To confirm - I make no claim (obviously) to the characters below, but am really happy to have had the chance to play with them and make something that is, I hope, enjoyable to read.
I will also admit that this is my first story so please let me know what you think. I am very open to constructive feedback and comment on the story so please, if you have time and would like to please, either comment or drop me an email on phill2818 at hotmail .co . uk
Harry Potter and the Unforeseen Hero
Chapter Fourteen: Destruction
When Harry awoke it was light, he was alone and the bed next to him had been neatly made. He found he had an irrational dislike of the fact that Draco had left him. Of course he knew that this was irrational because he had no hold over Draco; it wasn't as if they were boyfriends or anything, far from it. It was at this early interlude of his own thoughtfulness that he realised that he had actually just considered the possibility of dating Draco Malfoy! To his own surprise he found that this thought was not met with hostility although perhaps some trepidation. The last person he had dated had been both female and not a renowned nemesis, so true it would be a break from past precedent, but then since when had Harry done anything because it was `normal' or easy?
His thoughts moved to his ex girlfriend, Ginny Weasley, in some alternative universe they would end up married, have three children and be seen waving them off onto the Hogwarts express as they started their own education, but this was reality not make believe fairytales. He had known it wouldn't work with Ginny not long after they started to date. Her being his best friend's sister had not helped their relationship start on an even keel but the fiery temperament and stubbornness coupled with Harry's distractions of sixth year had meant the entire experience was just a flash in the pan.
Returning to his original train of thought; the increased closeness he had experienced with Draco and the fact that he had saved his life made him feel irrationally angry that he had been left alone. This line of thinking was not helping the dull throbbing that still existed in the back of his head and he quickly found that any significant movement left him short of breath too. Sighing Harry slowly pushed himself up on the bed, he had never been the type of person that couldn't look after himself, and he had no intention of needing anyone now! With resolute determination he set about moving himself from his bed to the bathroom in order to have a shower and then he would go to the kitchen and find out what was going on. Had they managed to retrieve the Horcrux? What steps where being made to ensure its destruction?
There was a new emotion now on top of the original frustration of being left alone; guilt. He felt guilty that this had not been his first thought. First things first, he had to shower and he was partially successful in that endeavour; he made it into the bathroom and he also managed to strip off his top. His success stopped there however, when it came to turning on the shower, the moment he leant over to adjust the temperature he lost his balance and crashed with an almighty bang into the bathtub.
"Harry!? Harry!?" the concerned voice of one Hermione Granger came closer as she approached the bedroom. She had not come alone Ron and Draco where in tail and had come to witness his downfall as he lay face down in the bathtub with the lukewarm water running over him.
"What on earth possessed you to attempt to move like that?" she scolded
"Perhaps now is not the time for the lecture Granger" Draco snapped returning to past formalities and moved forwards to shut off the water and help Harry from the tub and into a sitting position on the toilet.
"Well Malfoy" her overemphasis on the return to formalities "as you have everything under control we will leave him in your capable hands. Get him washed and back into bed, I will change the sheets and then we can talk" with that and in a very Severus Snape-esk way she turned on her heal and marched from the room with Ron following closely behind. Moments later the red head reappeared clutching a putrid green vial and giving Harry a sympathetic look "and you are supposed to drink this"
"What is it?" Harry eyed the vial suspiciously
"Dunno mate but if I was you I would just drink it" and he slipped from the room pushing the door closed.
Still eyeing the vial as though it would bite him Draco pulled the cork out the end and pushed it up to his mouth "Smells like a regenerative potion. I haven't been overseeing your potions as I was under Hermione's care too initially. But I would imagine that she couldn't treat the burning of your lungs whilst your magical core was recovering. Drink it, it should help to heal your lungs and you will be able to breath easier"
After he had ensured that Harry consumed the potion Draco turned his back and began to run the bath. "What did possess you to try and get yourself cleaned up on your own? You know that you have been recovering from a very serious illness? Our best guess, based on the research we have done, is that the purple gas was damaging your magical core, not to mention playing merry havoc with your lungs" his tone was gentle, not the sharp accusatorial tone Hermione had employed.
