~* I Drove All Night *~

by: Princess Cora

Part 3 – Is that all right?

Harry's heart began to melt as he saw the too-thin figure twisted up in the sheets. But memories of the past year began to trickle into his thoughts, like the first few drops before a big rainstorm. And like that rainstorm, the memories began to come faster, and more frequently, until he couldn't tell them apart anymore, like trying to pick out a single raindrop. Then the ice over his boiling anger cracked and melted away, and he began to shout.

This awakening was different. There were screams, and whirls, and he could feel someone shaking him.

"WAKE UP DAMN YOU!" the person shouted.

Draco blinked his eyes and tried desperately to focus both his thoughts and his vision. He had difficulties doing both. However, a flash of emerald green turned into two angry eyes, and Draco suddenly knew who it was. "Harry?"

"No shit."

Everything else came into a little better focus. Harry had stopped shouting, he seemed to be waiting for Draco to wake up, or perhaps he was out of breath; it was hard to tell.

"Are you real?"

"What the bloody hell are you talking about?"

"Are you real?" Draco repeated patiently.

Harry glared at him. "YES, dammit! I didn't drive all this way in the freezing rain just for you to quiz me on the state of my reality!"

"Prove it," Draco asked, though some part of him knew that this was it. The real deal. For one, Harry was wearing red, and Draco hated red. Even in his hallucinations, Harry had never worn red. It always reminded him far too much of blood. For another, he was angry, and Harry was never angry. For that matter, Draco still did not understand why Harry was angry. He was also wet – and Draco hated rain, so his visions never involved rain. That was why the most recent one had disappeared, he suspected. And finally, Draco could clearly remember being shaken awake, and no other Harry had ever been able to touch him. To wake him up, in fact... But then an explosion of lights and stars interrupted Draco's thoughts as Harry punched him in the jaw. Draco saw the room swirl, felt himself falling, and then everything went black.

Harry rushed around to the other side of the bed, where Draco had fallen. His head was cushioned against a pile of clothes. Women's clothes, I might add... Harry thought. He knelt down to see what had happened, and his breath was caught in his throat as he realized that Draco had blacked out. I didn't realize he was in such bad condition... Harry thought to himself. He pulled out his wand and did a few general healing spells: things he had picked up from being around Hermione.

Draco opened his eyes groggily, expecting the room to again be wildly out of focus, but to his surprise, it was only a second before everything became clear. Harry was squatting next to him, with his wand out. Oh, Draco thought, he must have done some healing spells or something crazy like that...

"Okay. Now that we're done with that, I'd like to ask a few questions." Harry's voice was soft and intense, his concern gone now that Draco was awake and thinking properly.

A more delirious Draco might have wondered why Harry wasn't happy to see him, but with this newfound clarity he remembered that Harry should not have been able to find him here at all. "How did you find me?" he asked.

Harry snarled. "I came here to find out why you **cking LEFT me and I end up answering your stupid questions? I think not!… WHY!? WHY DID I HAVE TO SPEND THE PAST YEAR AND A HALF ALONE?!" The anger was finally beginning to dissipate, little by little, as he shouted and raved and shouted some more.

Draco kept quiet. It was the question that had haunted him ever since he had left, and after all this time of pondering and denying and thinking of whether he had been afraid or not or whatever other crazy ideas that swirled in his mind, he finally knew the answer. He had done it protect Harry, hadn't he? He wasn't afraid; he had never been afraid of love. But he had been afraid of what would happen to Harry when things got rough. Draco raised his head, meeting Harry's beautiful emerald eyes – different from the static way Draco remembered them – they were a little darker, a little more sorrowful, a little older. "Isn't it obvious?" he whispered. "I did it because I love you."

Harry was expecting anything but this to be the answer. He was expecting to have a shout-out with Draco, to come back dejectedly to his cottage, but feeling lighter, as if the conflict was finally resolved and he could move on. He was not expecting to fall back in love with this beautiful blonde Slytherin.

"I was afraid that if you stayed with me, if you knew anything about me or where I was, the Ministry would be after you too, and... I was afraid of hurting you. I wanted you to be safe. Away from harm. Voldemort took so much away from you, I didn't think you could stand another..." Draco's voice trailed away. "...another loss..." he whispered, but he suddenly realized how twisted his thinking had been.

"Another loss?" Harry asked, echoing Draco's thoughts. "All you accomplished was to give me less time with you, made me worry myself sick about whether you were all right, and want you so much that it hurt... Draco..." And, to Draco's surprise, he collapsed onto the floor next to him and pulled him into his lap, curling an arm around his waist. "Let me tell you a story. Let's see, it was in... sixth year? Yes, sixth year. Before I knew you." Harry smiled into Draco's hair. "Before Voldemort's defeat, I was in a hell of a lot of danger. After the experience in the Department of Mysteries in fifth year, I realized just how much my friends were affected by my being the object of the Dark Lord's ire. So one day, I got this notion that I would be better off without any friends. Or, rather, that my friends would be better off without me."

Draco nodded. This made sense.

"Big mistake. One of the biggest mistakes of my life. For one, I didn't tell my friends what I was doing – for the reason that they would try to talk me out of it, and would probably succeed. So those few months were the most horrible, lonely, and guilty months of my life. When they finally found out why I was ignoring them, they ran after me, knocked me into the lake by 'accident', and refused to let me out of their sight for a week. And that included showers."

Draco let out something that was a half giggle-half growl of jealousy. "Hey, they'd never try anything like that anymore," Harry explained. "But aside from that, they gave me an extensive lecture that went something like this – 'we're the only ones who can choose to stay away from you because we think it's too dangerous. We know you're putting us in danger by existing. We know you're the Boy Who Lived. But we choose to be your friends anyway because you're a wonderful person and we love you.'… And I love you. I love you for being you, and I would choose to brave a thousand dangers every morning to spend the rest of my life with you. I'm not angry any more – you made the same mistake I did."

