Pairing: Snape, Harry/Draco
Rating: for this PG
Series/Sequel: yes, it's a WIP.
Spoiler: not that I'm aware of.
Warnings: not yet, but they might apply as the story proceeds
Disclaimer: alas, not mine... The characters belong to the great J.K. Rowling. I will never be able to pay her back what she's given me. I earn nothing, I own nothing, nobody would pay me for this any-way. This is an act of love, please don't sue.
Feedback: whereas I may not *write* for feedback I most certainly post for it. So there.

Summary: Snape gets confronted with his past and temptation rises. A cunning plot unfolds that could ruin the lives of everyone.

To get into the series fully, you might want to read my preceding stories, 'Uncontrollable Passions' and following, but it's not really required.

The cover art to 'Son of the Dark' can be found here.

Son of the Dark

Part 3 - Fehu

By Silver :-)


The next morning Harry woke up to an angry face hovering over him, and he bolted upright with a yelp, almost knocking his head against Ron's.

"Damn you, Harry, you left me alone in this room last night!"

Harry blushed. "I had to see Draco..."

Ron huffed and sat down on the edge of Harry's bed. "Couldn't you last at least a few frigging hours? You can get more of that when you're at Hogwarts!"

With a shrug, Harry replied, "Yes sure, but I wanted to see his room, too."

"Oh..." Ron stared at his bare feet for a moment. "And how is it?"

"The room?" At Ron's nod, Harry smiled and said, "Normal actually. Like an average teenager's room, really. Well, a teenager who happens to have wealthy parents."

Ron nodded curtly and dug his toes into the fold of the bedside rug.

"But it's really normal," Harry said, trying to cheer up his friend. Then, elbowing him, he added, "Hey, he likes the Warwick Warriors, can you believe that?"

Ron stared in disbelief. "No shit." Then he grinned. "You'd think he would at least have the sense to like a decent team!"

Harry laughed. "See? Money can't buy you everything." He sobered immediately, when the events of last night suddenly came back to his mind. Lucius and Snape... "Ron, last night---" he started, but was interrupted when the twins burst in.

"Good morning, your wake-up call!" Fred yelled cheerfully, then upon eyeing Harry and Ron he exclaimed, "Aha! I knew it!" pointing one finger at them.

Ron lifted his eyebrows in confusion.

"What do you say, Fred," George said. "Maybe we should tell Draco. You think we could score?" The twins nearly died laughing at Ron's crestfallen expression.

Harry, however, didn't fall for the joke. "Don't you dare!" he said jokingly. "Draco's mine!"

George grimaced. "Too bad."

Shaking his head, Ron mumbled, "I still don't get it."

With a short laugh, Harry got up and started getting ready while the twins kept teasing Ron, but refusing to clue him in. Ron's frustration tolerance lowered with every minute that passed. They picked up Hermione and continued on their way downstairs. Near the main hall, Ron finally got the picture.

"What?!? You thought Harry and I...? You sick, dirty bastards!" He picked up a poker from the fireplace and followed the twins who dashed off at once. Pulling his head in when Ron slashed the air with his weapon, Fred yelled at his twin, "If you ask me, George..." He jumped over a small stool. "... it's sexual frustration that bothers our little brother here."

Ron howled in anger and launched himself at his brothers who avoided him nimbly.

"I agree!" George said between pants. They circled a delicate statue and Harry had already closed his eyes in anticipation of the crash. When the noise didn't come, Harry opened them again reluctantly, following the mad chase with a concerned frown.

Draco joined them, hands on his hips. "Good morning. Did I miss something?"

"Not really." Harry shook his head absent-mindedly, too engrossed in watching his friends to actually get into detail. That very moment, George dodged a blow from the poker and knocked over am expensive-looking vase from a column. "George, watch out!" Harry yelled, but Hermione had already thrust forward her arm, calling the vase into her safe hands.

"Wow, that was fast!" Draco said appreciatively and was rewarded with a proud smile as he took the vase from Hermione's hands with a relieved sigh and put it back.

Fred bombed out at the Persian carpet when he fell on it and was overrun by his brothers. The carpet fidgeted indignantly and wrapped the boy into a tight burrito. Stepping over his immobile brother, Ron now had George cornered. "Do you know what the punishment for buggery was in the middle ages?" he murmured menacingly, brandishing the poker in front of George's face.

Not even slightly impressed, George pushed it away and said with a grin, "I'm not a bugger! I'm an equal opportunity lover!"

