someone saying much nicer words like “love” and ‘kiss’ and it almost sounded like they were talking to him. He had wanted to get out of the sea at that point but still, he drifted away, unable to leave the peaceful sea.

When the sea released him, it was to a warm hand in his. His eyes fluttered open, painfully stiff and tight. His eyes didn’t seem to want to work properly as the scene in front of him was blurry and dim. He tried to work passed the blurriness and saw someone sat in a chair, he tried to make out the face but could only make out a mess of black hair. His eyes fell shut again obviously too tired to work anymore, so he just lay, listening. He could hear a deep breathing and the occasional twitch of the hand in his. Just that small, involuntary movement made the pain drifting into his awareness, worth it. Once again, the sea reclaimed him, dragging him away from the warm hand and soft breathing.

Finally, it was as if the bottom had been removed from his world and all the water drained out as he felt dumped into the bed. His skin screamed around him as he hissed a sharp intake of breath.

“Mr Malfoy? Can you hear me?” Came a man’s voice, he didn’t recognise the voice. He tried to open his eyes, into the brightness of the room. The man staring down at him was grey and old but sounded stern and sharp. “Nice of you to finally join us Mr Malfoy,” He said with a small smile. “I am your healer, Hippocrates Smethwyck” Draco tried to sit up but found himself to be encased in some bright orange paste. His healer smiled brighter. “Tell me, how do you feel?” He thought for a moment before answering because he wasn’t sure how he felt.

“Stiff and sore” His skin felt like he had stayed out in the midday sun for too long, as he tried to move the tenderness was uncomfortable.

“Yes, yes. That is to be expected. Do you remember why you are here?”

“No,” he said, racking his brain for any information. Everything seemed so jumbled up.

“No matter, that will pass, we had to put you into a magically induced coma while you healed. Your burns were very severe, If we had gotten to you any later, I would not be having this conversation with you now.” He smiled genially.

“What happened? Where is-” his eyes slid to the chair which now sat empty.

“Ah yes, Mr Potter, He will be back soon, He has barely left your bedside in the past week”

“Week? Mr Potter?” he felt his heart rate increase as his thoughts came muddled back to him.

“Yes, Mr Malfoy, a week. You came in on Sunday the eighth of January, it is now Saturday the fourteenth. It was touch and go for the first few days, but thanks to Mr Potter’s quick thinking we’ve got you near enough sorted.”

“Thank you,” He said feebly as he tried to process all this new information. Draco almost missed the look of surprise on the healer’s face at the gratitude.

“Now let’s see how your burns are, we may be able to remove this Ardens Crustulum.” He held his wand out and over Draco as small sparks erupted from the tip. First soft green, then golden, like a muggle sparkler. “Good, good. Good progress, there should be minimal scaring” he pointed his wand at the orange gum and started to syphon it off. Slowly Draco watched as his read and scars skin was revealed to the light. He felt tears come to his eyes as he realised just how much damage had been inflicted on his body. “The tint to your skin is just remnants from the ointment in the paste, and the scaring as I said will be minimal. You maybe be left with a few scars where the burns were the worst, but I think your face should be virtually untouched. Your hair may take a while to grow back evenly though.

“What?” Draco felt a panic rush through him as he desperately wanted to raise his hand to where his hair should be.

“It’s already started to grow back,” Hippocrates had almost totally removed the paste from Draco when there was a knock at the door. “Come” The healer called as the door opened. A mediwitch smiled brightly as she stepped in, closing the door behind her.

“Mr Malfoy, so glad that you’re finally awake. You’ve caused quite a stir, it’s not that often we have a celebrity on our ward”

“Sorry?” Draco felt so confused.

“I’ve brought you some of your post and fan mail. I’ll put it with the rest of your belongings on the table.” She smiled again as she left, once again shutting the door behind her.

