mod_neverafter (mod_neverafter) wrote in hp_neverafter,
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Happy Never After, serpenscript!

Title: Never On Time
Author: ???
Recipient: serpenscript
Words: ~5,900
Characters: Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy, Dudley Dursley
Rating/warning(s) : PG-13; boy!loving, main character death
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or the magical world he lives in.
Summary: After the final battle, Harry disappeared. A few years later, nobody can save him. Not even Draco Malfoy.
Author's Note I hope you enjoy! Thanks to my betas – any other mistakes in here are mine and mine alone.



Two in the morning and, once again, Andrew Parkson woke from a nightmare he couldn’t remember. His hand flew to his head, putting pressure over a lightning bolt scar. He had received it when his parents died and, every now and then, it would flare and give him a migraine. He never understood why, though he figured it had to do with the massive memory gap in his mind. All he remembered was waking up in a hospital, wire and tubes extending from his body. He didn’t speak, though somehow he knew the words. The nurses assured him that he would be fine and, within a week, he had actually believed it.

It took another week for "family" to show up. Two men who looked nothing alike stepped into his room. One introduced himself as Draco Black, the other as Dudley Evans. They were foster brothers, Dudley explained, and had been in Europe on vacation when Andrew disappeared. Frantic, the two had been looking everywhere before checking in at random hospitals. It took them so long because Andrew had been in the last one they checked and they had to get everything checked out before seeing him. Though he didn’t remember them, Andrew felt gratitude that someone cared.

He was released to them the next morning. Draco smiled warmly, telling him they were going home. Andrew wasn’t sure where home was, so he nodded and grabbed the suitcase with his name on it. Draco and Dudley seemed to bicker the entire way, but Andrew found it oddly comforting. The plane was a different story, but eventually the three of them arrived in Boston.

It was there, in a cramped apartment, that he was told what his mind was missing. From his parent’s murder to his disappearance; they couldn’t tell him any further since they weren’t there, but Andrew appreciated it all the same. Draco told him of his own adoption into a wealthy family, as well as Dudley and Andrew’s adoption into an abusive one. When asked how they came together again, Draco laughed and told Andrew about his rescue attempt complete with bribes, kidnapping, and general trouble-making. He had both Andrew and Dudley laughing before the end of his story.

Through all of it, Dudley made sure that Andrew knew of their friendship and, most importantly, their brotherhood.

He learned that he used to like gardening, and Draco apologized if he accidentally called him "Potter" as a joke because of it. He also learned that he loved baseball and used to be an excellent catcher. The Red Sox were his favorite team, no matter how bad they played, but Draco insisted that he hated the color red that usually went with their uniforms. Neither Dudley nor Draco could explain exactly why, but Andrew figured he would figure it out eventually.

None of it explained his migraines, and neither of his friends could explain them either. Andrew sighed and reached over to grab a bottle of Motrin he always kept by his bedside. Two pills later, his head went back to his pillow and he closed his eyes in an attempt to sleep.

- - - - -


"Is he asleep?"

Draco looked up from his spell and nodded. "Yes, finally."

"Good." Dudley hesitated. "His magic?"

A frown crossed the blond’s lips. "Not active."

"Is that good?"

"How many times do I have to tell you, Dursley?"

"Don’t say that name around--"

"The longer his magic is suppressed like this, the more he dies."

The pudgy boy sighed and pushed off the door frame. "I’m just hoping you’ll change your answer. I’d like to have him around a while longer. You know, get to know him again."

Draco held himself back from snapping. Dudley, being a Muggle and ignorant of magic, was in his right to be hopeful. After all, they had both just gotten to know the old Harry before this happened and Draco had to admit he wanted to get to know the new one, too. "No," he finally said, "it will kill him. Even if he were to stay away from everything magic, he wouldn’t survive more than a few years. I’m actually surprised he’s survived this long with me casting spells around this place."

"You’re trying to kill him?"

"No, you prick, I’m not trying to kill him. It’s just wards and silencing spells."

"And the one where you look at his stuff."

Draco turned to stare at Dudley. "The monitoring one? Yeah, that too."

"Isn’t that--?"