"Well I was on my own and I am used to fending for myself" the pout was endearing Draco decided but the inflections in his voice he had not missed
"Am I being reprimanded?"
"What? No of course not, you do as you please"
"Do you know what time it is Harry?"
"No, what does that matter?"
"It's just gone 3PM"
"Do you not think that your friends may question why at 3PM I had not left our room? Or had I not roused myself early that when Hermione barges in first thing that they may find discovering me in your bed, albeit under a separate duvet a little oooh I don't know queer? I do of course mean the word `queer' in the old fashioned sense of the word"
"Does it matter what they think?"
"I don't know Harry, you tell me. I don't even know what is going on let alone how I should be presenting myself to your friends. Do you know?"
The silence was telling and Draco shut the taps off and moved the water around in the bath to ensure a consistent heat. "I didn't think so"
"I'm ill; forgive me for being a little irrational!" Harry snapped
"Your bath is ready"
The redness swam up Harry's cheeks as the realisation of their current predicament dawned on him "You aren't staying in here?"
"Able to get yourself into and out of the bath, wash your hair and not break your neck Potter?" the faint hint of the trademark sneer crossed Draco lips and was gone again in an instant. "Oh don't worry Harry, I won't look"
"I would probably need a magnifying glass to see it anyway"
"Just help me get into the bath; prat"
Draco helped Harry to his feet and wrapped a towel around him to conserve his modesty and then pulled the black trousers down and then with some difficulty helped manoeuvre Harry into the bath and a sitting position, pulling the towel away as Harry slipped under the water and pulled bubbles around him.
With Draco's help he was clean and feeling fresh as Ron supported him to get back into bed. As soon as he settled and had swallowed another of Hermione's regenerative potions he began "So. Where is it?"
"What do you think I mean? The Horcrux!"
"It's secured away until we can brew the potion and then destroy it" Ron said
"How long does the potion take to make?"
"Not long and we have the ingredients that we need but we need to be prepared because the potion by its very nature is highly volatile. We need to brew it and use it. I wouldn't recommend brewing it here either in case something goes wrong" Hermione cut in as she entered the room.
"Who is going to brew it?" Harry doubted that this question had been addressed and was determined to ensure that someone took charge in this area rather than have two people operating in the same space attempting not to piss the other off. The silence was uncomfortable and Ron became engrossed in the ends of his fingernails.
"Do you want me to decide for you?" Harry cut in after he could stand it no longer, again a silence. "Fine. Draco brews the potion. Hermione you are the best researcher we have; we need you looking into possible locations for the other ones"
She looked both incensed and mollified at the same time and the result was a very curious expression of satisfaction from the complement but disappointment at `missing out' on the chance to Draco to brew the potion.
"So when do you want me to start?" Draco asked
"How long do you actually need?"
"It will be ready by the end of the second day"
"Right. Well there isn't much decent time left of today so why don't you start tomorrow. How long before I will be up and about doctor?"
"You should remain in bed today and I suspect we will be able to move you into the kitchen or whatever tomorrow. You won't be off running in the mornings for at least another few weeks"
"Yes Harry, weeks and if you try to push it then we will have to sedate you. I know you want to get on but what has occurred seriously damaged you and it will need time to recover. I expect if you ask nicely either Draco or Ron will be able to pass you your music or maybe even play you wizard's chess or something to pass the time"
Harry was a reluctant invalid and earned himself a further tongue lashing from Hermione when he attempted to use the bathroom after dinner, which had been brought to him by Kreacher on a tray. Draco had been sent into the room after he had finished his own meal to ensure that Harry no longer exerted himself.
As Draco entered Harry smiled and pulled the headphones from his ears.
"What you listening to?"
"An Australian group called `Savage Garden'. I like them. I guess you have been put on guard duty?"