The same moment, the door to the dining room opened and Snape and Lucius emerged with slightly annoyed expressions on their faces. Ron's face took the color of his hair, trying to hide the poker behind his back, then noticing that he had George's neckline in a strangling grip and releasing the fabric at once. He smoothed it out with his free hand, patting George's shoulder and smiling nervously.

"What's all this noise?" Snape asked coolly.

"Siblings quarreling," Draco answered, unimpressed, as he stepped over the roll formerly known as Fred to get into the dining room, closely followed by Harry who was completely embarrassed and staring at the floor.

Ron put away the poker with a last glare at George and followed Harry's example, not making any eye contact with Snape or Lucius.

"Oy! Don't mind me!" Fred's muffled voice rang out when George stepped over him as well. "I'm having a grand time here!"

Hermione got on her knees and nudged him. "Do you want me to help you out?"

"Nah, I'm fine! Just put some tea in a saucer and I'll lap it up!"

With a chuckle, Hermione started rubbing the carpet's underside, causing it to squirm and slowly release its grip. "See? Now you're glad I've been reading all these books about magical furniture."

"Yeah, whatever," Fred replied gruffly.

The carpet unfolded, producing a tousled and flushed twin. "There you go."

"Thanks." Fred got up and brushed the dust out of his robe. "Uhm, Hermione..."


"What did the people in the middle ages do to them?"

Hermione smiled sweetly. "The 'buggers'? Insert a white-hot spit into their anus."

Fred sucked in his breath. "Ouch!"

"Oh yes!"

When they finally joined the others in the dining room, everybody already was seated at the table, helping themselves with pastry and other fine foods.

Harry looked around the room, noticing that it was a different one than the room they dined in last night. This one had large French doors that allowed the warm morning sun to flood the room and tint everything in a soft golden shine.

Snape, apparently finished with his breakfast already, was occasionally nipping at his cup of black coffee while reading a book. Lucius stood at the French door and looked outside into the extensive gardens. He held a delicate cup full of tea in his left hand. Harry's glance fell on the gloved hand and he swallowed, remembering mysterious events of the previous night.

After a few minutes, Lucius left his spot and sat down on his usual chair. He appeared to be a bit annoyed, but covered it well enough for Fred and George not to read the signs. When they started their usual horsing around at the table, Lucius' frown deepened and he put away his cup, the silver spoon jumping out of the saucer and clattering over the table.

"Mr. Weasley," he said with a snide voice. The table fell silent. When he had the attention of every male Weasley present, he nodded. "Yes, all of you." He laced his fingers together. "I don't know how it is at your home, but here in Malfoy Manor we try to keep the morning quiet and peaceful."

Ron's face flushed in a mixture of anger and embarrassment that Harry knew so well when his friend looked down, crumpling his napkin. The twins appeared to be rather unaffected by Lucius' admonition. Fred smiled brightly and replied, "Apologies, Mr. Malfoy. We didn't know the rules."

"Usually we get familiar with them before we break them," George added seriously.

Harry would have chuckled now, if he hadn't felt so tense. He cast a quick look at Lucius to see his stony expression. His glance fell on Snape whose eyes still were intent on his book, but the ghost of a smile appeared to lie on his lips.

A movement redirected Harry's attention to Lucius who had leaned forward, scrutinizing the twins with a strange curious interest all of a sudden. "Is your father proud of you, George Weasley?" he asked out of the blue.

George exchanged a confused look with his twin, then said, "Uhm, yes, I think so?"

"And your brother, does he always back you up?"

Growing uneasy, George started shifting on his seat. "Of course."

"So, you could say it's two for the price of one."

"I guess..."

"Good." Lucius leaned back with a smile, touching his fingertips to each other, apparently content for now. But before everyone could exhale in relief, Lucius dealt the next blow. "If one of you fails, there's still one more left of you, isn't there?"

Both twins stared, mouths open.

"If one of you failed, there'd always one more left. If something were to happen to one of you, the other could always take over. The perfect substitute..."

A gasp went through the room, and Draco ended the dismayed silence by exclaiming, "Father! You can't say that!"

Lucius gave his son a crushing look. "I can't? But it's true. It must be such a reassuring feeling for a father to know that there is always one son left to fulfil his destiny. It's not like your family's future rests in the shoulders of just one..."

Son and father exchanged a look so cold that Harry expected to see their breath hanging in the air any minute now. Their duel was over when Lucius got up abruptly, heading for the door. The door slammed shut behind him with a loud bang that echoed through the whole mansion.

