Author's Notes: Thanks go to my beta and to all those who sent feedback about the original draft of the fic at schnoogle or on my LJ. Your help is greatly appreciated.
Gold Tinted Spectacles
Chapter 3 - More than Talking
They met at least once every other day now and they chatted about insignificant things and Quidditch, but Harry knew he wanted more. There was an uneasy trust between them and they confided small things, but they had not spoken about the Summer again. Harry made a decision as he walked to their habitual meeting place; tonight he was going to make Draco talk to him properly. It had not escaped him that Malfoy had become Draco over the weeks either and he had to watch himself when they were with other people.
"Couldn't get away from Mudblood and Weasel?" Draco asked as Harry walked to their sheltered spot.
The dark haired boy made a face.
"I wish you wouldn't call them that," he said plaintively, "they're my friends."
"Sorry, Harry," Draco apologised almost instantly, "it's habit."
Harry smiled at his companion as he heard the genuine sentiment in the other boy's voice.
"I know all about habits," he said lightly; "I've had to stop myself calling you Draco three times this week. I'd have to claim temporary insanity if anyone heard me."
Draco looked serious for a moment and Harry thought he was going to say something but his companion frowned and looked away. The Gryffindor knew he'd broken the connection between them and he didn't want that. Cursing his overactive tongue he tried to come up with a way to mend the break.
"Do you know what I hear when a Dementor comes near me?" Harry said suddenly, knowing that the only way to connect with his companion again was to reveal something more about himself.
Draco looked back at him startled by the sudden change in subject.
"My mum and dad dying," Harry ploughed on. "That's why I fell off my broom that time, they overwhelmed me."
"But weren't you too young to remember?" his companion asked, obviously horrified by the whole idea.
Harry shook his head.
"They find every bad thought," he explained quietly, "even if it is buried in your subconscious."
"God I hope I never meet one now," Draco said with a shudder. "I never knew what they did, not really. They must be terrifying for you."
"Greatest fear," Harry admitted and looked at his friend.
The blond boy was framed in moonlight, his hair forming a halo around his face and he appeared almost ethereal as he looked at Harry with his intense eyes. Only a few weeks ago Harry could never have imagined talking to Draco like this.
"I had a perfect childhood," the Slytherin said slowly as they looked at each other; "my parents spoilt me. Until Voldemort came back my father couldn't do enough for me, and until this Summer my mother doted on me, but I made a mistake."
Draco paused and looked at the ground, Harry waited for him to go on, knowing that he was about to find out something important.
"When father brought me home after meeting the Dark Lord I told him what I thought Voldemort was," the blond boy revealed eventually, "and I told him I didn't want to be a Death Eater."
There was silence again and on impulse Harry reached out and took Draco's hand. His tense companion did not resist.
"He took me down to the cellar and he used the Cruciatus curse on me until I begged him to forgive me," Draco said in little more than a whisper. "My own father used an Unforgivable curse on me. That's when I realised he was as bad, that the man I idolized was as crazy as his master."
Harry moved closer to his companion, feeling his pain as he confessed what his father had done. Betrayal by a parent -- to the Gryffindor it seemed worse than just losing them.
"My mother hasn't spoken more than three words to me since either," Draco said, looking into Harry's face, "she can barely look at me. I think I've disappointed her."
There was pain in the Slytherin's face, but a fierce pride as well and he almost glared at Harry.
"Voldemort used Crucio on me," the Gryffindor said evenly; "I know what it's like, how you'll give anything to make it stop."
They looked at each other for a long time and Harry could see his own pain mirrored in Draco and he wondered what his companion saw in his face. He did not want to let his friend be alone anymore and he wanted to make him feel something else, something good. Harry eyes flicked over Draco's face and stopped on the boy's taut mouth. He licked his lips and looked back up into grey eyes and he saw recognition there.
They stood facing each other poised on the edge of something and then as one they moved towards each other. Their lips met and Harry felt the pain flow away. His arms snaked round the other boy and Draco deepened the kiss, his lithe frame moulding to Harry's as they embraced. It was not like the awkward, stolen kisses Harry had shared with either of his girlfriends of previous years, and he could feel the passion running through the boy in his arms. They remained locked together for a long time, exploring with their lips and tongues and only reluctantly did either break the kiss.
Harry looked into Draco's face quite shocked by the feelings he found coursing through his body. The angelic boy smiled slightly as the Gryffindor blinked at him rather dazed.