"Something like that yeah! Make sure you don't do yourself another injury!"
"I was always prone to accidents, even as a kid"
"How do you mean?"
"Well I once set a snake on my cousin Dudley; just before I turned eleven and found out I was a wizard"
Draco was laughing "If I had done that I would have been strung up I recon"
"Well it wasn't exactly intentional. He just made me really mad. I didn't even know I could perform magic at the time"
"I don't understand though. I thought the Dark Lord well..." Draco trailed off and scratched the back of his head and Harry looked up expectantly "...well, I thought he you know, killed your parents. How could you not have known you were a Wizard when that happened?"
"I wasn't told until my eleventh birthday. I had always been told that they died in a car crash" and a hangdog expression fell over his countenance.
"Sorry Harry, I didn't know"
"It's fine. Why would you know? Look you and me at school; we didn't exactly start off on the best foot so I expect you don't know too much about me or me you. If you want to know anything, just ask. It's not a problem"
This simple statement opened the floodgates to a conversation that several months ago Harry could not even conceive that he would be having. When Hermione looked in a little after ten and informed them that she and Ron were going to bed another dire warning of consequences was issued if they stayed up all night talking.
The conversation continued as both parties grew steadily more tired but somehow not wanting to interrupt the exchange of information and the simple pleasure of spending time in the others company. It was only when Draco posed a difficult question that the atmosphere tensioned.
"What is going on Harry? Between you and me, I mean. I just..." he paused and looked around the room awkwardly "I feel very close to you after such a short period of time and I want to know if that's as friends or someone you tolerate because I'm half good at potions or something else" Harry admired the Slytherin form that the question had taken. He had exposed a little information about his own feelings by asking the question in the first place but at no point during the question had he expressed any desire for a particular answer. He could have been asking if they should eat breakfast before running or after.
"I don't know Draco" the butterfly's in Harry's stomach had made an appearance and his midriff constricted slightly as he tried to organise his thoughts. He wanted to be honest but at the same time he didn't want to assume that Draco was asking if they would ever be more than friends or something entirely different.
"Let me put it this way and hope that I am not going out wildly on a limb. I have never labelled myself; the Daily Prophet has always done that so well for me. The Boy Who Lived" the sneer in his voice was evident "and because of that I have avoided labels. I have never, erm, well you know. I don't know what that means but I am willing to find out" he finished up lamely
"So how do you think of me?"
Harry flushed "Well Malfoy, I mean Draco, I guess I think erm that your erm quite nice to look at and that you aren't the arsehole I always thought you were"
"Is that some Gryffindor code for `I fancy you' because I think I prefer that to `you aren't an arsehole'. Yes, yes I definitely prefer the traditional approach"
"Shut up Draco. You have just sat there and watched me squirm through the answer to your question and you haven't said anything"
It was Draco's turn to squirm under Harry's piercing glare "Unlike you I have considered the possibility of dating another guy and I'm quite ok with it. I guess I hadn't considered that if I were to date a bloke it would be you"
"Oh cheers Malfoy. Thanks for that. Have any other bloke but not me" He was half joking and half serious as the words rolled automatically from his tongue.
"What I was going to say, had I been allowed to finish, was that I had always considered you unobtainable. We hated each other, remember? I hardly felt that that would put us on a solid footing for me to ask you out for dinner. Anyway on top of that I didn't even know that you were interested in men. If, hypothetically speaking of course, I was to kiss you would you freak out?"
"I am sure I could contain myself" Harry said and the atmosphere was thick, you could feel the tension in the air like electricity.
Draco licked his lips "That's good to know. Best get ready for bed, look at the time?"
Harry fought quickly to hide the look of disappointment at the second half of the blonds' sentence but had clearly failed to do this sufficiently quickly
"What's up?" Draco asked in a feigned disinterest
"Nothing. Goodnight" and Harry sank deeper into the bed and rolled onto his side to face away from the boy standing looking at him.