"I know," Draco admitted, "but there’s no other way. I’m not exactly a healer, which is good. They’d cast so many charms that they’d probably kill him before they realized what happened."

"Then how did you know what he had?"

"My father’s ‘friends’ enjoyed the spell that caused it. Well, it’s actually a series of spells. My mother showed me how to check for it. Most of the ones infected died in the war, so it’s not really a problem now."

"Except for Harry."

"Yes, except for Harry." Draco forced a smile. "He always had to be special."

After the war, when all the bloodshed was gone and the bodies counted, the wizarding world realized one thing: Harry Potter was missing. Search teams sprouted from the ground and, within days, the entire wizarding section of the European continent was searched over. It was by chance that Draco had found Dudley, circling around the outside of The Leaky Cauldron as if he were trying to find the establishment. Annoyed and a little afraid of discovery, Draco had asked if he could help the chubby man.

Dudley had latched onto him, begging Draco to be a wizard. Draco calmed the distraught man down long enough to know that this was Harry’s pig of a cousin. Most importantly, he knew where Harry was, but had been unable to get near him. He needed a wizard to help him, a wizard who could forge the papers needed to get Harry out of the Muggle hospital and into better care.

Draco jumped at the opportunity. He could bring Potter back to the wizarding world and save the Malfoy name. No longer would he be looked down upon. He told Dudley he would help, he just needed the right information. But, the more Dudley talked, the more worried Draco became. The amnesia was one thing, but there were no reports of weird happenings. Dudley told him that as a kid, Harry was always using his magic, making things happen without meaning to.

It had taken all night for Draco to explain his theory and, before they went to the hospital the next morning, Dudley called his parents to tell them he was eloping with his boyfriend. It was a story he knew his parents wouldn’t look into, being homophobic, and it granted him peace away from them. Sometimes, he figured, it was a good thing to have parents who were so close-minded. Draco owled his own parents, claiming to need a vacation from everything; they didn’t question him, giving him free reign of the Malfoy vaults. They forged the papers that night, Dudley promising to follow Draco’s lead as they did so. Soon, they had everything they would need for their cover story, including things that Harry, now Andrew, would have had on him. Draco even cast a spell to make their accents not as strong, as if they were just adopted rather than natural.

After Dudley confirmed that ‘Andrew’ was indeed their relation, Draco launched into the story of being orphans. It wasn’t until after they got Harry out of the hospital that he was able to cast the diagnostic spell his mother taught him. He didn’t even need to tell Dudley, the other man nodding as soon as he saw Draco’s face. Harry’s magic was inactive and, because of that, his body would slowly shut down. There was nothing they could do until Draco was able to look into it further.

After a few weeks, everything seemed fine. Harry, now Andrew, was adjusting well. Draco and Dudley hadn’t tried killing each other in days, and nobody had followed them overseas. Draco had even been able to get into the local wizarding library, though the research was slow. The only problem was Harry’s nightmares. It woke them both and, if it weren’t for the quick silencing charm Draco cast the first night, he was sure everyone would hear. Draco offered to put up the spell around Dudley’s room, but the man refused. Since then, they had both gathered in Draco’s room after an episode to wait for Harry to fall back asleep.

It had been two years since they arrived in Boston and, despite everything, Draco was only surprised that Harry was still alive and well.

- - - - -


"Morning," Andrew said, sliding into his chair. "How’d you two sleep?"

"Fine," Draco answered while Dudley just grunted.

Andrew reached forward to grab a piece of bacon from Dudley’s plate. "Sunshine," he teased. "What are today’s plans?"

"I’m going to read. I just got the latest Koonz book in the mail." Draco poured three cups of coffee.

"Bookworm," Dudley muttered after accepting his cup. "I have to work this afternoon."

"Neither of you have to work," Draco reminded them. "I do have--"

"The money, we know." Andrew rolled his eyes. "Working is better than watching you read."

"You could read a book yourself."

"No thanks." Andrew dumped some creamer in his coffee. "I’d rather be outside."

Draco raised an eyebrow. "You work at a zoo."

"So?"

"You work with the snakes and other reptiles," Dudley pointed out. "That’s hardly outside."

