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Expect the Unexpected by Princesss
Format: Short story
Chapter 1: Prologue
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The lake was completely still, free from any breeze on the hot summer’s day. The grounds were silent, absent of any wildlife it seemed. As he thought more about it the more eerie his surroundings seemed to become. Suddenly the temperature dropped and a thin veil of fog surrounded him. He turned to head back to the castle, violently jumping as he saw that he was not alone.
"Pansy," he breathed in a sigh of relief, clutching at his heart, "it's only you. You scared me."
She continued to stare at him unmoving.
"P-P-Pansy?" he stammered, warily glancing around.
Her eyelashes fluttered as if awakening from a deep sleep. Eyes narrowed slightly she began to speak.
The emerald is in the eye of the snake," she said.
Draco stared at her in confusion. What the hell is she talking about?
"The emerald is in the eye of the snake," she repeated.
The words made no sense to him at all. He opened his mouth to ask her what the hell she meant when she spoke again.
"It's ok Draco." Smiling she looked past his shoulder at something that had appeared behind him.
Draco turned uncertainly to see what it was. As he turned, he somehow found himself in a familiar room. He whirled around to ask Pansy why they were here but she'd gone. He found himself alone in the room of hidden things once more, a room he never thought he'd come to again. Spotting the vanishing cabinet he moved closer to inspect it. He thought it had been destroyed after the war, obviously he'd been wrong. Gingerly he reached out with his left hand to touch the faded wood, inspecting it more closely. It was definitely broken again, like before he'd fixed it.
Stepping backwards he spotted someone out of the corner of his eye. He yelped and jumped back approximately 10 steps.
"Pansy! You've got to stop-" cutting himself off as he saw that it wasn't Pansy this time.
The grey eyes met the green, his head full of confusion. The boy standing in front of him smiled, his eyes twinkling in the darkness. Harry Potter. The boy he'd loathed admired, envied. The person he'd tormented and bullied for years. The man to whom he owed his life and to who he was so grateful was within touching distance of him, Draco Malfoy. Harry flashed him a wide grin.
"Hello Malfoy," he teased, taking a few steps closer, “I hoped I’d find you here."
"You- You did?" he asked, confusion overtaking him.
"Yeah," his grin growing wider as he closed the distance, "I've been wanting to get you alone for quite some time now."
Draco could feel Harry's breath on his skin he was that close now. Hesitantly Draco took a step back.
"I er- I should probably..."
"Go?" Harry said, finishing his sentance for him.
"Uh yeah I-" He had closed the distance between them and put a single finger over his mouth.
"Well I-" Draco mumbled.
"Shhh," Harry whispered, "don't think. Don't say anything."
Harry slowly moved his head towards Draco's, his lips slightly spread apart. Draco felt the soft touch of Harry's lips upon his, very lightly touching. As the kiss intensified he felt Harry's lips open upon his.
Draco woke abruptly, breathing heavily and drenched in sweat. Oh god. What was happening to him?
Chapter 2: Chapter 1
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The trunk's wheels grated against the hard stone floor as Draco wheeled it along the stone platform looking for an empty compartment. His falcon, Galen, sat wide-eyed and alert on the perch in his cage as if bracing himself against an invisible threat. Shaking his head at the loveable idiot he carried making his way down the platform in his search. As he looked up the small smile that had been playing on his lips slipped off of his face immediately. Draco was met with furious glares from every person on the platform, the emotions of the faces he passed ranged from shock to complete outrage.
This was not unexpected due to his own actions during the previous years, though a small part of him had hoped that no-one would pay him much attention. After all, who was he really? Sighing, he bowed his head, keeping his eyes glued to the floor and shying away from the angry glares. As he approached the next carriage he was halted in his steps as a pair of feet swung abruptly in front of him. The grudging mutters of the crowd grew louder with the new confrontation.
“How. Dare. You.” A voice filled with fury screamed, “How dare you show your FACE here? After what you? After whom you served? After all your father did? You should be ASHAMED! I don’t want scum like YOU going to school with my child.”
Draco, keeping his head down, shuffled his position, attempting to walk past the small ferocious looking woman. She grabbed his shoulders and shook him with such force that he dropped the cage holding Galen. The giant bird squawked and fluttered his giant wings attempting to upright himself. Bending down he picked up the cage and attempted to calm him with soothing words. During this exchange the angry crowd had grown louder and the woman who had approached him stood 4 feet away with a furious expression etched onto her face and both fists curled into balls at her side. He looked into her dark eyes and saw no forgiveness there. The overwhelming guilt he’d been trying to keep at bay filled his entire being. He didn’t even want their forgiveness, he didn’t deserve it anyway.
The small woman took a step forward and the crowd followed her. Draco was immersed in a sea of angry faces and furious accusations being thrown at him from all sides. He didn’t know what to do nor how to handle the situation. A few years ago he would have just blasted them all aside and continued walking, but that isn’t the person he was anymore. Not who he wanted to be. But they didn’t know that and they didn’t care. They just wanted the justice that was owed to them even if they only had him as a poor substitute. Picking up his trunk he attempted to push through the crowd, but hands pushed him back to prevent him from leaving the centre of the group. All the accusations he’d put to himself were being thrown at him laced with disgust. On his left side he felt a small shove as one of the crowd pushed at him and soon he was being jostled around by all those surrounding him.
