Everyone lived. When Harry was born, Lily hardly saw him because Sirius was fitting him into a tiny leather jacket, Remus was reading to him, and James was already trying to sneak him to the Quidditch supply store to get Harry his first toy broom. Christmases were spent with full bellies and rooms stuffed with laughter, and there wasn’t a single person without flushed cheeks from all the wine. Lily’s eyes sparkled, and there was always a joke on the tip of James’ tongue. All Harry knew was love, love, love, from every corner of the universe.
Everyone lived, and every Thursday afternoon, Sirius and Remus took Harry to the “library”, which was the secret word they taught him for the ice cream parlor. With each trip, they ordered the biggest sundae that was offered with three spoons, and Harry always ate nearly all of it. They kept it up until the day Harry asked Lily to take him to the library and, when confronted with the shelves piled high with books, he asked her where they went to order their ice cream.
Remus and Sirius got married when Harry was three, and Harry was the ring bearer. Lily cried the first time she saw him in his tiny dress robes. They were just long enough that he nearly tripped halfway up the aisle. There wasn’t a single pair of dry of eyes in the audience that day.
Everyone lived, and on Harry’s sixth birthday, he celebrated alongside Neville with all their friends and family. James gave Harry his first set of toy Quidditch balls. He, Ron, Neville, Draco, and Ginny all played together until Draco pushed Neville off his broom and into the cake Alice had spent hours working on. Lily tried so hard not to laugh at Neville’s frosting-covered face, but instead she went beet red and gave herself away to everyone.
Draco said he was sorry. He actually meant it.
Everyone lived, and the moms had a Lockhart book club, which consisted of everyone getting wine-drunk and complaining about their husbands together. Draco, Neville, Harry and Ron eavesdropped and reported back to their dads, who were standing around the kitchen armed with beer, about what they did wrong that week. Each of the meetings somehow coincidentally ended with each of the men stopping by to bring their respective wives bouquets of flowers or boxes of chocolate “because they just felt like it.”
Everyone lived, and Draco and Harry were friends, believe it or not. When Narcissa and Lucius had a date night, they dropped Draco off at the Potters. James told them scary stories in the darkness of their blanket tent. Lily used magic to cast shadows all over their living room, and Harry and Draco wouldn’t sleep for the rest of the night. But Lily kissed each of their foreheads and assured them each that everything would be fine, because she and James would never let anything bad happen to either of them.
She meant it.
Draco and Harry stayed up until their eyelids were simply too heavy to bear, but Harry managed to remain awake till Draco was completely asleep before closing his eyes. It was one of the most peaceful things he’d ever seen. He wasn’t exactly sure why he thought that. Not yet, anyways.
Everyone lived. Everyone got a little bit older. The kids all went off to Hogwarts, somehow managing to stuff themselves all into one train compartment, even with Hermione once she joined. Draco and Harry got put into different houses, which was a relief to everyone around them. “they already bickered like a married couple without rooming together,” Ron said when they were first sorted, “I don’t want to think about what we’d have to deal with if they were sharing a dorm.”
The only time Harry and Draco forgot about their friendship was when they played against each other in Quidditch. There were no rules when you needed to be the first one to the snitch.
(I suppose there weren’t any rules when it came to making out with your best friend in an empty corridor after drinking half a bottle of fire whiskey, either.)
Sixth year came with sly glances and brushing fingertips in the hallway; throwing all caution to the wind and risking friendship for feelings Harry and Draco had been denying since they were kids. Ron and Hermione exchanged knowing looks, but no one said a word. Not even when Harry inconspicuously crept out of bed nearly every night at half past two with his Invisibility cloak in tow, not returning until the sun was just peeking out over the mountains, if at all. He looked happier than ever that year, secrets tugging on the corners of his mouth every time he spoke.
Everyone lived, and when Draco and Harry came out to their families their seventh year, everyone groaned. “You owe me ten Galleons,” was the first thing James said to Lucius, and Harry knew then that everything was going to be okay.
Because everyone was here, surrounding him, breathing, alive. They all hugged him and Draco at once, cheeks smooshed together, a mess of laughter and “I love you’s” and kisses on foreheads. They were all connected then, their pulses stitching them together with a bond Harry knew nothing could break.
They all knew hurt; they knew pain and suffering, and they knew loss, but most of all, they knew each other. They knew love, and they knew hope.
As they stood there, a giant amoeba of people from all walks of life, some more challenging than others, Harry let go of the breath he felt as though he had been holding for his entire life.