"Didn't know you had it in you, Harry," his companion said quietly and then before Harry could put his brain back together Draco slipped out of his arms and disappeared into the late Summer night.
Harry watched as the blond head vanished from sight and then he leant on the stone wall with a thump. He had not known what he wanted from Draco and now that he had it he was rather overwhelmed. This was not what he had expected when he offered his hand in friendship to the other boy, but now, now it seemed just right. The empty place inside him felt suddenly not so hollow and with a start he realised that the searching need he had been feeling since the holidays, was gone. Harry did not need to question his psyche very hard to realise that he was in love with Draco Malfoy: it was quite a shock.
It was such a simple thing really, just an accidental knock and things turned nasty. What made it worse was the fact that Harry was almost sure it was his fault: Draco had been watching him while trying to appear detached and aloof. When Harry had attempted a very rash brush of shoulders Ron had ended up in the way and the redhead had collided with the Slytherin. Draco had rounded with a sarcastic comment and Ron was obviously not in the mood.
"Why are you always around these days, Malfoy?" the volatile Gryffindor demanded hotly. "Every time we turn around there you are."
"Sure it's not just you noticing," Draco shot back with a smirk.
Ron glared and Harry could tell that his best friend's temper was heating up.
"Why would I want to notice a slimy git like you?" the redhead said angrily.
"Maybe the Mudblood isn't enough for you," Draco replied, knowing just where to hit with his words as usual, "maybe what you need is a man."
As Harry watched, all rational thought left Ron's face and he knew what would be coming next. Without thinking of any consequences the young wizard put himself between his best mate and his boyfriend.
"He's not worth it, Ron," Harry said firmly and looked his companion in the eye.
"Get out of my way, Harry," the redhead said menacingly, "the Ferret is mine."
It was not an idle threat either; Ron was the tallest of them all and playing Quidditch Keeper for three years had filled him out with as much muscle at any of the boy in their year baring Crabbe and Goyle. There was a murderous look in the redhead's eye.
"Let him through, Potter," Draco said nonchalantly. "This could be fun."
Harry shot his boyfriend a glare, sometimes Draco's mouth ran away with him and the Gryffindor did not need the interference.
"Ignore him," he said pointedly. "We need to get to the first lesson. Besides which the Quidditch season is almost here and I do not need you down with injury."
Logic rarely made any difference when Ron was going off on one, but the mention of Quidditch was an ace in the hole. The redhead still looked angry, but as Harry pushed him backwards down the corridor Ron moved. When he glanced at Hermione where she was walking beside them she was looking at him oddly and Harry did not like the ideas that crept into his head.
It was as they were headed towards the Transfiguration classroom, just before Hermione separated from them to go to the library, that the head girl cornered her prey.
"Ron, I just need to have a word with Harry for a moment," she said with her eyes narrowed on the now very nervous Gryffindor, "would you mind saving him a seat?"
Knowing what was good for him Ron glanced at his friend in sympathy and then fled. Harry looked at Hermione with a mixture of dread and annoyance.
"What exactly was all that about?" she asked pointedly before he could say anything.
"All what?" the subject of her scrutiny tried to sound innocent, but knew he failed dismally.
"You know very well, what," Hermione said shortly, looking slightly worried. "Getting between Ron and Malfoy is like standing between two angry dragons. You're usually in there with Ron throwing punches. What is going on?"
Harry didn't know what to say: he did not want to lie and yet he knew he couldn't tell her the truth. 'I didn't want my best friend hitting my boyfriend' would probably go down like a lead balloon, not to mention what Draco would do if he found out Harry had told anyone.
"That chat we had about people changing," the besieged young man's heart sank as with practiced efficiency Hermione dragged up the conversation they had had weeks ago, "were you talking about Malfoy?"
"Why would I have been talking about him?" Harry tried to skirt around the issue without outright lying.
The head girl was looking at him hard again and he knew he was shortly going to be in very hot water.
"You've been acting strangely since the beginning of term," Hermione said evenly. "You sneak off when you think no one's looking, you stare into space like you're a million miles away and then you get between Ron and Malfoy. I know you Harry, something big is on your mind and this time I'm not taking 'I don't know yet' as..."
Any second Harry knew Hermione was going to ask him a direct question and he could not bring himself to refrain from answering, instead he went for diversionary tactics.
"I'm in love, really in love," he said honestly which stopped all sound coming from the young woman's mouth.
For a moment she just stood there staring at him as if he had grown another head, then Hermione smiled.