“OI! WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING?” A familiar voice filled with anger bellowed through the noise of the entire crowd.
Instantaneously the platform became silent apart from the continuing squawks of Galen and the sound of the steam engine next to them. As the crowd moved to get a better view of the newcomer Draco’s suspicions were confirmed. Harry Potter, the green eyed saviour of the Wizarding World, stood before him as his defender. The woman who had first approached Draco was the first to speak again.
“Getting the justice we deserve,” she yelled.
Her words were greeted with a cheer of agreement from the surrounding mass of people, “Scum like him should not be in a school environment, endangering my child. He should be locked up in Azkaban along with the rest of you-know-who’s followers. I thought YOU of all people would feel the same,” she spit.
“Justice?” he repeated sceptically,” You call this justice? He has been tried before the courts and been dealt the justice he deserves. Who are you to decide whether he’s been brought to it or not?”
“HE MURDERED NO-ONE,” Harry roared, “He was a death eater and he did some horrible things. But he never killed and I’m pretty sure he knew what he was doing was wrong. He just couldn’t find a way out. If your positions were reversed would you want to be treated this way?” He looked up from the woman’s eyes and spoke to the surrounding crowd, “Do you really want to sink to his level? Be better than him. Be better than what he was. Your children will be in no danger from him and that is a promise.”
Most of the faces in the crowd had turned to awe as Harry had spoken. Draco looked around and saw that though most were still angry he was in no danger from them now. The crowd was thinning as people moved away from him but all he could think was why? Why did Harry Potter just help him, Draco Malfoy? The boy, who had taunted him for years, hated him beyond reason, from nothing but jealousy. Why?
Without thinking Draco followed Harry down the platform to where he was standing with the Weasley girl and Granger. As he approached the black haired boy he still wasn’t sure whether this was a clever idea or not. Perhaps he would not want his thanks. He was going to get it anyway though. Draco was now directly behind him, he sharply tapped harry on his left shoulder and the boy turned around with an expressionless look on his face.
“Yes?” he asked, sounding almost bored though with a hint of actual curiosity as to what he wanted.
Potter’s 3 friends, the two Weasley’s and Granger, were glaring at him from behind Harry. He could feel his palms growing sweaty as the tension rolled off the group, and the angry glares of other people found him.
“I er-,” Draco started to say, choking slightly. He gave a small cough and continued, “Potter, I just came over to thank you for what you said back there. It was very noble of you and I recognise you did not have to do it. So er thank you even more.”
His friends shared a look between each other, somewhere between surprise and annoyance. It humoured him to watch their emotions tangle as he had said something unexpected. Harry, however, did well to hide his surprise if he indeed had any.
“Well you’re welcome Draco, but I didn’t do it for you.”
“I know, but still, thanks.”
Grabbing his trunk he turned around and walked to the other end of the platform to the carriages where the Slytherin’s normally sat. Picking an empty one he hauled his trunk into the compartment, placed Galen in his cage onto the rack and made himself comfortable for the train journey. It’s going to be an interesting year.
Chapter 3: Chapter 2
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The normal hustle and bustle of the platform had now resumed as the clocks minute hand had drawn closer to its 11 ‘o’ clock destination. Up and down the platform people were boarding the train, slamming the carriage doors and emitting loud grunts as they hauled their heavy trunks onto the train and into the luggage racks. Draco focused his attention on Galen so to avoid the stares and whispers of the other students who were walking past him in his virtually empty compartment attempting to find seats. He had moved Galen from the luggage racks to the seat next to him due to the continuous squawking sounds he had been making. They hadn’t completely stopped but were becoming quieter and further between and he was still visibly shaken. After the fourth time of being nipped Draco gave up on trying to calm the bird and let his gaze wander outside the compartment window to the platform beyond.
He found himself staring hungrily at the parents who were hugging their children goodbye for the year, seeing the care and worry portrayed on their faces and the way the mothers fussed over their sons as they finally boarded the train. All this directed Draco’s thoughts towards his own mother who, usually caring and overprotective, had now changed for the worse. Since his father had been sentenced to 30 years in Azkaban for his crimes against the Wizarding World, Draco’s mother, Narcissa, lost the fight within her. The transformation she’d made in just a few short months had shocked Draco beyond reason. Once a strong, determined, ferociously protective mother, Narcissa was now a limp and lifeless ghost who wandered the halls of Malfoy Manor as though in a constant dream, never daring to even leave the house. He knew with all his heart that Narcissa still loved and cared about him but he also knew that it was hidden behind the constant pain she was in which had caused her to shut down so completely. Every time he looked into her eyes he saw the pain within them at the separation from her disgraced husband and the loss of her dead sister which continued to haunt her. Seeing that dead look in her eyes every day turned out to be too much for him to handle. He was too weak to stay and watch her continue to deteriorate so he decided to just be selfish and escape for the year, back to Hogwarts. Draco still remembered he nigh he told her and, despite his best efforts, the memory played loudly in his head for the 100th time.
* * *
The door to the study had been left slightly ajar and the flames from the magnificent fireplace were illuminating the dark corridor. Draco hesitantly pushed open the door to see his mother surrounded by darkness, sat in an armchair next to the fireplace and staring deeply into the depths of the flickering flames which was the only light in the room. Seeing his mother like this brought back the sting of pain that usually greeted him because of the suffering he knew she felt. Gritting his teeth, Draco forced himself to walk further into the room even though each step felt like walking on a hundred knives. As he drew closer to his mother, he again wondered whether she could even hear him from the dream world she seemed to be in. Surely she would have shown some sort of sign that she knew he was there, but he knew that there was no rousing her from this ghostly coma.