"At least he stopped thinking the stupid things could talk to him," Draco drawled. Though he teased about it, that fact worried him. Harry was always known for his parseltongue and to lose it? It meant the curse was progressing. Even those losing their magic naturally had kept their more obscure abilities.

"Yeah," Dudley added, "I remember the speeches he gave us when he first came home."

"The rattler said it would bite me," Draco mimicked.

"That’s enough," Andrew told them. "The doctor said it was a side effect from whatever happened in Europe."

"Yeah and if you wait any longer, one of your snakes is going to bite you for being late." Draco gave Andrew a smile. "Enjoy your day at work, Andy."

"You’re such an ass." Still, Andrew finished his coffee and left the apartment.

Both Draco and Dudley counted to a hundred before they moved. Draco put an extra ward up, just to warn them if Andrew was coming back, and Dudley opened the window. An owl flew to the table and dropped a newspaper. Dudley scratched its head, offered some bacon, and then paid for the delivery. He then unfolded the Prophet and started to read.

"Anything?" Draco asked when he walked back into the room.

"Nothing." Dudley turned the page. "Or not. Looks like they’re posting some story about the last battle." He skimmed further through the article. Draco had never told him how everything happened and he was curious.

"I almost forgot. Tomorrow is the anniversary." Draco sat down, frowning. "I always forget about it."

"Why?"

Draco looked toward Dudley with a calm face, even if he was tense. "If you only remember being trapped by fire and watching your friend burn alive, you would want to forget that, too."

"Oh." Dudley fell silent after that, focusing on the article instead. He paused near the end. "Hey, Draco?"

"What is it now?"

"Isn’t there some spell to instantly kill someone?"

"Yes, why?"

Dudley shrugged and closed the paper.

"Are you wondering why Harry didn’t use it?"

"That would be the easiest thing to do, right?"

Draco sighed and pulled the paper toward him. Ron Weasley stood on the front cover, his hand in a weeping Hermione Granger’s. "Some say only a dark soul can cast it and, since Harry was ‘too pure,’ it would have never worked."

"What do you think?"

"I think that’s a load of crap." Draco flipped open the paper. "I think he was too scared. The spell he did use would have killed anyone over time. I think he was looking for a way out. For someone else to kill the Dark Lord instead."

"Did the spell not work?" Dudley folded his hands together. "I mean, he’s still alive, right?"

"The Disintegration Spell is not one to randomly cast."

"But--"

"And if this is living," Draco continued, "then he’s already dead."

"What do you mean?"

"I think," Draco began slowly, "that somehow Harry aimed the curse at himself instead of the Dark Lord. Instead of his magic disintegrating, Harry’s did instead. It would be the perfect way to get out of killing the bastard, since the more magic you do use at first, the faster it disappears."

"So how did the Dark Lord die?"

Draco spread his hand and shrugged. "Nobody remembers. The only proof is the Dark Lord’s body and his seven destroyed horcruxes."

"The soul holder things."

"Yes, those. They were only missing one."

Dudley raised an eyebrow. "Which one?"

"Harry."

- - - - -


Andrew bounded up the stairs two at a time, too excited to use the crowded elevator. The walls kept his excitement in and it hindered his movements too much. No, he had to use the energy or he’d go crazy. He wasn’t even sure he could keep it inside enough to please Draco, who always seemed to hate it when he was overly excited. Unable to keep the smile off his face, he unlocked the door to the apartment and burst in.

Out of everything he expected, it wasn’t Draco pointing at him with a stick. He froze, his grin diminishing slightly. "Draco? What are you doing?"

Draco lowered his arm, a blush rising in his cheeks. "I was…"

"Don’t mind him," Dudley said from the doorway. "He purchased a play wand from those wizard books he reads. Thinks it can actually do stuff like shoot out bubbles."

"I do not." Draco put the stick on the table. "Sorry, I must have gotten lost in the books."

"You always get lost in your books," Andrew accused. "You need a job."

"I don't want a job." Draco wrinkled his nose. He brought his fingers up to his face so he could look at his fingernails. "I'm too—"

"Prim and proper?" Dudley snorted. "Come on, Draco, enough of that. You like getting your hands dirty sometimes, too."