There were tears trailing down Draco's gaunt face. "I'm... Harry, I'm sorry..."

Harry smiled, kissing the top of Draco's blond head. "I know."

They sat in silence for a minute as Draco cried, trying to gasp out an apology or something like it. Harry wondered what he was going to do next. The answer came when Draco finally got out some intelligible words. "Harry, I can't... I'm... I've been sick all month. I can't take it... I need..."

"What you need," Harry said, "Is food, sleep, and a proper home; none of which you have right now." Harry scooped his lover up in his arms. "Geez Draco, you're light as a feather." He placed Draco down on the bed, ignoring his mumbled protest. "Shh. Go to sleep." And with that, Harry got on as well, snuggling himself around the slightly shorter Draco the way they used to, so that their bodies almost molded into each other. Draco was a little thinner, true, but they still fit. However, there was one last issue that needed to be solved. "Draco?"

"Hmm?"

"Why is there women's clothing all over your floor?"

When Draco woke up, he was safe, happy, comfortable, and warm; but he was also really, really hungry. He had been going without food for days, so it was not a new concept. However, being warm, comfortable, happy, and safe was something that had not happened in a long time.

His grey eyes snapped open, to see Harry's beautiful face in front of him, still relaxed in sleep. He moved himself just enough to look around the room. It was definitely not his. The bed was bigger – a queen-size, he thought – and it was a hell of a lot neater and cleaner than something that Draco had been living in. The velvet comforter spread caringly over the two men was dark green, a comforting color from the disgusting blue of his old flat.

He felt Harry stir next to him, and a second later, his familiar face appeared within Draco's field of vision. "Morning, sunshine," Harry whispered.

Draco was deluged with a flood of memories. Every morning, even if Draco got up first, he would wait until Harry awoke and pretend to have been asleep. Then Harry would smile and say a sweet "Morning, sunshine" to the sleepy Draco who was always the very opposite of sunshine. How was it that Harry could see light in Draco's darkness? Sunshine in his moonlit soul? Suddenly, he couldn't take it anymore, and pulled Harry down into a passionate kiss to which the other man eagerly responded.

Hermione was making "breakfast" (it was 1:00 in the afternoon already, but she needed her beauty sleep) in the kitchen as Ron cleaned up his mess in the drawing room, carrying stacks of papers to their room. "Hey Ron, have you seen Harry?" she called out, forgetting that she had gone to sleep after Ron and woken up before him.

"Hopefully he's getting some sleep. His door's closed."

"Oh, good. I hadn't noticed," she replied, referring to the door.

Ron came back into the kitchen after piling the last of his papers. He came up behind Hermione and slipped his arms around her waist, hooking his chin over her shoulder.

"Honey, I can't move."

"You're comfy."

"Ron..."

"You smell good."

"Oh, fine." Hermione smiled, not really wanting to object anyway. They stayed in the embrace for another minute before Hermione had to save the eggs from burning.

"I love Saturdays..." she sighed happily as she finished cooking. "You want to do something today?"

Ron got himself a glass of water. "Maybe. I missed you last night. I was kind of hoping to make up the time..." He raised his eyebrows suggestively.

Hermione grinned and set the three plates down. "Ron, you fell asleep on the couch! If anyone, I should be the one demanding make-up sex!"

Ron gave her The Sad Puppy Face. "Will you?"

She laughed and kissed him. "It sounds like a wonderful idea. However, let's have breakfast first. We'll save Harry's plate for later, he needs the sleep."

A minute later, the notion of Harry catching up on sleep was completely blown out of their minds. Harry and Draco had appeared in the dining room, and although only their very best friends would know that tousled clothes and rumpled hair meant something other than sleep – well… Ron and Hermione were their very best friends.

"You didn't get any sleep at all, did you?" Hermione asked accusingly. She really wasn't at all surprised that Draco had appeared overnight; well, she would have a lot to say to him later in the day, but it was a little much to be hit with on a Saturday morning (after what was most likely mind-blowing sex).

Harry glared at her indignantly as he and Draco sat down in the seats he'd always imagined they would take – him across from Ron, Draco on his right, Hermione at the head of the table on the left. "I did too! I was up until 7:30 driving Draco here, then I slept 'til 12:30, then we came down here. Eventually," he added, grinning.

Hermione frowned. "But it's – oh! You brought him in at 7:30 a.m.?" she cried.

Harry pushed his eyes over to Draco, who devoured them. "Hey, it's six hours there and six back!"

"More like seven," Draco added.

"I was driving fast," Harry replied.

Hermione sighed heavily. Yes, a LOT to talk about... "All right. Well, Draco... Oh it's so good to see you again!"

Draco smiled quietly. "It still feels like some kind of dream. Everything's too happy here."

Harry shook his head, taking Draco's hand under the table. "Draco, this is just the way everything is supposed to be."

...he should have been there on all those nighttime drives down empty highways...he should have woken up next to Harry every morning...he should be sitting right next to Harry at the breakfast table...

And from now until forever, he would be.

Author's Notes:

To My Reviewers:

tina_leo18 ~lol school is very boring, that's why I write fanfiction! It's a great way to pass time during math class... =^..^=

anyway I decided it needed a proper ending, so there's one more part to come. It's a totally fluffy Christmas scene, kind of like an epilogue. Lots of cuteness. Well, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR! REVIEW DAMMIT! Then you get your name mentioned in the last chapter =^..^=