“You see, Mr Malfoy, as you have no doubt been made aware, Harry Potter is something of a national treasure, when someone saves his life from almost certain doom, they become a media darling too for a time. I won’t say any more than that because I can already see that you are getting overwhelmed. No, the skin you see is all brand new, so try not to move more than you need to otherwise you could make the scarring worse. Now it’ll be visiting time soon, so I suggest you rest up now so that you can see your loved ones.” He nodded his head again and turned to leave. “Oh, and if I were you I would probably want to read Tuesdays Quibbler and Mondays Prophet.” Draco turned to look at the mound of parchment on the table next to his bed and swallowed, when he looked up, the healer was gone.

He took a shaky breath in as he lowered the bedclothes to take in the damage. His smooth skin was mottled and shiny. In places, it looked like melted wax. He felt like crying. He knew he had scars, scars earned from hard work and harder lessons, but these covered every inch. He looked around for a mirror but couldn’t see one. With shaking hands, he raised his fingers up to feel his skin, the skin felt shiny here too. He swallowed hard when he felt stubble where his eyebrows should have been. His hands travelled further up and felt only skin and the finest of stubble where his Malfoy mane had been. He swallowed hard again trying to come to terms. His memories were slowly returning, and he remembered most of it. He lay back with a sigh and closed his eyes. At least Harry was safe. He would have done it all over again if it meant that Harry was alive. He reached over and picked up all the letters and magazine which the mediwitch had brought in.

He picked up the Prophet first, feeling himself sneer at the loathed paper. It had caused so many issues for him that he failed to have any fond feelings for it. He read the headline

~~~~~~

Malfoy heir hailed as a hero.

Draco Lucius Malfoy, heir of the Malfoy fortune, was today hailed as a hero as he saved three lives whilst undertaking a routine research mission on behalf of the ministry of magic. Torren MacFusty, Cosima Pruitt and Harry Potter himself all pay tribute to the hero of the hour as he recovers in St Mungo’s hospital.

Potter refused to comment beyond requesting privacy at this time. However, it has been reported that he hasn’t been seen at Hogwarts, where he was due to start as an apprentice to the defence against the dark arts Professor. He is rumoured to be assuming the role next term as a permanent appointment. Despite classes having already started, he has opted to spend the time in a bedside vigil at St Mungo’s.

Cosima Pruitt, Draco’s friend and work colleague had this to say. “Draco was exceptional when were got into a spot of bother, Draco was able to assist with initial healing assistance and called for help, all whilst being injured himself. He took care of us whilst we were awaiting assistance, fending off threats and keeping our morale up. He was amazing, He will always be my hero.”

A glowing report from the Ministry worker who admitted that when she first met Draco, she very much disliked him and distrusted him openly. Other staff members have confirmed that their relationship was tempestuous at best. Whilst the details of their assignment are not yet known, we do know that dragons are involved as Mr Torren MacFusty of the MacFusty clan was with the research team when they were attacked. He commented saying that he would not be alive if it hadn’t been for Malfoy’s quick thinking and resourcefulness.” MacFusty and Malfoy worked together in Romania on the dragon reserve for a number of years before Macfusty returned home.

As the details of this remarkable event unfold, it is clear to see that Draco Malfoy went above and beyond his duty, ensuring that everyone on that mission were looked after and rescued. For saving our greatest treasure, the boy-who-lived our thanks cannot be expressed enough.

We would like to take this opportunity to apologise to Draco Malfoy for any incorrect or slanderous reports which may have been previously reported. The Prophet is now under new management and we hope Mr Malfoy a speedy recovery with the boy-who obviously feels a great deal towards him.

Written by Verity Entwistle.

~~~~~~

Draco sat dumbfounded for a moment before rereading the article. He felt a small smile creep to his lips at the kind things said by Cosima and Torren. He felt a tear of relief roll down his cheek as he breathed a sigh of relief, Torren was well. He placed the paper down reverently on the table as he picked up the next letter.

He recognised the writing at once and tore it open with a small smile.