Draco had quickly gotten changed into his pyjamas, blown out the candle and slipped under the duvet.
"What the hell" Harry asked in indignation as he rolled over and watched the blond settled down beside him
"I thought it was ok if I kissed you" Harry could barely see the blonds features in the dark but he felt the hand go up into his hair and pull him gently down so that their lips met for the first time. It was like a current passing between their lips and Harry soon became short of breath and his chest ached as he lay face down crushing the side of his chest into Draco. When they finally broke apart Draco ran his thumb down the side of Harry's face.
"I could get used to that"
"Could you. Well you won't be getting anymore of that the next time you are mean to me like that"
"What ever do you mean Potter?"
"You know full well what I mean; you teased me"
"Not yet I haven't"
"Shut up" he was grinning, though he doubted the blond could see, and administered a playful slap to Draco's arm.
It took a while for the pair to find a comfortable position in which to sleep. Neither was particularly keen to be caught rubbing their hard cock on the other's body so new into, whatever this was. Eventually Draco curled up in the crook of Harry's arm. Draco had promised himself whilst pulling on his pyjamas that there would be no `funny business'. Harry was ill and Draco was not about to push his luck. At that moment he was content to simply be close to Harry and have his arms around him.
What felt like only five minutes later but in reality was closer to six hours Draco gently nudged Harry into semi consciousness.
"Harry. I have to go and start this potion. Plus Ron or Hermione will be here in a short while but I didn't want you to wake up and find I had just disappeared. Take your potion while you are awake and then try and get some more sleep" he pushed his lips down onto Harry's who groaned appreciatively.
"I like this wake up"
"Drink your potion"
"I change my mind"
"Drink it, or I will know"
"Where are you going to be doing the potion?"
"I can start off in here this morning but I will be outside by this afternoon"
"Make sure you aren't alone outside please"
"I will be fine Harry, honestly"
"No I really don't want you, or anyone else outside alone. I know you don't get on but please take Ron with you, ok?"
Draco huffed and pressed his lips gently to Harry's once again and left the room.
Harry awoke still not feeling himself but comparably much better than yesterday, only moments later Ron had bounded into the room and kept an eye on Harry whilst he got up, showered and dressed. Ron of course remained the bedroom side of the bathroom door but kept his ears pealed in the event of a struggle. With only minor support from Ron, Harry made it into the kitchen and sat down opposite Hermione.
"How are you feeling?"
"Much better actually thanks"
"Yeah you will improve quite quickly from now on but please don't over do it and seriously Harry, no running for at least a couple of weeks. You need to ensure your lungs are fully recovered" Hermione said as she stuck her head around the door.
"Yes mum" but he grinned at her and she took the comment in the spirit to which it was intended.
Hermione and Harry began a discussion in earnest about the potential locations of other Horcrux's and the four sat down to lunch for the first time since before the raid on Zonko's. Harry and Draco exchanged looks like nervous schoolgirls across the table at each other but thankfully the other two where engrossed in their own conversation. After lunch Draco and Ron made their way above ground as Draco began combining the more unstable elements to the potion.
Harry and Hermione were in the middle of creating a list of potential locations when Ron stuck his head down and called for Hermione's assistance. She bustled up and our of the tree stump to find Draco stirring the caldron methodically. Once clockwise, four times counter clockwise. Hermione knew better than to break concentration and waited patiently. Harry gave up waiting and stuck his head out of the hole.
"What's going on?"
Eventually having not been ordered back down as soon as he appeared he climbed gingerly out and onto the forest floor.
Draco eventually stopped counting and cast a timing spell that would activate when the next step was due.
"What's going on?"
"You wanted to speak to me apparently?"
"Yeah, yeah I wanted to know what you thought to this" and he handed the decaying potions book to Hermione "I think if we add desiccated beetle eyes at this stage in the potion it will increase the potency by around nine percent and I wanted to know if you had a view?"
