Chapter 74 - Return

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Sharing a smile with his soulmate, Harry went to step towards the light, but just for a moment he hesitated, and then he heard it: the sound of a bird singing. He looked at Draco questioningly and it was obvious his lover could hear it as well.

[What...?] was as far as he managed to form a question and then he was slamming back into his body.

White hot agony split every nerve and he felt himself arching off the table as his muscles spasmed in protest. Magic, the like of which he had never fully experienced before, surged through every part of his body. It was pure in the way the wild magic had been pure of any human contamination, but it also had structure. He recognised the echo of it in him from before. It blew his mind.

He came down with a thump, the room spinning, body aching. He was staring into the eyes of Fawkes. The phoenix was sitting on his chest even though he must have almost shaken the bird loose. That he was alive astounded him and, for a few moments, he couldn't work out what was going on. He was no longer surrounded by healers, so time had to have passed, but that was as far as his thoughts managed to sort themselves out.

The magic coursing through him was making it hard to think.

Fawkes hopped off him to the left. Harry followed the bird's progress and saw a shrouded figure on the table next to him. Casting his eyes onto the floor Harry caught sight of the sheet that must have been covering him as well. Fawkes had to have removed it. There was the faint taste of salt in his mouth and the reality of the situation hit him like a bludger to the head.

Fawkes had cried to bring him back.

But Draco was still dying.

All Harry could feel of his soulmate was a faint echo and he moved before he thought. Heedless of the healing power still working through his body, he sat up and swung his legs off the table. He all but fell to the floor as his balance failed and his limbs refused to work properly. It wasn't about to stop him though.

Fawkes watched him with serious eyes, as Harry stumbled the few feet to the other table. He ripped the sheet off his soulmate. He dragged himself close to Draco and placed his lips to his lover's, as instinct forced him on. It was not really a kiss, but the moment Harry's lips met Draco's, Fawkes launched himself into the air with a trill of song. The magic flared in Harry and he pushed it at Draco with everything he had. It flooded out of him in an explosion of power that whited out all his senses, including the magical ones.

He pulled back, clinging to the table, staring at where he knew Draco's face had to be until he could finally see it again. Draco's pale skin was ashen and lifeless like the echo in Harry's mind. If the magic hadn't had him, Harry might had despaired. But the lightest pink finally flowed into Draco's cheeks. Draco took one deep, shuddering breath and then another as the echo solidified into something real.

As grey eyes looked up at him in shocked recognition, Harry couldn't help it; he laughed. His ability to stand completely abandoned him and he slid to the floor, still laughing. He was naked except for what was left of his underwear, and covered in blood and gore, but he was alive and he could not help himself as the hysteria bubbled out of him.

Draco shifted down onto the floor beside him, clinging to his arm like it might be a lifeline. He at least was wearing clothes, although they had seen better days. Draco's thoughts were open to him and they were as chaotic as his own. Harry's laughter died away as they held each other and tried to come to terms with reality again.

"We were dead," Draco said slowly after a minute or so.

"Almost," Harry agreed, "and the healers must have thought we were. We were laid out."

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