When he was gone, the friends stared at each other, deeply shaken. Not the trace of a smile could be found on the twins' faces and it was as if someone had ripped the smiles from them, so unused was the sight.

Draco stared at the flower bouquet in the middle of the table, his whole body shaking from the effort to control himself. Harry gently touched his shoulder, but Draco shied back from him before he realized what he'd done. Harry pulled back his hand, feeling hurt, but not trying to make another approach.

Fred shook his head slowly. "It's not true..." he whispered. He looked at George, more serious than he had ever been. "It's not true, George." This time his voice was firmer, more determined. "You're no substitute. And neither am I. We are one. We are a whole, together."

George nodded, swallowing thickly. "I think we need a break." Without waiting for the others to reply, Fred and George got up and left the room through the French doors, wandering off into the gardens.

With an audible sound, Snape closed his book, bringing himself back to people's attention. He got up, the back of the book resting against his shoulder as he looked at Harry and Draco, a thoughtful expression on his face. "Be careful," he said, then left to follow Lucius.

"I've lost my appetite!" Ron said angrily and got up as well. "I'm going to take a walk!"

Harry nodded and watched his friend leave. He could tell that Hermione was wrestling her own inner demons. He smiled at her. "It's okay, Hermione. Go explore the wonders of Malfoy Manor. No need to stick around with us."

Frowning skeptically, she gave him a long, probing look. Then she nodded. "Okay. If you're sure..."

"Yes, go ahead!" Harry smiled when Hermione jumped to her feet, more than ready to get her books and start her exploration.

When they were alone, Harry just sat there for a while, not even moving much. He had been meaning to tell Draco about what he'd seen last night, but now it just didn't feel right. Frankly, he didn't even know what to say to Draco at all. The rejection still hurt.

It was Draco who finally broke the silence. "It's just the way he is," he said hoarsely. "He... he just thinks that way."

Harry frowned. He wasn't really defending his father, was he?

"He's probably right..." Draco murmured, barely audible.

"What?!" Harry's head whipped around to stare at his boyfriend in dismay. "He is right?" He took a deep breath. "How on earth can you say that?"

Draco looked at him in a mixture of daze and confusion. As if he had just been woken up from a deep sleep. "What?" he asked meekly.

Harry no longer felt like being the voice of reason. "This... this man is hurting my friends, has been doing so repeatedly, and you actually have the nerve to say he's right?"

With a starting gleam of anger, Draco said, "You don't know him!"

"Damn right. And I'm not sure if I even want to!"

Slamming his fist on the table, Draco hissed, "Fine! Then don't! I certainly didn't ask you to be a part of my crappy life!"

The chair fell on the floor with a bang when Harry jumped up from his seat, staring down at Draco, fists clenched. "Bastard..." he choked, then turned around and rushed outside.

"I wish!!!" Draco yelled after him. Then he cried out in anger and wiped his hand over the table, sweeping down the delicate china.




Harry was crying again, cursing Draco for making him, and Lucius for being the reason behind it, and himself most of all for being such a willing victim. He was sitting at the shore of the lake in the center of the Malfoy estate. The surroundings were neatly trimmed and cut, so there weren't many places to hide. Still, he had found a row of shrubs that covered him from the mansion's view, at least.

Usually, he would have enjoyed the park and everything, but right now he felt like jumping into the lake. A rustling noise startled him. When he looked for its source, he saw Hermione coming through the thicket, apparently looking for him.

"Harry?" she asked carefully.

He wiped the tears away with the back of his hand and nodded weakly.

"I heard from Draco that you two fought..."

At the mention of his boyfriend's name, Harry frowned. "Maybe it's not working..." he whispered gloomily. "We're so different."

Hermione sat down next to him and looked at him compassionately. "Don't you think you're jumping to conclusions? It was just one little fight."

Harry shrugged. "I know. But it's not just this, you see? It's so much... he has never told me that he loves me, did you know that? I keep telling him that I do, but he never says it back. And he fears to tell people about us. I've told all my friends, but he, he hasn't told a single person. He just doesn't care..."

"You know that's not true!" Hermione looked at him sternly. "He may have a hard time expressing his feelings, but are you really surprised, with a father like that?" She sighed. "If he really didn't care, do you think he'd be so miserable now?"

Harry hesitated.

"Besides," Hermione continues. "Whom could he have told about you anyway? He has no friends. You're the only one he has."