“Mother?” he tentatively called out in order to announce his presence without alarming her, yet she still did not stir.
Clearing his throat he stepped forwards to stand directly in her line of sight. Draco knelt down and put his left hand on her knee. For a minute, Narcissa continued to stare unseeingly into the orange flames without acknowledging him, unwilling to awake from her dream. Then her eyes flickered a few times, her eyes coming back into focus as she was dragged back into reality. Draco hated himself for disturbing her peace but the issue he needed to discuss with her couldn’t wait. Slowly she lifted her gaze, meeting his apologetic grey eyes. The dead look she carried around was still there, but she still managed a small smile.
“Draco?” her voice, full of surprise, came out hoarse as though she hadn’t spoken in days, which she probably hadn’t.
“Yes mother it’s me,” he smiled, taking her hand in his.
“How are you today m boy?” she asked tiredly and without real interest.
“I’m okay thanks mum, How are you doing?”
“Oh I’m fine, just fine. Where’s your father? He needs to write to the minister again about that mudblood in your school.” Her eyes narrowed and she looked around the rooms as though expecting his father to appear at any moment.
“Mum…” he began.
“Also Severus should be round soon for dinner yes. We have much to discuss with him your father and I.”
“Mum stop. Dad’s not here, remember?” the confusion in her eyes compelled him to continue, “he was sentenced to 30 years in Azkaban, for murder and other war crimes. Also uh.. Professor Snape isn’t coming to dinner mum, he’s dead. The Dark Lord killed him. Do you remember now?”
The truth of his words seemed to pierce through her, as they did every time he had to repeat them. Her eyes showed the intense pain that was resurfacing as she remembered what had happened almost 4 months ago now, shining with fresh tears which threatened to escape at any second. Though she had this reaction almost every time it still scared him beyond words and made him hate himself even more than usual, causing him to panic.
“Mum it’s okay, calm down. You’re safe. Don’t worry,” the words he repeated every time this happened, in as soothing a voice as he could manage.
Her eyes grew intent upon his face, studying everything about him as though drinking him in. Suddenly her face broke into a huge smile.
“I still have you at least,” she mused, lightly stroking his cheek.
“Uh mum...” how could he tell her? What could he say? His decision was made but it wavered in weakness at this hurdle he had to overcome, “Look, the thing is..”
“Yes Draco?” she smiled, “You know you can tell me anything.”
“I’m going back to Hogwarts,” the words escaped his lips before he had realised what he was saying, “Uh what I mean is that they’re giving me a chance to start over mother, and I really think that it would be good for me because last year I didn’t even end up taking my exams and the year was so stressful and I need to make a future for myself mum. Away from this whole mess and it’s just so hard living here and mum. Please say something.”
It seemed like an age had passed before she answered and even then her voice was barely audible.
“You. Are. Leaving. Me?” She had dropped his hand and folded her hands into her lap.
Her body started to shake and her eyes glistened, filled with tears that threatened to overflow. Draco was horrified at her reaction he knew it was going to be bad but he hadn’t realised that it would be to this extent.
“Mum please don’t cry. I’m sorry I just have to do this, I need this.” Her wide-eyed gaze was slowly drifting back towards the fireplace, “Mother, listen to me. I need to finish school so I can get somewhere in life. At the moment all I have is this huge black cloud over my head and I’m drowning mother. I’ll write to you all the time and we’ll see each other in the holidays and- and…mum…?”
Narcissa had resumed her original stance, head cocked to the side resting on the back of the arm-chair, hands grasping the arm-rests and eyes staring intently back into the fire. The vacant expression was slowly expanding across her face as she began to lose consciousness with reality again.
“Mum?” desperately he hoped he hadn’t lost her again but knew that she was gone.
“Draco it’s fine, really. You go and do well I’ll be here,” her voice had adopted a dreamlike quality that made him realise that she was no longer present in the room.
Bowing his head in defeat he stood up to leave the room, pausing at the large wooden door. Cocking his head slightly to the side without completely looking back he said one last thing.
“Goodbye mother,” and was gone.
* * *
Wincing slightly from the pain of the memory Draco sighed and wiped it away from his thoughts as per usual protocol. In order to distract himself he checked the clock on the platform again. Three minutes to go till the train finally left. Why couldn’t time just fast forward? At that precise moment he heard a gaggle of girls making their way down the train obviously looking for an empty compartment. As they reached him the whole group dropped their voices to whispers and noticeably slowed their pace, probably to get a better look at him. Forcing himself to ignore them rather than blast them apart he looked again at the clocked relieved to see he had less than a minute to go. 30 seconds…20 seconds…10…5…4…3…2…1…
Chapter 4: Chapter 3
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Some of the tension Draco had been feeling these last few months disappeared as the train sped away from London towards Hogwarts. Being able to leave his many troubles behind felt like a breath of fresh air and, though Draco did realise that this year would still be very hard, this little measure of control in his life had finally stopped him from feeling as though he were drowning. As soon as they were underway Draco unlatched Galen’s cage and let him out into the compartment, stowing the now empty cage back into the luggage rack. The bird sat apprehensively upon Draco’s shoulder, clearly still not over the ordeal on the platform. Draco fed him treats while speaking words of comfort and stroking his silky, copper coloured feathers. It was nearly a full minute before Draco realised that there was somebody standing in the doorway of his compartment. Looking up he got the shock of his life.