"Different kind of dirt."

"Can you two stop?" Andrew closed the door behind him and stepped inside. "I've got news and I can't tell you until you quit bickering."

"We weren't bickering," Dudley complained, taking a seat, "we were discussing."

"Whatever, sit down." Andrew motioned them to the couch. "I've got great news!"

"You've remembered your past?" Draco asked, his eyes widening slightly.

Andrew shook his head. "No, and I doubt I will. It's been too long already, right?"

"Right, sorry."

"Anyway, my real news is that I got a promotion." Andrew grinned, bouncing slightly on the couch. "I'm now in charge of the entire reptile house. Jim retired earlier this morning."

"Congratulations!" Dudley jumped up. "You've wanted that for months now. I'm glad they gave it to you."

"Jim recommended me personally. Said I always seemed to have a way with the things in the house, so there was no reason I shouldn't have the job."

"When do you start?"

"I actually started today," Andrew told them, raising a hand to rub the back of his neck.

"That's unacceptable."

Both Andrew and Dudley looked over to Draco. The blond sat with one knee crossed, his fingers crossing under his chin. Andrew frowned at the look in his eyes, not sure he liked it. It was the look Draco usually had when he was about to try and change things to his way. He tried it just last month, wanting the walls in the kitchen to be redone in some kind of marble. Dudley had, thankfully, been the one to place the order and they had a nice wood paneling instead.

"What do you mean it's unacceptable?" Andrew asked slowly, hoping Draco wouldn't tell him to quit. A promotion meant longer hours and that meant less time at home.

"Being promoted meant you should have been able to come home to celebrate." Draco stood up and took a step toward his roommates. "Working directly after finding out is unacceptable."

Andrew smiled softly, standing and reaching out to rest a hand on Draco's shoulder. "Then I guess I'm in trouble, huh."

"Damn right you are. I haven't even had time to make a dinner or order wine." Draco wrapped an arm around Andrew's waist. "But congratulations anyway."

Dudley laughed, shaking his head. "Enough, can we just get drunk now? I'm sure we've got something in that cabinet in your room, Draco."

"Yes, and you've been spying that cabinet for months now." Draco moved away from both of them. "All right, all right. Sit tight and I'll get the booze." He ruffled Andrew's hair, and then disappeared into his bedroom.

- - - - -


Andrew smiled as he tilted his head back, finishing another glass of wine. He lost count after the third one, though he was sure he didn't have as much as the other two. Draco's legs were entwined with his own on the couch. He could only see Dudley's feet from the side of the couch. Every few moments, one would twitch into a new position on the floor. Every time it happened, Andrew grinned and nudged Draco. Draco would grumble and try to shift away, which would just make Andrew laugh.

The bottle resting next to his hip fell to the floor. Andrew rolled his head to the side to look at it. "Oops?"

"You can't drop my wine," Draco murmured from his position. "Tha's wastin' it…"

"So?" Andrew stretched and knocked Draco's bottle off as well. "You're not drinkin' it."

"I could be."

Andrew laughed, closing his eyes. "You wish…"

Draco sat up with a groan, blinking to try and focus on Andrew. "I wish lot of things."

"Like what?"

"Stuff." Draco shifted, almost falling over as he did so, until he could crawl on top of Andrew. "Good stuff."

Andrew moved under Draco until he was comfortable. "Is this good stuff?"

"Almost." Draco leaned in, breathing in against Andrew's neck. "We just need a few more things added in."

"Like what?"

Draco pulled back, but only just enough to rest their foreheads together. "You trust me?"

"Yes." Andrew slid a hand through Draco's hair. "Always have, right?"

"Of course." Draco smiled, and then kissed him.

- - - - -


Draco was used to waking up in awkward positions, especially after Harry had a nightmare. Sometimes, after a really bad night, Draco would find himself still sitting up in bed with his wand focused on the wall in front of him. However, waking up with his neck bent and a comfortable weight on his stomach was not something he was used to. He shifted under the weight, feeling flesh against flesh. Definitely not what he was used to. Slowly, he opened his eyes to see a mop of black hair resting comfortably on his chest.