"Really?" she asked, almost beaming at him. "It finally happened then? Who?"
"Yes, really," Harry replied, actually pleased that he could tell her something; "if the bludger to the head and stomach feelings are to be believed."
"And was this the thing you were waiting for?" Hermione asked, her smile still wide on her face.
"It's part of it," the dark haired young man replied honestly, "most of it I think, but there's still something missing, but I don't know what."
He paused, wanting to tell his friend everything but knowing that he couldn't. Hermione saw his hesitation and opened her mouth to speak again.
"I can't tell you who," Harry confessed before she could ask again. "I want to, I honestly do, but I promised."
"Why, Harry?" his friend asked with a concerned frown.
"It's complicated," the conflicted youth replied, "and I can't explain or you'd know who."
Hermione just looked at him for a few moments and pursed her lips.
"You're not in trouble are you?" she asked slowly.
"No," Harry promised quickly, "oh, god, no, I'm not in trouble at all, in fact I'm further from trouble than I have been for years, but it really is complicated. I swear I will tell you the moment I can. Please, trust me Hermione and promise me you won't try and find out who I'm seeing."
For a moment Harry thought she would refuse, but eventually the young woman nodded. The acceptance brought a warm rush of love for his friend into the young man's heart.
"Okay, Harry," Hermione said thoughtfully. "I have to admit you look happier, but I'm still allowed to worry about you, all right?"
He smiled at her and then gave her a peck on the cheek.
"Worry all you want," Harry said warmly. "I wouldn't have it any other way."
Things were a little weird in Harry's world these days, well weirder if you could get weirder than being the focus of a warlord's wrath. Harry and Draco were meeting everyday now and had been since their tryst of ten days ago. In fact they were meeting as often as they could: in dark corners; under the Quidditch stands; behind the door in the Potions classroom before anyone else came in. It was crazy. Harry wanted Draco all the time and he took anything he could get, anywhere. They still talked, one time they had talked until the early hours of the morning, but always there was the underlying current of attraction between them.
And Harry was feeling different, not just in an emotional way. It wasn't just that the universe felt as if it was right now; it was other things as well. The somewhat confused Gryffindor could not remember ever being so alive, and it wasn't just an illusion created by his emotions; in the latest Quidditch practice he had flown like he had never flown before. The rest of the team had actually stared at him in awe.
Then there was his school work: Harry had found himself asking questions he never would have considered before, as if his brain had gone up a gear or possibly just woken up. Snape had looked at him like he had another head when he'd put his hand up and asked something sensible. The Potions master had been so shocked that he'd actually answered without deducting house points.
The fact that Harry was sitting in his normal Tuesday morning Transfiguration lesson brought back the conversation he had had with Hermione the previous week. He was not sure how long he could keep the secret. He wanted to shout the truth from the top of the Astronomy tower. Harry was mulling this over and watching Professor McGonagall demonstrate a complicated transfiguration technique; another thing he would never have attempted before, musing and watching at the same time, when things became even stranger.
As his eyes followed the professor's wand hand and his ears listened to her incantation Harry's brain flipped out for a moment. For just a fraction of a second he saw bright metallic hues all around Professor McGonagall's wand that leapt at the stone as she cast her spell. It was breathtaking and almost blindingly bright which caused the young wizard to close his eyes. When he opened them again the light was gone and a rabbit sat on the table where a block of stone had previously been; which would have been fine except Harry also felt pain lance through his head.
"Harry," Ron said from beside him, "are you alright? You look peaky."
"I feel sick," the ailing boy said slowly as the stabbing pain resolved into a dull ache.
He looked at his friend while trying to decide if the nausea or the headache was worse. Ron was peering at him worriedly.
"You look awful, mate," his companion, said in his normal blunt manner; "maybe you should go and see Madame Pomfrey."
Harry considered this for a moment, but even as he did so the ache began to dissipate and his heaving stomach began to settle into only a slightly dodgy flip. Slowly he shook his head.
"I'm okay," he said, almost certain that he was; "it's passing. Maybe it was something I ate?"
"You sure?" Ron asked, looking at him seriously.
Harry knew that expression on his friend: it was Ron's 'you're not just being noble are you?' face, so Harry smiled at him.
"I'm fine, honestly," the recovering boy promised faithfully, "it's gone now."
It hadn't actually quite gone, but the strangely unconcerned feeling was coming back and driving anything darker from his mind. Harry turned back to the lesson and picked up his wand.
End of Chapter 3
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