“Blaise,” Draco blinked, “What on earth are you doing here?” The handsome form of Blaise Zabini was leaning against the frame of the open compartment door with a small smirk playing on his face.
“The same as you, I imagine,” Blaise replied, “I’m coming back to finish my final year at Hogwarts.”
The two young men appraised each other for a few seconds more before grinning heartily at one another. Draco stood up, Galen still perched precariously upon his shoulder, and greeted his old friend enthusiastically. After stowing Blaise’s trunk up in the luggage rack and letting his northern hawk owl, Melusina, free of her cage to socialize with Galen the two boys made themselves comfortable and began catching up on everything that had happened since they had last spoken over 4 months ago. Not soon enough the lunch trolley finally appeared and they enjoyed a lunch consisting of homemade sandwiches, pumpkin pasties, and an assortment of sweets.
“So,” Blaise started, “do you plan on taking the same subjects you were last year?”
“Yep,” Draco replied, “I don’t see any sense in changing them now. You?”
“Not sure. I was musing over the possibility of changing from Charms to Astronomy.”
“Fair enough, wasn’t charms your mothers choice?”
“Yes,” Blaise replied a little darkly, “What do you think Mcgonagall is going to be like as headmistress?” he continued and Draco knew the subject was closed.
“I think Mcgonagall may be a damn sight better than Dumbledore was, though I wonder who will get her job,” said Draco, “Nobody could be worse than that Lockhart fellow though.”
“True, very true,” Blaise laughed, “so,” Blaise continued after a short pause, “that scene on the platform was really something.” Draco shifted uncomfortably in his seat and gazed out the window, seemingly immersed in the rolling hills and beautiful scenery they were passing by.
“You saw that?” Draco asked absentmindedly.
“Yeah,” Blaise replied, “Sorry for not stepping in but I just…”
The rest of his sentence was lost but Draco understood. You just did not want to have them turn on you or draw any of the attention to yourself, he thought bitterly. Yet, he also understood. Had Draco been in Blaise’s position he probably would have acted in the exact same manner. Neither of them were heroes and it was pointless to pretend to be.
“Don’t worry about it,” Draco mumbled.
The rest of the journey passed rather quickly, even with the stares and whispers of their fellow students as they passed by their compartment to get a better look at who were probably the two most unpopular students in the school. Soon the sky outside began to darken as they zoomed towards the castle. Both of them changed into their school robes as they neared their destination, however, Draco found this slightly uncomfortable due to the tattoo emblazoned upon his left forearm which had not quite faded yet. He attempted to hide the mark from Blaise’s view, paling slightly in shame and embarrassment.
“You don’t have to hide it from me, Draco,” Blaise assured him, “I have no right to judge you.”
“It’s not that it’s just…” Draco trailed off, not sure how to phrase his feelings.
“Don’t worry about it,” replied Draco. He pulled his robes over his head and turned back to his friend, “I think we’re nearly there,” Draco smiled.
The two of them shut Galen and Melusina in their cages and waited for the train to come to a full stop. Gathering their things they exited the train and walked towards the school carriages that were being pulled by great-winged, skeletal looking horses called Thestrals which, due to the previous year’s events, many of the students could now see clearly. Ignoring the stares and whispers of their fellow students Draco and Blaise climbed into the nearest carriage and set off towards the castle gates. The two of them continued to be subject to glares and mutterings as they passed through the entrance hall and made their way to the Slytherin house table. However, a few minutes later they were all but forgotten when the group consisting of some of the heroes in the battle of Hogwarts entered the great hall to tumultuous applause.
“Typical,” Blaise smirked.
“Yeah,” Draco replied, barely paying attention to him. Since his mind was focused on watching the events over at the Gryffindor table, Draco did not realise that somebody had sat next to him.
“Hello, Draco,” a soft voice to the left of him spoke. Startled, he looked towards the newcomer and found himself face to face with a few more of his old friends.
“Daphne, Lily…..I had no idea you were returning as well,” Draco laughed, hugging both of them briefly.
“Yes, well you wouldn’t since you didn’t bother to keep in touch with any of us over the summer,” Daphne replied a little sultrily, one eyebrow raised.
“Sorry,” Draco smiled, “had other things on my mind.”
“I bet,” Lily responded, a wicked gleam in her eyes, “Nerissa and Scarlett are back too, they’ll be here in a few moments I suppose.”
“I never thought so many of us would want to return,” Draco replied, “is Pansy here?” he asked with a tinge of hope in his voice.
The two girls shared a look with one another that Draco did not understand. Before they had a chance to respond, however, Nerissa and Scarlett joined them accompanied by Fergus Cowley. Almost the instant they had finished greeting one another, and had again sat down, the doors to the great hall swung open and in marched professor Hagrid who was followed by a long line of pale and slightly frightened looking first years. He plonked the wooden stool he was carrying onto the stone floor, placed the old sorting hat on top of it and stood back. As usual the hat twitched and the rip near the brim opened to form a mouth. Draco enjoyed watching the reactions of the newest students as the hat began to sing, barely paying attention to the song. While he stared at the first years, Draco realised that the pool of new students seemed to be drastically reduced than it had been in the previous year’s he’d been at the school. Not wanting to dwell on that fact for long he continued to watch the hat finish its song, still not taking in what it was singing.