A hand appeared above his head, dangling a glass of water. "Thought you could use some aspirin," a soft voice said. Draco traced the hand up to see Dudley's face.

"What happened?"

"You can't tell?" Dudley handed over two pills. "Gods, Draco, you made enough of a mess with him."

Draco tried to ignore his blush as he took the aspirin. It never worked as well as potions did, but they couldn't risk those with Harry in the house. "I have a headache and you aren't helping."

Dudley smiled, dropping two pairs of pants on the back of the couch. "I never do. Get dressed, I'm going shopping and I don't want to come home to see the two of you naked."

"Wait!" Draco shifted as much as he could without dislodging Harry. "If he and I were to…"

"Just don’t let me hear you." Dudley shook his head, and then disappeared into the hall of the apartment building.

Draco relaxed back onto the couch, running a hand slowly through Harry's hair. He had to admit that this was comfortable, and a lot more than he had expected before. With Harry's lost memories and his illness, Draco wasn't sure if there would ever be a chance to get close to him again. After the fire episode, he had sworn to himself that he wouldn't let another opportunity waste itself. So, with a slightly childish smile on his face, Draco closed his eyes and relaxed back into the couch for some sleep.

- - - - -


Andrew leaned close to the glass, smiling at the boa that lazily flicked its tongue at him. It was his third day running the place, but the only thing that changed for him was the few extra pieces of paperwork and schedules. He still did his time in the actual house, looking over the snakes and critters, and treated the staff no differently than before. So far, they hadn't even needed to hire anybody else to take his old position, which freed up payroll to offer other employees more hours. It was a win-win situation for everybody.

His vision tilted. Andrew reached out and placed a hand on the glass in front of him.

That had been the only issue so far. Yesterday, his vision started swimming halfway through his shift. Today, it was vertigo. He felt as if he were falling half the time, especially if he kept still. Something was wrong, but he figured it was just a small bought of flu. Thankfully, nobody had noticed quite yet. Especially Draco; the man had been all over him since that night. Andrew didn't mind, in fact he found himself liking it, but he had seen Draco mother-hen Dudley before. He did not want that happening with him any time soon.

Andrew tried to move away from the glass, but he didn't get far before nausea moved through him. He covered his mouth with his free hand and kept as still as possible. A hand came up on his back and someone was speaking into his ear, but he couldn't make out what they said. Suddenly, all he could hear was the hissing of the snake and through that hissing, their words. He shook and, before he could figure out which way was up, the hand on his back steadied him.

As quickly as it came, it left. Andrew blinked up at the ceiling, a blurry face above him. The face slowly came into focus and he recognized Rick, the second oldest employee here. He was only in his forties, but his head was already balding and grey.

"Okay there, Andy?"

Andrew knew better than to lie. He shook his head, taking Rick's newly offered hand so he could stand up. "Not really."

"Want me to call home?"

Draco was going to mother-hen him, Andrew could feel it. "Yeah, sure."

Rick smiled and led Andrew toward the office. "You're the boss, you know. As long as you make the schedule and fill out the damn work, you can do what you want. Go home, get some rest. You look like shit."

Andrew smiled and took a seat. "Thanks, Rick."

"No problem, boss." He returned the smile before picking up the phone and dialing the apartment.

- - - - -


Draco shut the door to Harry's room softly. He put up a monitoring spell before making his way to the kitchen, where Dudley sat with a pot of tea waiting. As soon as he hung up with Rick, Draco had called Dudley and informed him of what happened. He wasn't surprised to see the man pacing the house, though Harry hadn't even noticed him. Hoping it was just something small like a cold, Draco brought Harry to the bedroom before checking him over. Now he wished he hadn't helped Dudley. Then he wouldn't feel like this.

"Is he okay?" Dudley poured Draco some tea.

"No." Draco rubbed his eyes, ignoring the tea. "It's progressed. I gave him some potions to get him through the next few days, but who knows what's going to happen after that."

"Potions? Are you sure—"

"No muggle medicine can fix this," Draco hissed. "I know the risks, okay?"

Dudley kept quiet, looking down at his hands. For Draco to use potions, he knew that Harry had to be close to losing it. Sure, they had talked about this when first arriving in Boston. They both knew the day would come when Harry would die, but they didn't want it to happen. They liked this Harry, the one not involved in the politics of war. The one allowed to live his life as he wanted.

