A 78-year-old Draco Malfoy lay nearly motionless on his hospital bed. He was about to die. He was so, so tired, and he was ready. The only thing still keeping him in this plane of existence was the trembling hand of his husband, clasped tightly around his. He could vaguely register hearing the soft sounds of crying. With a great amount of effort, he turned his head to look at his beloved. There sat an old and weeping Harry Potter, his face buried in one hand. Harry knew as well as himself that Draco only had at the very most, a few more minutes to live. But Harry was not at all as prepared for this as Draco. The sight sent a painful pang coursing through Draco’s heart. He couldn’t bear to see Harry in so much pain over him. He could tell that Harry wasn’t ready to let him go yet, and that he was so, so scared. He couldn’t let Harry continue like this after he was gone. Draco knew that telling him everything would be alright and that he’d always be in his heart wouldn’t work. It wasn’t good enough.
But he knew Harry would never back down from a challenge.
And so it was with his final few breaths that Draco stared at his husband, whom he loved more than anything else in the world, and coughed out weakly, “Scared, Potter?” Harry’s head shot up in surprise. His eyes were red and puffy from all the crying, but he could sense that Draco’s time was nearly up. Feeling complete and unconditional love searing through his heart, Harry forced himself to smile weakly and whispered, “You wish…”
Draco smiled a final time, and with that, he closed his eyes and he was gone.
Harry allowed himself a few short minutes immediately after to bawl his eyes and lungs out. But then he abruptly stopped himself. He had made a promise to Draco. A promise that he would not let the prospect of suddenly being alone for the remainder of his life scare him. He had to be brave and strong. For Draco.
And so that was how Harry Potter lived through the next two years of his life. Every single day, reminding himself to be strong for Draco whenever he woke up to a cold and empty bed. Reminding himself not to break down, because he promised Draco he wouldn’t, every time he returned from the Burrow, back into an empty and otherwise lifeless home. Reminding himself to be brave, because that’s what he promised Draco he would be, every time he looked down at the beautiful ring on his finger, the one that Draco had given to him all those years ago when he proposed.
And it was two years later that he found himself lying on a very similar hospital bed, with Weasleys surrounding him (not that he really paid them any attention), about to die. He smiled weakly because he had done it. He had fulfilled his promise to his beloved. As Harry started to close his eyes for the last time, he saw a light, brighter than any he’d seen before. And out from it, stepped a figure. A lean, tall figure with an upright and elegant posture. The figure stepped closer and held out its hand. The initial glare of the light receded, until Harry could clearly see who the figure was.
There, before him, stood Draco Malfoy. He looked as if he hadn’t aged a day over 20, his beautiful platinum blonde hair swished over his forehead and his smile was unbelievably wide. He continued to hold out his hand towards Harry, raising one eyebrow as he did so. He opened his mouth to speak.
Harry felt a burst of energy and happiness from within him, something that he hadn’t properly felt in years. Without more than a moment’s hesitation, he reached out and clasped Draco’s hand with his own, which he now realised had lost all its wrinkles and looked fleshy, muscled and youthful. He grinned.