The sorting then began and as one by one the students filed up to be sorted the entire hall’s attention was placed solely on them. When the first Slytherin was announced Draco cheered with the rest of his table, though perhaps not as enthusiastically as he once would have done. He shared a grin with Blaise when one of the first years accidently tripped over his robes in his eagerness to reach the stool and a ripple of laughter sounded throughout the hall. The small boy, Ignatius Dringle, was sorted into Slytherin and Draco gave him a small smile of assurance when he sat down. Finally the sorting was over and professor Mcgonagall stood up to address them all.
“Good evening to you all, and welcome back to another year at school. There are a few notices that I would like to get through, but those can wait until after the feast,” Mcgonagall’s voice rang through the room. She clapped her hands twice and the golden plates in front of them filled with every kind of food imaginable, “Enjoy.”
Draco filled his plate and fell ravenously upon his food, not realising till that moment how hungry he seemed to be. The group around him kept up a steady flow of conversation, laughing and enjoying themselves as they normally would, completely forgetting the animosity of the other students though not many of them were paying the Slytherins any attention at all. Caught up in the atmosphere, Draco didn’t initially realise that their new headmistress had gotten up to speak. Mcgonagall stared around the room until she had attained absolute silence.
“Once again a very good evening to you all. Now that we have all been sufficiently fed I have a few start of term notices to announce,” Mcgonagall paused, surveying the room, “As a student of Hogwarts School I expect nothing but your best behaviour throughout the new school year. It is essential that mistakes of the past are forgiven and we look only to our future,” her eyes lingered upon the Slytherin table as she said this, though Draco knew that this request would be a hard one for his fellow students to comply with, “I would also like to reiterate that there are parts of the school which are still being rebuilt, and so are unsafe, which are out of bounds as is the Forbidden Forest I need not remind you,” she contined.
Draco saw Ginny Weasley and Hermione Granger share a grin between themselves before turning back to focus his attention on Mcgonagall. Looking at the staff table he could clearly see the new appointments and wondered what subjects they would be teaching. As though she had read his mind Mcgonagall began to speak again.
“I would also like you to welcome our new Muggle Studies teacher, Professor Holly Claxon, who will be taking over Charity Burbage’s position,” a painful memory seared through Draco’s mind at the memory, “and Professor Jerimiah Higgins who will be joining us as our new part-time Transfigurations teacher. I shall be continuing to take classes this year, after which Professor Higgins will take up the post full-time,” there was an outbreak of muttering at this that was soon quelled by the look their new headmistress gave them, “We have also acquired a new Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor, Veronica Delguine, although she has asked me to amend that she will only be staying a term of two years during which guest teachers will be taking over her classes from time to time. I am also delighted to announce that my post as head of Gryffindor house is now to be filled by none other than our own Rubeus Hagrid.”
The last announcement was met with a roof-raising applause, especially from the Gryffindor table, before the room settled down. Professor Mcgonagall paused again and surveyed the room. Suddenly her facial expression had turned sombre and Draco had a feeling for what was coming next. Not wanting to be assaulted by the hoard of troubling memories, he attempted unsuccessfully to block out the words his headmistress next spoke.
“It has been a tragic time for most of us over this past year. Many of us have lost people who we loved and cared about. It is them we must remember, it is them we must honour. Let us now take a moment of silence to think about all those who sacrificed their lives for the sake of all of us in this very room,” Mcgonagall finished.
The entire hall went silent and Draco, not daring to breathe, stared unblinkingly down at his own hands, crushing them together in an attempt to dull the pain. Visions of all the horrors he’d seen flashed before his eyes. He remembered seeing the rows of dead people he’d once known and spoken to. Draco squeezed his eyes shut in the hope that the visions would subside. No, please no, Draco thought to himself.
“Thank-you for that,” Professor Mcgonagall’s voice brought him mercifully back into the present, “Now would you please all leave the hall in an orderly fashion to get back to your common rooms. You all need to be well rested for your lessons tomorrow. Goodnight.”
The sound of benches scraping against the stone floor filled the room alongside chatter from students in every direction. Draco stayed sitting in his seat still affected deeply by the headmistress’s speech. Slowly he got up and followed Blaise and the others across the entrance hall and down to their common room in the dungeons. As he crossed the hall, however, a large Gryffindor boy purposely banged his shoulder into Draco’s with an expression of deepest loathing. His fingers tingled, wanting so badly to reach for his wand, yet Draco merely sighed and continued on down the stone steps.
“Polyjuice Potion,” said Nerissa, “one of the Carrow twins told me.”
They stepped into the common room and bid goodbye to each other, going up their separate staircases. Upon reaching their dormitory the three boys quickly undressed for bed, chatting animatedly between one another. Draco continued to not say much throughout this exchange, still thoroughly shaken from the day’s events and thinking about Mcgonagall’s speech.
“Hey,” Fergus interrupted his thoughts, “why aren’t you in a single room this year, Malfoy?”
“Well I doubt that I’m a Prefect anymore,” Draco smirked getting into bed.
“That’s true,” Fergus grinned while Blaise chuckled from his bed, “wonder what tomorrow’s going to be like.”