"Draco, what are we going to tell the wizarding world?"

Draco dropped his head to the table. He pulled his arms over his head, letting out a groan. "I don't know."

"Will we be in trouble?"

"Most likely." Draco sighed. "We've kept him here for two years and we'll bring him back dead. Azkaban for me, prison for you. It'll be the best times of our lives."

"That isn't funny." Dudley drank his tea.

"Who said I was joking?" Draco pushed his chair back and stood. "Enjoy your last few months of freedom. Or weeks, however long he lasts."

"Don't say it like that. Damn it, Draco, believe in him."

"I do." Draco took his tea cup to the sink. "That's why I said months or weeks. A normal wizard wouldn't have lasted days."

With that, he grabbed his book and went to his bedroom.

- - - - -


Draco pulled the thermometer out of Harry's mouth, making a show of checking it. He already knew the stats, he checked them before he even entered the room, but Harry didn't know that. Dudley stood in the doorway, pretending to read through the newspaper. Draco knew he was just turning the pages without thought. Both of them knew exactly what Harry was going to do when he found out about the results.

"So?" Harry plucked at his bed sheets. "Mommy dear, can I got out and play?"

"That isn't funny." Draco glanced back to Dudley (the bastard had a smile on his face) before shaking his head. "Your fever is down. How are you feeling?"

"Like I said two days ago. I feel fine." Harry pushed back the covers. "I need to go back to work. I can't stay away forever."

Draco sighed and stood up. "You're going to leave no matter what we say. Go on, go see your snakes and critters. You obviously like them more than us."

Harry smiled and jumped off the bed. Before Draco could get far, he tugged on the man's sleeve and pulled him closer. "Thank you," he murmured before giving him a kiss.

Selfishly, Draco moved an arm around Harry, keeping the kiss as long as he could. He only broke it when Dudley coughed. Draco looked away from them both and left the room. Dudley shrugged and motioned for Harry to leave as well.

"Sorry I was out of it for a while."

"Don't apologize, you prat." Dudley grinned. "You were sick, you're allowed to be lazy."

Harry grinned, stretching his arms up as he went to the kitchen. "I'll just call the zoo and let them know I'll be in tomorrow at least. I doubt Draco will really let me go today."

Dudley looked to Draco, who had taken a seat on the couch with a book. "Yeah, I doubt he will. You know how he is."

"And that's why we love him, right?"

Dudley laughed. "Yeah, I guess." He turned to look back to Harry and paused. "Andy?"

Harry had stopped in the middle of the hallway, his hand on his head. "I'm fine. I…"

"Harry!" Dudley’s eyes widened and he jumped forward, grabbing Harry before he fell to the floor. He looked up to Draco, his hands cradling his cousin’s head. "Cure him, Draco."

Draco had jumped when he heard Harry's name, but not be looked unsure. "I can’t." He took a step back, shaking his head. "There is no--"

"Cure him!" Dudley begged, bowing his head over Harry’s form. "Please, God, just help him. It’s not fair."

Draco shook his head, putting a hand over his mouth. What could he do? Harry’s magic was already gone from his body and there had been nobody known to survive this yet. "Dudley--"

"You said he was special." The words were soft and Draco had to strain to hear him. "You said that he survived things he shouldn’t. He can survive this, he can. Please, Draco, don’t give up. If you love him, you won’t give up."

Draco took a deep breath, then turned and went to his room. Healing Harry was an impossible task, but he couldn’t sit there and not try something. For the first time, he wished he were back in England where healers and potion masters could flock to the Golden Boy’s side. Going back wasn’t an option now, not with Harry so close to death. They would pin it on Draco and the Malfoy name would be further tarnished. Not that he cared anymore – Harry was his and his alone. He refused to let anything happen to the happiness that Harry just gained.

No, he had to do this himself. He had to cure Harry and hope for the best.