The conversation was dull; Harry and Ron took to talking about the likely construct of the Gryffindor house Quidditch team in their absence. When Draco and Hermione had finished their conversation Harry offered to stay with Draco and give Ron a break that was rejected instantly and he was ushered back down to the kitchen. The day dragged into night and Hermione went to relieve Ron who greeted Harry and immediately went to bed. Harry tucked himself into bed and waited hopefully that Draco might return. The sheets ruffled in the middle of the night and Harry felt arms snake around him but they were gone again only a few hours later.
The following morning Harry awoke much earlier than usual and felt considerably better than he had done, Kreacher provisioned him with a bacon sandwich and he made his way up to the surface to find Ron back on guard duty.
"Hey Harry. Should you be up here?"
"Look I feel much better; it's you guys that have been up most of the night. Go and get some kip and make sure Hermione doesn't give you any grief. I'm feeling much better honest"
Harry took up Ron's seat and silently watched the blond at work. It was enthralling he was very very focused and exacting in the execution of the art of potion making.
"Ron can I have another pepper up potion?"
"That's remarkably cordial. But as you can see I'm not Ron"
"Harry! You could have said you know!"
"You were working. I didn't want to interrupt. How is it coming along?"
"Not bad, another few hours and we should be ready"
"Where is the pepper up potion I will get you one"
Draco walked over to Harry and placed his arms around him gently bringing their lips together
"Don't worry about it, I don't need it anymore" he grinned and turned back to the potion.
Another hour past before Hermione made an appearance and gave Harry a disapproving look but did not stop her asking "How much longer?"
"I asked that about an hour ago and it was a few more then so I would say at least a while longer"
"You shouldn't be up here you know" she said
"Mionie if all was right with the world none of us would be here and there wouldn't be an insane Dark Lord. Life isn't all right all the time and you three have been working more or less around the clock. Its my turn, I am not feeling one hundred percent I admit but it has to be just as bad as fighting fatigue which is undoubtedly what you three are currently facing"
She disappeared back downstairs. The time felt to Harry as if the seconds were passing like minutes, the minutes like hours and the hours like days. Several `days' later Draco looked up from the potion again and spoke
"This will be ready in precisely twenty three minutes. Can you tell the other two and bring it up here"
Five minutes later the group took their last instructions from Draco.
"We don't know how this will react. I am anticipating that it will be fine but as a precaution I think you should all be sheltered just to be safe and I will drop this in"
"Wait a moment. What about you if you happen to be wrong?" Harry interjected
"I don't think it will be a problem Harry but as I say it's pointless us all taking the risk when only one of us need do it"
"We can cast shield charms from our positions of shelter" Hermione cut in.
"You can give a count down from three. You drop it on `one' and we cast on `one'. That way you should be protected too"
The group took up the positions and took careful aim to offer Draco some protection.
"Three" they all sucked in a lungful of breath
"Two" the protectors doubled their grips on their wands
"One" three shouts of `Protego!' followed and as if in slow motion a shiny silver thimble dropped from Draco's hand and as it touched the surface three shield charms erupted in front of him.
The additional protection was not required and in a wholly anticlimactic end to one of the darkest objects to exist on the earth the potion that had been transparent turned a thick tar colour and a faint scream could be heard. A moment later the potion began to lighten and returned to its transparent form. They could see down to the bottom of the caldron and there was nothing in it.
"Why doesn't the potion burn through the caldron?"
Draco shook his head disapprovingly in Harry's direction and smiled "Did you listen to a word Snape said in potions? The caldron is protected as the vessel of the potions creation"
"Right; I knew that"....
"It must be lunch time by now I am starving?" Ron asked as soon as Draco had concluded telling Cuffe the closing end of the destruction of the first Horcrux.
"Quite right young sir; I have surely kept you much longer in this morning session than we had agreed. Why don't we meet back here at three for a short session before time makes fools of us again and we must part ways for another week?"
"Cool sounds good"