Draco made a non-committal grunt and turned over in his bed, leaving Fergus and Blaise to continue their conversation. They soon stopped talking and Draco could hear the steady breathing and snoring that suggested that the two of them had succumbed to sleep. Draco closed his eyes, waiting for sleep to overtake him. That was the first night he dreamed of Harry Potter.
Chapter 5: Chapter 4
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Darkness. It was all around him. Whatever direction he turned, all Draco could see was the deep unyielding blackness. The thought occurred to him that he had never seen true darkness until that moment. Draco could not even see his own hand flashing in front of his face though he knew it to be there since he could feel it moving and he could feel the slight breeze caused by the motion. For a moment, he was truly scared. Draco moved forwards and could hear the sound of his footsteps echoing around the walls. Once he had taken that first step he noticed a dim yellowy-white light appear up ahead. Unthinkingly Draco hurried towards it, picking up his pace with each movement forward. Yet, the light seemed to move with him and it was moving away. He panicked and ran full speed forwards, trying desperately to catch up with his salvation. The light all but disappeared before him when Draco called out in a desperate attempt. “No!” Draco screamed. As though the sound of his voice triggered something the light seemed to race towards him. Voices whispered to him from the light, getting louder as it came closer to him. Suddenly, Draco was utterly terrified. That yellowy-white night was no longer comforting but hostile and he knew that he should stay as far from it as possible. Draco turned on the spot and sprinted away in terror back into the darkness. Anything was better than what lay waiting for him beyond that light.
Before he had taken two steps the light had consumed him. Draco stood in the exact same place on the platform he had been standing that very morning except, this time, he stood completely alone. The strange thing was that the voices he heard before were still there and they were louder than ever. Just as Draco finished that thought, an angry mob of people appeared out of nowhere and surrounded him. This time he did not have Galen for comfort. It was the same angry woman who stepped forwards first again this time, except as she stepped forward she revealed a horrible sight that was concealed behind her. Bodies of those he cared for and loved were piled on the floor, blood oozing from their wounds, and they were clearly dead. Draco recognised his Auntie Bella, Crabbe, his father, and, most painfully, his mother. “NO!” Draco cried out, dropping down on his knees to the floor. The woman began to laugh, a horrid cackle that chilled him right to the bone. The rest of the crowd soon joined in and advanced upon him, punching and kicking every part of his body they could reach. ‘Help me…’ Draco thought distantly.
That was when Draco felt a warm hand wrap itself around his upper arm. This hand felt different from the others, kinder somehow. It yanked Draco abruptly out of the crowd and soon released him, only to grab hold of Draco’s now exposed hand. His saviour dragged him along the platform beside the gleaming scarlet steam engine that Draco had not noticed until that point. The yells and curses of the mob behind them could still be heard as they pursued the two retreating figures. It was then that Draco thought to look towards his saviour only to be met with a feeling of dread. “It’s you,” Draco yelled. Harry Potter merely glanced back at the boy he had just saved with a wicked gleam in his emerald green eyes. He gave Draco a small smile and continued to drag him down the platform. For a moment, Draco was reassured until the train next to them began moving. Without saying a word, Harry wrenched open the nearest train door to them and shoved Draco on board. The train was picking up speed now and the angry throng were gaining on Harry. Seizing his chance, Draco clung onto the edge of the door and held his hand out towards his saviour. “GRAB ON!” Draco shouted. For a moment, Harry tried to grab for Draco’s hand and managed to get a hold of it. Yet, unexplainably, with one last smirk, Harry let go of the hand Draco was holding and let himself be engulfed by the crowd behind them. “NOOOOOOOOO!”
Draco woke abruptly covered in his own sweat and breathing heavily. The morning sunlight shone dimly into the dormitory while the rest of the boys were pulling their clothes on. None of his dorm mates seemed to notice anything was wrong with him thankfully although Blaise did give Draco an odd look before heading down to the common room. Stripping off his pyjama top, Draco strolled over to the basin that was constantly filled with water and splashed his face with its cool substance. He let the droplets roll down his chest before picking up a towel and drying off. Draco pulled on his clothes without haste, reluctant to hurry towards the venomous whispers and stares that he knew would accompany breakfast. On top of that Draco wanted to dwell over his dream. It was beyond strange. Why on earth would Harry ‘the Chosen One’ Potter want to help him? More importantly, why would Draco desire his help so badly? He grabbed his school bag and headed down the stairs towards the common room where Blaise sat waiting for him.
“What took you do long?” asked Blaise, eyes narrowing. Draco merely shrugged at which Blaise rolled his eyes and the two boys walked in silence towards breakfast. As soon as they sat down Blaise’s attention was claimed immediately by some of their fellow seventh years as Draco brooded in silence. The dream troubled him greatly. He hadn’t had dreams like that since- No, Draco thought to himself, I won’t dwell on that. It was strange how vivid he had found the dream. Why him? Why did it have to be that saviour? Perhaps it’s because he saved you earlier that day, a small voice in his head whispered, I’m sure that must be it. Draco smiled to himself, slightly appeased. By the end of breakfast the dream was all but forgotten and as he walked to his first lesson of the day there was a slight weightlessness to his steps.