Suddenly, Harry began to feel very miserable. He buried his face in his hands. "Oh my God, Hermione, I'm such an insensitive klutz! And I even made it worse! How can I ever look at him again?"

"Just go back to him and all will be fine," Hermione smiled reassuringly.

Remembering Lucius Malfoy, Harry wanted to tell her about the secret door at the mosaic he saw last night, but a pair of black eyes staring at him caused the words to get stuck in his throat. "Who is that?"

Hermione looked around. "Oh... That's Mooky, the house elf to assist me." She grimaced.

The elf hopped closer. "Miss Granger, I couldn't find you anymore! Suddenly you were gone! Did you get lost?"

"No, Mooky. I just saw my friend and wanted to talk to him."

"Oh, okay," the elf piped and eyed Harry curiously.

There was no way he could tell Hermione with the elf present; he'd tell Lucius everything at once. Harry sighed in frustration.

At the other side of the lake, somebody else was groaning full of frustration as well. Ron was skipping stones over the clear surface of the lake, never managing to break his own record. He was positively bored.

"When you take the shiny black ones, they bounce better," a voice said behind him.

Ron turned to Draco, warily scanning him.

"No, seriously, the black ones bounce really well!" Draco picked one up and handed it to Ron.

"Thanks..." Ron looked at the stone in his hand, then at Draco. "What is it, are you running out of company?"

Draco frowned briefly, then said with a sigh, "Well, my father is an idiot and Harry hates me now."

"Rubbish!" Ron said immediately. "If Harry hates you, then I'm Snape's favorite student!" Then he added, smiling cheekily, "I don't know about your Dad, though. But as long as it isn't a dominant gene..."

They both laughed. The tension was broken. Ron turned to the lake again, throwing the black stone. It skipped beautifully, beating Ron's personal record by far. Ron cheered. "Yeah!!!" Then he turned at Draco with a suspicious frown. "Did you hex it, or something?"

Draco lifted his hands in innocence. "I didn't, I swear. They're just hydrodynamic."

Ron blinked. "Uhm, okay. But don't do it again."

With a laugh, Draco walked over to Ron. "Do you like it here at least a bit?" he asked, genuinely interested.

"The polite answer would be, 'Yes, it's nice!', but to tell you the truth, I feel as out of place an old sock on a fashion show." Ron shrugged. "But what can I say? I love Harry, and I want to see him happy."

Draco nodded slowly. "Me too." Looking over to the mansion, he got an idea. "Ron, come with me." He walked over to the smaller buildings behind the mansion. They crossed a large field to get there.

"Oh wow," Ron said dreamily. "This must be perfect for Quidditch practice..."

"It is. That's what it's here for."

"Oh..." Ron blushed.

They stopped in front of a small shed. Draco opened it and retrieved a broom. The handle was dark blue and polished. The name was written in it in silver.

"Awesome! A Nightflyer Premium!" Ron ogled at the racing broom.

Draco thrust it into Ron's hands. "I want you to have it."

"What??" Ron stared at him in dismay, clutching the handle.

"Don't worry. It isn't charity or anything. Consider it a long-term loan. I never get to fly it and it's a crying shame to let it rot away in the closet. Don't you think?"

Ron stared at the broom in his hands, tempted and indecisive. Then he nodded slowly. "I guess so... I mean, doesn't get any better in the closet, no? They need maintenance..."


"And it wouldn't hurt to fly it a bit..."

"Not at all."

"So, I could just..."



"Why don't you just hop on it and fly for a bit?"

Ron hesitated for another minute, then looked at Draco, grinning brightly. "Okay!" he cried and turned around, straddling the broom, and kicked off from the ground. The broom zoomed off and Ron laughed in delight.

Draco watched him, smiling and arms crossed over his chest, as Ron circled overhead, trying several neck-breaking stunts and obviously enjoying himself. When he saw Harry coming from across the lawn, Draco's smile faded and he stiffened. He walked to meet Harry halfway, uncertain for a moment. They looked at each other.

"Listen..." Harry finally began, but Draco interrupted him.

"No, me first." Draco raked his fingers through his hair, trying to find a suitable start. "I shouldn't have said the things I did. That wasn't right. And I didn't mean them."

Harry nodded, the ghost of a smile on his lips, understanding. "Okay. And I should have been more understanding. I'm sorry for that."

Draco stared at him in dismay. "Are you crazy? You understand me better than anybody else. Really, I'm such an idiot..." He sighed. "Let's not fight again, okay?"

