There was a time when chocolate lost its effect on Harry.
It did nothing but make his mouth feel dry after it melted on his tongue and slid down his throat in the most unsatisfactory way. In fact, a lot of things were unsatisfactory at that time because mostly he just felt kind of empty.
But the problem was that he was never really empty – there was Ron and Hermione, as always, and Luna, Neville, Seamus and Dean – all of whom had exchanged letters and met with him frequently until that time. So he had friends – really good friends that he cut out of his life for a brief period and got angry at when they came to his flat – and the flat, yes; that was something else to be thankful for, as the ceiling over his head was expansive, unlike the set of stairs that he banged his head into each morning for the first eleven years of his life.
And he had a love life, too. It still shocks him that his relationship lasted throughout and after that time, actually, because it was hard to be romantic. It was hard to feel the want to love someone as much as it was to accept someone’s love because he didn’t feel like he gave Draco anything to give back in the first place, if that made any sense. But nothing made sense, anyway, so maybe that was why they fought a few months into Harry’s depression of sorts, and it was anything but kissed wounds and wiped tears because Draco told Harry that he was tired of everything and no longer knew how to help him when all he was faced with was a mixture of anger and sadness whenever he tried to visit. Then, Harry told him that he was sick of it, too. He was sick of missing people that were no longer alive when there were others who were there at his doorstep – but they were all turned away.
Draco left after that, and Harry thought that his love life would be another thing that he’d miss –
Until Draco knocked on his door twenty minutes later with a suitcase in tow. He planned on staying, and for the first time in a while, Harry let him in.
There was a time when Draco’s heart would hammer against his chest at the sound of a door clicking open.
It was a bit ironic, actually. When Harry felt empty, Draco just felt. He felt and he felt, overstimulated and overwhelmed with feelings that he couldn’t ignore – including those that were pushed far into the crevices of his mind to be forgotten the next day, except they weren’t forgotten. The feeling of dread that he fought to suppress each time he opened the door to the Vanishing Cabinet in his sixth year, for example, returned soon after the War, and Harry had not known about this until he asked Draco why he always took so long to open the door.
“Sometimes I’m convinced that Aunt Bella will be on the other side,” he said. His hand was shaking as he gripped onto the handle and turned it to shut it closed. “I have to remind myself that she isn’t alive anymore; her ghost is gone.”
After he flung his coat onto the hook on the wall, Harry placed his hand over Draco’s, which lingered over the cold metal. “There was a time when I opened the door after keeping it closed for so long.” He held onto Draco’s uneasy stare, then his expression turned rather thoughtful. “Actually, you kind of forced yourself in, but it was… nice. I’m glad that you stayed, because after a while, it made me feel glad that I did, too.”
Draco’s lips twitched downward. “Did what?”
“Stayed,” is all that he received in response.
Harry laughed when Draco continued to frown, but his sincerity rang through, reaching into the blond’s hammering heart until it began to ease into a slow pulse.
And they stayed that way until there came a time when Draco’s knuckles flooded with color once more, no longer the suffocatingly pale-white of tension and apprehension…
and until there came a time when Harry learned how to ease against the wood that he once refused to open.