The first few weeks passed as a blur. Draco and many of the other students whose family members were on the wrong side still suffered from the whispers and staring, though many did not trouble to keep their voices down. A few altercations from those who had lost family members in the war against those who fought with Voldemort did occur more frequently in the first few weeks, including one first year boy whose uncle had been one of the Death Eaters. These soon died out though the glares and whispers did not. Draco himself barely noticed any of the other students other than his new intimate group of Slytherin friends. Most of the Slytherins kept to themselves, though some of the younger students had integrated friendships between the other houses. He attended his classes, did his homework, and played Quidditch – falling back into the familiar routine far better than he had expected. For the first time in months he was somewhat happy and Draco planned to hold on to that with everything he had.
Come November time Draco had settled completely back into his old life. He had not forgotten his mother and wrote her weekly letters, though Narcissa had yet to respond to a single one. Draco also wrote to his father but he could not bring himself to send those letters for reasons that he couldn’t explain. For the most part he merely distracted himself as much as he could through his lessons. It was easier not to think about much else when focusing on the exact correct way to extract the venom from a Doxy. Though the whispers and stares did not stop they had died down almost to non-existence which pleased him greatly. Draco was halfway towards his Defence Against the Dark Arts lesson when he remembered that he had left his textbook back in his dormitory and turned back to retrieve it. As he entered the classroom, a full 5 minutes late, Draco saw a scene that confused him greatly.
At the front of the classroom stood Professor Delguine, holding her things as though she were about to leave. That was not the strange part. The strange part was that a little way behind her stood a person he had never thought to see in that castle again. Harry Potter.
Chapter 6: Chapter 5
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Time stopped. Draco stood in the doorway, unable to move. His breathing became shallower as his skin formed beads of sweat upon his forehead. It was a wonder that nobody else could hear his heart beating, he thought, as it was thumping so loudly that Draco was sure it would soon jump from his chest. A thousand thoughts streamed through his mind though he could focus on none. What is he doing here? Why has he come? Oh god, oh god, oh god. Fear and confusion swirled around him. For some odd reason he just could not tear his gaze from the green-eyed boys face, no matter how much he wanted to. It was as though he were entrapped in a spell. His only desire at that moment was for Harry Potter to turn his head and look at him. Just to look at him. Please. As soon as the word formed in his mind, those emerald green eyes flicked up to meet his own.
“Mr. Malfoy,” Professor Delguine’s voice broke through the spell, “Thank you for joining us.” Draco tore his gaze away from Harry’s, his cheeks burning. He mumbled an apology before slumping down into his seat. “Well, I think that’s all you need from me,” she continued. Professor Delguine nodded at her bespectacled colleague. “Over to you, Mr. Potter.”
With a flourish of her wand Professor Delguine swept from the room with several of her books bobbing along in the air behind her. Draco’s eyes followed her as she left the room, not deviating from her until the door snapped shut. Slowly, while keeping his head down, Draco directed his gaze towards the front of the classroom. Potter had already begun talking though Draco had not heard a single word. He kept his eyes directed down towards his notes and attempted to pay attention to the lesson though he found it agonizing. Merely the sound of Harry Potter’s voice forced Draco to feel a stab of guilt to his heart, punctuated by every word. The rest of the double lesson passed excruciatingly slowly. By the time the bell rang Draco felt completely drained of energy and as soon as he heard the familiar shrill noise he was the first out of the door, racing along the corridors and down the stairs in his haste to get to his dormitory in the dungeons. Draco slammed the dormitory door behind himself, locking it with a simple spell, and threw his school bag into the corner of the room.
“ARRRRRRRRRGH,” Draco screamed in frustration while clutching manically at his hair. He grabbed his wand and pointed it at nothing in particular before yelling, “REDUCTO!”
Slowly Draco lowered his wand and let it fall to the floor with a resounding clatter as he fell to his knees. His sudden burst of anger slowly faded away and gradually he got his breathing back under control before heaving himself onto his feet once again. Looking around the room Draco assessed the damage and found that the floor-length mirror which hung beside his wardrobe had been completely shattered. He picked his wand up from where it lay and cast a quick reparo spell before flopping face-forward onto his four poster bed and slowly rolled onto his back. Why me? Draco thought desperately to himself. Why do these things continue to happen to me? More importantly, why on earth do I care? I should not be having this much of a reaction to Harry Potter. True, he did save my life but I thanked him for that. Not to mention he saved me on the platform back in September but I also thanked him then. It can’t still be guilt, can it? Perhaps one can never move on from such things. Get a grip, Malfoy. Imagine what Mother and Father would say- Father…. His thoughts trailed off and Draco gazed up at his green, silk hangings completely lost to the world. At that moment he heard the handle of the dormitory twist fruitlessly against his spell, followed by someone loudly banging their fist against it.
Draco lazily pointed his wand towards the door and muttered, “Alohamora.”
The door burst open and Blaise sauntered into the room, his hand clutched tightly around his wand. His piercing eyes briefly found Draco’s before he quickly surveyed the room. Draco watched as Blaise’s gaze lingered on his school bags careless abandonment. “You missed potions,” Blaise finally murmured.
“Sorry, I- er- lost track of time,” Draco replied.
“Sure,” Blaise smirked.
Draco could feel the heat rise up in his face. “It’s true,” Draco snarled.
“Whatever. Just don’t lock us out in future. This is not only your room, Draco. Remember that you lost your power the day your father was sent to Azkaban – the first time.”