"Okay..." Harry made a step toward Draco, but stopped himself in time, remembering where they were. So he just took Draco's hand and pressed it briefly.

Ron touched down next to them, his cheeks flushed with excitement. "Harry, Draco's letting me practice with his broom!" he reported happily.

"Really?" Harry replied, casting a surprised look at his boyfriend. "That's very generous."

"Isn't it?" Ron proceeded to praise the merits of the Nightflyer Premium, sounding like a small child and making Harry smile.

The bell rang that called them for lunch, and they all went inside. At the table, they were informed that Lucius and Snape would not be joining them since they were busy, and Narcissa was troubled by a bad case of migraine and staying in bed. Nobody really seemed to mind and enjoyed a relaxed meal for once.

Only Draco's face grew gloomy again and he said bitterly, "See? That's how he always does it. He says he wants to get to know my friends and then he never leaves his fucking office. I'm so tired of it..." He dropped his fork on the plate and leaned back in his chair. Suddenly he looked so lost and lonely.

Harry psyched himself up and touched Draco's hand. When the other boy looked at him, Harry leaned forward and placed a sweet, short kiss on his lips. "I'm here," he just said and Draco understood.

They spent the rest of the day together, watching Ron circle around on the Nightflyer or just talking. Draco told Harry about his childhood and showed him his favorite places. Hermione only seldom crossed their path since she was being dragged around by the house elf and loving it. Every now and then she emerged from another door and reported what she'd seen, radiant, her eyes shining brightly and her cheeks glowing with excitement. Ron usually hit a tree at such moments, much to the twins' delight who were roaming across the estate, bonding and recovering from Lucius' cruel words.

When the evening was breaking, they were informed that dinner would be served shortly and the friends went up to their rooms, each in a different stage of despair, and changed into their good robes. They gathered in the dining room, nervously waiting for Snape and Lucius to arrive. Narcissa let herself be excused again.

Harry had already started to think that Lucius would ditch them again when the door swung open and Lucius waltzed in, a toothy smile on his lips as if he was going to a press conference. He zestfully slumped onto his seat and looked at his guests. "You must forgive me for earlier today. I was so busy, I couldn't leave my work for a minute. I'm sure you enjoyed yourselves anyway."

Draco shot Harry one of his "parallel universe" looks and gave a polite answer, obviously not willing to let his father off the hook that easily. Lucius, however, was oblivious to all this, pouring himself some wine, smiling thoughtfully.

The door opened and Snape entered, looking a bit tired. He quietly walked over to his chair and sat down, just taking a piece of bread and some tea. His face looked sallower than usual, if that was possible at all. Every now and then he cast a glance into the round of people sitting at the table, but mostly he stayed quiet, once even suppressing a yawn.

So the evening passed, none of the guests really willing to respond to Lucius' cheerful mood, except for Hermione who involved him in a lengthy discussion about the tapestries in the West Wing.

When it was time to go to bed, everyone readily excused himself and left, including Snape. Soon, only Draco and Harry were left. When Draco made no move at all to end this evening by himself, Harry decided to give up and excuse himself as well. Before he even got up, Lucius stopped him, asking him to stay around for a bit. Harry reluctantly complied.

"I just would like to take this moment to thank you for the friendship you give my son," Lucius said slowly, twisting his wine glass again.

That caught Harry unaware and he blushed a bit, before saying, "Uh, that's not necessary, really..."

"Oh, it is... it is..." Lucius trailed off, nipping his wine again. "I know you and my son are very close."

"What do you mean by that, father?" Draco asked, alert.

Lucius smiled. "Just as I said." He inspected the flowers on the table for a while. "Ironic, isn't it?" He looked up at Harry as if expecting that he could actually answer something to that. "All my adolescence, James Potter has hated my guts, always letting me know how little he thought of me, and all my life I've been waiting patiently to get it back to him, somehow..." He laughed dryly. "Looks like he got back to me after all..."

Harry and Draco exchanged a confused look, which Harry ended with a shrug. "I'll be going to bed now." Hardly waiting for Lucius weak nod, he got up and literally fled out of the room.




Ron was already fast asleep when Harry got to his room. This confused him a bit, having expected he'd get to talk with his friend for a bit, but then he figured that all the flying on the broom and trying out the most adventurous maneuvers were taking their toll out of Ron.