The parchment felt coarse in his shiny fingers as he unfolded the letter.

~~~~~~~

Dear Uncle Draco.

I hope you are alright, and I can’t wait to hear about this dragon you’re looking at, Harry said it was some sort of Hybrid. That sounds so cool. Promise you’ll tell me?

The real reason I’m writing to you is that I want you to give Harry another chance. You know that the prophet is good for nothing except to use it as firelighters. He didn’t do what they said he did. He is so lost without you and I know that you are without him too. You never talk about people you like and you always sound so lonely. Please give Uncle Harry another chance. He misses you so much, and he’s just not the same anymore, he doesn’t smile.

Please think it over,

Love Cuz

Teddy.

~~~~~~~

Draco folded the letter over and put it with the prophet. It was a sad letter to read but he was happy that he felt he had given Harry another chance. He needed to speak to everyone and tell them how much they meant to him.

He riffled through some other letters but most of them were odd or overly familiar. Some of them were downright disturbing.

He didn’t bother opening them all, he just moved them to a separate part of the table, ready to be thrown away.

He found the Quibbler next and looked at the front cover.

Harry sat smiling and looking sheepish as the camera took the shot. It was such a candid shot that Draco wasn’t even sure that he knew whether Harry had been expecting it or not. It was a wonderful photo, the start of a blush could be seen over his cheeks and his pepperpot hair looked as gorgeous as ever.

Harry Potter and the pursuit of happiness. – a no holds barred interview with the Saviour.

Draco went to open it when the door to his room opened. He looked up surprised, He hadn’t been expecting visitors.

Hermione and Ron appeared first.

“Hello,” He said first. “Harry’s not here”

“We know, we’re not thick,” Hermione said with a smile.

“We came to see you, you great git!”

“Oh,” he said surprised. It was clear that the surprise had cover across in his voice. Ron let Hermione sit down, which she seemed to do awkwardly.

“How are you feeling?” She asked

“Sore, tired, confused,” He said as he raised his hand to ush it through his hair before realising too late that it was no longer there. “Orange, insecure” he laughed derisively.

“Orange is a great colour” Ron retorted with a smile. Draco raised an eyebrow, and then remembered he didn’t have any of those either.

“I look awful, don’t I?” He asked. He knew that they would be honest with him.

“You have looked better,” Hermione said with a grimace

“But believe me when I say you’ve looked worse. I was in the waiting room when Harry brought you in” Ron’s face looked haunted.

“Where is Harry?”

“He just went to grab something to eat. He’s not been eating so we forced him to go. Also there’s a queue outside for you, we told Harry he’d have to leave to make room for us all.” Hermione laughed.

Draco smiled, it sounded like Harry.

“Is he alright?” They looked at each other, their hidden conversations going on right in front of him.

“He’s alright,” Ron said slowly “He’s-”

“He’s had a rough couple of weeks” Hermione smiled. “He’s nervous and scared at the moment”

“Hermione!” Ron warned.

“He needs to know Ronald” Draco felt dread in his stomach.

“Needs to know what?”

“Nothing you don’t already know I suspect. He’s nervous and scared that you’ll leave him again. He’s fallen hard for you and seeing you hurt, it’s made him-”

“Sad”

“Insecure and anxious,” They said at the same time.

Draco nodded in understanding.

“He’s used to the media printing things about his home life and that most of the stories aren’t true however he’s not used to the people he cares about just upping and leaving him without talking to him first. ”

“Hermione!” Ron warned again.

“No, I will say this, If Draco doesn’t know, it wont change anything” She looked up to Ron and then back across to Draco. “We all now the kind of things that have been printed and some of the stories have been truly dreadful, but we know Harry and what he’s like, He’s nobel and trusting to a fault. He needs to know that you’re not going to run at the slightest scandal or rumour, that you’ll trust him to tell you the truth.”

“Yeah, it hit him harder that an Wronski feint” Ron muttered as he nodded, his gaze far away as if remembering.

“That is if you want to stay together that is” Hermione. Smiled and held up her hand before Draco had chance to say anything. “It’s not a conversation to have with us. We’re just letting you know what Harry needs.” She sighed as she rubbed her stomach “If you’re going to dump him, do it sooner rather than later cause we’ll be the ones picking up the pieces.