- - - - -


Draco closed the door to what used to be Harry’s bedroom. He had turned it into his own personal potion’s lab as soon as Dudley had begged him to help. He knew he should have done this months ago, possibly as soon as they moved here, but part of him liked to pretend Harry was going to survive on his own. Now that he was faced with the real fact that Harry was dying, and was going to die soon, he couldn’t hold back anymore. He would never forgive himself, not anymore.

Trying to be quiet, Draco opened the door to his own bedroom. Dudley turned from his spot by the bed to look at him and Draco offered a small smile. "Is he awake?"

"Hasn’t been since you were last here, sorry." Dudley reached out, taking the potion bottle Draco handed him. "What’s he eating this time?"

"Should taste like Christmas dinner." Draco shrugged, taking the other seat. "Dudley, you know he can’t actually taste it."

"I like to pretend."

Draco hesitated, and then smiled slowly, taking Harry’s hand in his own. "Yeah, me too."

"Any progress on the cure?"

The hopeful look on Dudley's face made Draco feel guilty, so he didn't outright answer a 'no.' Instead, he sighed and dropped his head on the side of Harry's bed. "I can't find the right combination. Potions were never made to stop something like this, and muggle medicine won't even know what to start with."

"Draco—"

"I'm not giving up," he said sharply. "I'm just explaining that this is going to be difficult. He's got something that has no cure."

"Don't remind me." Dudley stood, raising his arms in the air to stretch. "I need to sleep. Are your potions able to sit undisturbed for a few hours?"

Draco nodded. "They'll be fine. Go get some rest."

"You next." Dudley patted Draco's shoulder. "You need it as much as I do."

Draco's smile didn't show up too well, but he had tried. As soon as Dudley left the room, he took Harry's hand and closed his eyes. For the first time since the war, he prayed.

- - - - -


Five days, and nothing changed. Every potion he created didn't work. Every time he tried some other way of brewing, it didn't work. Frustrated, Draco had shoved everything to the floor and cried. Like a stupid child, he cried until he couldn't cry any more. Dudley had come into the room at that point, asking if he were finished. Draco had just nodded and cleaned up the room before starting again.

And this time, he found something. A fluke, perhaps, of tossing things to the floor in a fit of rage. It taken another few days to brew it and, in that time, Draco didn't think he left the room once. Dudley came by to give him food and warn him of getting rest, but that was it. When it was finally, finally, finished, Draco scooped it into a vial and kissed it.

"Dudley!" He burst out of the bedroom. "Dudley, I've found it!"

The door to his own room opened and Dudley watched him, tears in his eyes. "You better hope so. Your spells say he's near dead."

Draco felt his heart jump to his throat. "What?"

"Took you long enough, now give it to him."

Draco shoved past Dudley, running to Harry's bedside. "Not now, Potter. Don't you die now." With shaky hands, he fumbled around until he could get Harry's chin tilted up. The spell beside the table fizzled a little. "No, no, no."

Draco uncorked the vial with his teeth, but his hands were slippery from the potions and sweat. Both he and Dudley watched helplessly as it dropped from his fingers and shattered against the floorboards. Time seemed to stand still. The spell fizzed out again.

"More! Dudley, the cauldron that's still steaming. Just bring a damn cup!"

Dudley was out of the room before Draco could finish, but it was too late. He was always too late. The spell wasn't even up anymore. Harry's chest lay flat and unmoving. Draco could feel nothing under his fingers where he held Harry's neck. If he had just started sooner.

Unable to help himself, Draco fell to his knees and sobbed, gripping Harry's hand.

- - - - -


Harry Potter Found! World Mourns Murder.
By Lavender Brown

The wizarding world's hero, Harry Potter, was returned to us late last night by Draco Malfoy, his school rival, and Dudley Dursley, his cousin. The two men brought the beloved hero back dead. Both claim it was natural and they had done everything they could to prevent it, but authorities are screaming murder. Draco Malfoy waits in a ministry holding cell. His trial is set for tomorrow at noon. Dudley Dursley was taken to the muggle authorities and will be tried by a select group of muggles who have previous knowledge of wizards. This reporter hopes they both get what they deserve.

A funeral and memorial service for Harry Potter will take place later this evening at Hogwarts. Long live the boy-who-saved-us-all.
Tags: dudley dursley, fic, harry/draco, rated:pg13
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