So he sat down on the bed for while, reflecting on the day. Somehow, he felt like Draco and he had grown closer together today and also that his friends had finally started to take a liking in his boyfriend. That was good... What really bothered him, though, was the fact that he hadn't managed at all to find out what Lucius and Snape had been up to last night. There always seemed to be something in the way of any investigation. It must have been jinxed.

He sighed, looking at the large clock at the wall. Trusting that it wouldn't play some trick on him, he realized that he had spent more than one and a half hour revolving the thoughts in his brain. He jumped out of the bed and quickly got his Invisibility Cloak. Draco was probably in bed already, but he was willing to give it a try. He suddenly felt so lonely.

Sneaking through the quiet mansion, he soon arrived in front of Draco's door. He knocked gently. No answer. He knocked again, louder this time. Still nothing. Harry didn't dare make more noise for fear of stirring someone other than Draco.

It looked like his boyfriend was asleep already. Harry felt terribly depressed, having missed out on the last chance to be with Draco on fresh white sheets. He turned around and started walking back to his room. He was halfway down the corridor when a noise made him stop. He froze in the middle of his movement.

A tall man appeared in the light of the main hall and threw an eerie shadow on the floor, almost touching Harry's feet, causing him to swallow and involuntarily take a step back. The man stepped out of the light and Harry could see that it was Snape. He looked to the side, waiting from someone.

Harry almost gasped when he saw Draco step next to him, his hands tucked into the sleeves of his robes. A feeling of raging jealousy over came him as he watched Snape touch Draco's shoulders. He gently pushed him into the direction of his room and Draco started to move. When he was sure that Draco was actually walking towards his room, Snape turned around and left.

Harry's heart was beating in his chest like a sledgehammer. What was going on here? Was Draco doing it again? Hadn't he been able to resist temptation after all? Harry swallowed thickly, fighting back all the weird thoughts that came to his mind, and he stumbled to meet Draco on the corridor. Of course, he didn't see him and ran into him, spinning around with a gasp. Draco looked around, utterly confused and disorientated.

"It's me..." Harry whispered.

"Who?" was the confused answer.

"Me! Harry!" Getting impatient, Harry tore the Cloak off his head. "Where have you been?"

Draco blinked. "I don't know."

"You don't know?" Harry was baffled, the pain in his stomach starting again.

"I'm going to bed now..." Draco said flatly, heading for his room again.

"Wait!" Harry ran after Draco and held him back at the shoulder. "Do you think I'm stupid? Tell me what happened?"

Draco looked at him wearily, his face paler than usual. "I'm not feeling too well... tomorrow, okay?" With that he disappeared into his room, closing the door behind him, leaving Harry in the corridor, just a head, seemingly floating in midair with a face full of confusion and hurt. Suddenly, he wanted to bang his fists against the door, demanding an explanation, screaming at Draco, forcing him to talk to him. He didn't do any of this.

He wouldn't be sleeping much tonight.




True to his expectation, Harry had hardly closed an eye all night. When Draco didn't appear for breakfast, the nagging feeling of sickness increased. Draco appeared just when they were gathering in the main hall to leave, the coach already waiting outside.

Draco came down the stairs, moving shakily, like a ghost. He looked around in the main hall, seeking Harry's eyes. He looked so helpless. Then he looked at his father, mumbling, "I'm not feeling well..." Suddenly, his knees gave in, and he would have fallen down the stair if he hadn't grabbed the banister.

All feelings of suspicion and betrayal gone, Harry rushed towards his boyfriend, completely casting all caution to the wind. He cupped Draco's pale face, feeling the dampness of his skin and noticing how his eyes were very glassy and empty.

"Draco!" he called out, stroking back his hair. "What's wrong with you?"

"Sick..." Draco mumbled with dry lips.

Harry looked around, seeking for help. His friends looked just as shocked as him. Lucius' face was gray, and Snape frowned, his expression unreadable.

It was Snape who finally woke from his paralysis and walked over to Harry. "We'd better bring him back to Hogwarts quickly. I think Madame Pomfrey will know best how to treat him." He threw Harry a strange look, then got to his knees and took Draco into his arms, carrying him outside and into the coach.

Harry followed in a daze, barely finding enough words to say good-bye to Mr. Malfoy properly. All he could think of was Draco, his Draco, who was ill for no apparent reason. Much to his relief, his friends backed him up on this and soon they were all safely seated in the coach, heading back to Hogwarts.

Holding Draco's cold fingers, Harry looked at Draco's sleeping face. "What happened?" he asked shakily, but Draco didn't hear him.

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