“Do you want me to break up with him?” Draco asked cautiously.

“Of course we don’t! You’re good for each other and we’ve not seen him as happy as he is when he’s with you however, we’ve not seen him as distraught as we have when you disappeared.” Draco swallowed as he tried to submerge the guilt.

“I’m sorry” He replied.

“We forgive you mate, we know what it’s like being dragged into a scandal, but think about Harry. This is his bloody life,” Ron said and Draco nodded.

“We’ll go now and let you see everyone else. We just want you both to be happy” Draco nodded again as Ron helped Hermione up.

“Oh, Hermione?” Draco asked suddenly

“Yeah?”

“You didn’t reply to my letter”

“No, you blithering idiot! I don’t feel I need to either. Six bloody pages about whether Harry had cheated on you etc. etc. Seriously Draco. If I had have replied, it would have been a two-word answer, the second word being ‘off'”

“You are such a bad influence on her” Draco smirked pointing to Ron. Ron looked at his wife and smiled Proudly.

“I know, See you later, I’m sure you’ll be out of here in no time.” Ron continued to smile as they left.

Draco couldn’t shake the words Hermione had said to him about Harry, even when Torren, Cosima and Rolf all came in.

Torren was fine, only a few scars to show for his near death experience. He had invited Draco out shopping with him and Cosima as they both needed to get new wands. He agreed to but gave no date.

They told him about firstly about how the Goblins had been unwilling to give information, resulting in Bonavich and Lowell ending up in St Mungo’s. After taking the Goblins in, they had discovered that when the Ironbelly had been imprisoned, they had charmed it to repel most wizard magic. Apparently, they had never intended of breeding it so didn’t realise that it could be transferable to it’s young.

Knowing this information, they had called in for back up from the Romanian reserve to come and remove the charms and collect them. Draco wondered who had been called to do that work. He didn’t envy them the task.

Cosima and Rolf told him that his diagrams and notes had been salvaged from the site and had been included into the report which he and Cosima had co-written. Draco smiled and nodded, he didn’t mind Cosima getting some of the credit as she had probably written the majority of the paper using his notes.

He was tired, but not as tired as he pretended as he made his excuses. Only Torren seemed to know he was faking. He left with a promise to come back later and a knowing smile.

And then finally there was just Harry. He stood silently in the door frame, gazing in. Draco could tell he was trying to keep a blank face but to him the emotions were painted across his face in neon’s.

“Potter,” Draco said with a smile “Where’s mine?” he asked as they both looked down to the cup Harry was holding.

“Oh, erm, I didn’t, I can go-”

“I’m joking, come here, we need to talk” Draco cringed at his choice of words, especially when he saw the colour drain from his already pale face. Harry ran his fingers through his hair and walked to the chair. Now that he was closer Draco could see the bags under his eyes and the pale burn scars at his neck.

“Harry-”

“Before you start, have you read the Quibbler?” He put the cup down on the table as he clasped his hands infront of him as if tensing for a blow.

“Not yet, Ron and Hermione came”

“Right ok” he took a deep breath and waited.

“I’m not leaving you, alright?” Draco asked simply. Harry closed his eyes and Draco saw a couple of tears escape but didn’t mention it. “I wanted to tell you about the prize fool that you’ve decided to date and how he still has some of his bad habits from school, and how he shouldn’t have walked out on you before talking to you.” Harry looked up and Draco’s heart almost broke as he looked at the bloodshot green eyes. “I wanted to talk to you to tell you how sorry he is for everything he’s put you through, the new scars he’s given you and the heartache”

Harry sniffed and chuckled.

“You know you’re referring to yourself in the third person?” Harry asked and Draco looked down not being able to maintain contact with those honest green eyes.

“If I say it as if it’s myself I wont be able to say it at all.” Draco felt his own eyes tearing up. “When I saw that article of you with that man I panicked so completely. Just asked Cosima, I fell apart completely, I thought you’d played me for a fool and it broke my heart” He sniffed as he looked down to the orange fingers fidgeting in his lap. “I am so much more than in ‘like’ with you and have been for years, the thought of having you and then losing you what felt like seconds after, I probably would have taken myself to the cave and fed myself to those dragons with a smile on my face.”

“Don’t say that!” Harry said quietly as he reached to put a hand on Draco’s knee. He paused without touching him.

“I know, I’m hideous, apparently dragon fire doesn’t heal the same as normal fire,” Draco said derisively.

“You’re not hideous, I just don’t want to hurt you, tell me if I hurt you ok?” Harry said as he finally placed his hand on Draco’s arm. It was hot, almost uncomfortably so but it didn’t sting. Draco smiled a small smile, as he blinked away more tears.

“I am so sorry,” Draco said “I really am an idiot, I’m sorry for dragging you into all of this” He waved in the general direction of his scarred skin.

“You know me, love, saving people is kinda my thing,” He said with a smile and Draco chuckled.

“Do you still want me?” Draco asked, the words just tumbling out of his mouth. The core question to everything else finally revealed as he again waved to his disfigured body. His face started to crumble, not bearing to wait for the answer.

“Shush, don’t cry love” Draco felt the air about him move as Harry tried to comfort him. He could see the mans struggle as he tried to work out where to put his hands. He threw his hands up in the air in frustration as he grabbed his wand. He did a gentle flick and Draco started as he began to float off the bed. Harry climbed up and lay down and then lowered Draco into his arms.

“Of course I want you, Do you think I would’ve camped out on the world’s most uncomfortable chair if I didn’t?” He placed a hand gently against Draco’s face and Draco was suddenly engulfed in deep honest green, He knew that in those eyes happiness resided. “I would battle Dragon’s for you Draco,” Draco closed his eyes as he listens to Harry’s words. “I would chase you to the ends of the world to keep you, do you know why?” Draco gently shook his head as he opened his eyes and stared into that green paradise. “I would do all of those things because I am so much more than in ‘like’ with you too,” He said as he looked down at Draco’s lips. Draco felt his heartbeat pause as if it could only restart again when their lips touched. “I love you Draco,” He said into his mouth as he gently pressed his own lips to his. Draco’s heart was suddenly supercharged as Harry’s hot, soft lips were moving gently against his. He felt hot tears pouring down his face as he cried into the kiss. The kiss held promises of long nights together, of curling around each other with books and blankets. Of nights out and shared ice cream. Draco felt every bone in his body start to sing as he threaded his own hands into Harry’s hair, desperate to deepen the kiss. Harry slowly pulled away, his green eyes almost lost in pupil. “Slow down, I am scared of hurting you! When everything’s healed I’m going to return that favour you paid me at your flat.” He grinned as he stroked the stubble on his head.

“My beautiful hair” He muttered with a half-arsed whimper.

“I don’t know, but if this tint stains you may become an honorary Weasley too” Harry chuckled as Draco looked at him darkly.

“Not funny” He couldn’t hold the glare though as he looked at hisorange-tintedd skin. “I look like a pumpkin” Harry chuckled again,

“You look like my pumpkin” As he leant forward and kissed Draco’s nose. Draco smiled as he yawned, the skin around his mouth felt tight and tender. “Come on you, sleep now”

“Will you stay with me?” Harry paused for a moment.

“What if I have a nightmare and hurt you?”

“You won’t,” Draco smiled, his eyes already closing. Harry pulled away making him open his eyes, panicked. “Don’t go!” Harry smiled down to him.

“I’m not pumpkin, I’m grabbing the covers, you feel cold.” Harry pulled the covers over them as they cuddled closer together.

“Pumpkin!” He sneered “I’m never going to live this down, am I?”

“Probably not, but that’s what you get for saving my life” Harry smiled, and Draco could feel it against his face. He cuddled into the warmth that was Harry and let the world wash away again.

~~~~~

Wronski feint – A Seeker from high above dives down, sharply, as if to collect the Snitch, causing the opposing Seeker to chase after him, only to pull up at the last second, causing the opposing Seeker to crash into the ground below.

Accio Next Chapter

 

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