With one last scathing look Blaise flung his school satchel onto his own four poster bed and stalked out of the room, presumably to attend dinner. Draco was shaking with anger; a reaction he knew was slightly irrational but one he could not control. Both of his hands had curled into tight fists and in one fluid motion he was on his feet. Slamming the door behind himself, Draco stormed through the common room and out into the maze that was the school dungeons. For a while his head was full of nothing but fury over the entire incident and he found himself marching aimlessly around the halls, not caring where his feet were taking him. As he turned another corner the sound of voices that were originating from a door that had been left ajar brought him back to his senses. Not wanting to encounter anyone Draco dashed into a nearby empty classroom and listened to the voices that were coming from the new room. It suddenly occurred to Draco that he was in the room directly opposite Professor Slughorn’s office. Edging closer to the crack in the door Draco began to listen to the voices he could hear and, to his horror, he recognised the other person’s voice.
“… I see, I see. Well Harry m’boy, it’s been wonderful seeing you again,” said Professor Slughorn.
“And you, Sir,” Harry Potter replied. “Goodbye, Prof- … Horace.”
“That’s the ticket. Farwell, until next time.”
The door of the Potion Master’s office creaked loudly as it was opened. Draco quickly retreated further into the darkened classroom and hid behind a pile of unused desks, his hand twisting nervously around the end of his wand. Footsteps that were presumably Harry’s echoed on the stone floor of the hallway outside as he hurried off back to the upper floors. Draco felt an odd sense of relief as he listened to the echoey footsteps fade quickly away. It was like a vice around his chest had suddenly been released, though he hadn’t noticed the feeling at all until after it disappeared. He took a huge gulp of air, breathing heavily after unconsciously holding his breath for so long. Suddenly Draco’s thoughts click into focus and the solution to his problems appears within his mind. Are you sure Mr. Malfoy? The memory takes him back, if only he had changed his answer then. In one fluid motion Draco swept from the room and rapped urgently upon Professor Slughorn’s office door. He pushed open the door as soon as he heard the barely audible ‘come in’ and stood nervously in the doorway.
“Mr. Malfoy. Lovely to see you, dear boy,” said Professor Slughorn, surprise colouring his voice. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”
Slughorn was unsuccessfully attempting to mask his curiosity. “It’s about the matter we discussed several times via owl before the school year had started, and again in a meeting at the beginning of the school year.”
“Ah, yes. Do go on.”
“Would that offer still be available?”
Professor Slughorn pursed his lips. “How about we enjoy a glass of Oak Matured mead before we continue, eh?”
Not waiting for Draco’s reply, Slughorn gave a wave of his wand and a tray carrying two glasses and one bottle of mead landed with a soft thud upon the table between them. Slughorn promptly filled both glasses with a generous measure and handed one to Draco while keeping the other for himself. He raised his glass towards Draco with a small nod of his head before taking a huge sip and smacking his lips heartily afterwards. Wanting to get Slughorn in a good mood Draco followed suit, the mead he found surprisingly good considering it was not the high quality stuff he was used to. For a few moments they sat in a brooding silence, each appraising the other carefully. Draco’s cheeks turned slightly pink under the intensity of Slughorn’s gaze as he waited for his professor to finally speak. There was something hidden in the back of the man’s eyes that seemed a little like fear but Draco could not understand it. This was because it was not a fear of him that Draco could see in his eyes but a fear for him.
“So,” Slughorn began. “How have you been getting on?”
“Not too badly I suppose,” Draco replied.
“Good, good. Are your lessons going well?”
“Wonderful. I had hoped that was the case since I hadn’t seen you outside of the classroom after our last meeting. However, that makes me wonder …why do you want to revisit that, er- particular, subject? I had thought that the issue was closed?”
“It was.” Draco paused as he thought about the best way to continue.
“Has something… changed, perhaps?” Slughorn prompted.
“I suppose in a way it has. I’m just not entirely sure that the shared dormitory situation is appropriate any longer.”
Slughorn took another deep swig of his drink. “Although I do understand and sympathise with you the situation is slightly more complicated now, Draco. I offered you one of the individual rooms at the beginning of the school year and if you had accepted then all would have been fine. However, to allow you to change your mind now may make it seem as though you are receiving preferential treatment to the other students, and so you can see my predicament.”
“Oh, I see,” Draco replied, the disappointment coursing through him.
“Give me some time to think it over and perhaps discuss it with Professor McGonagall. Then I shall give you my answer.”
“Thank you, Sir.” Draco placed his now-empty glass on to the table before standing up.
“Yes, yes. It’s getting late. We’d both best be off to bed.”
The corridors were deserted which suited Draco very well. It was only at these times he was truly free from the scrutiny of his fellow students. Too soon he had arrived at the Slytherin Common Room and it was mercifully empty. Not particularly wanting to catch Blaise awake after their altercation, Draco sunk into one of the handsome leather armchairs by the fireplace. With a flick of his wand the dusty bottle of Ogden’s Firewhisky that he had previously hidden behind a loose brick in the stone wall zoomed towards him and settled itself on the small table beside his chair. He grabbed a spare glass and poured himself a decent measure and drained the glass. Filling it again Draco absentmindedly tapped the side of the glass with his fingers as he stared thoughtfully into the dancing flames. If all goes well, he thought, I may be able to get through the year with my sanity intact after all. Slowly he finished his second glass, hid the bottle back behind the brick, and made his way up to bed. Blaise and Fergus were both fast asleep, leaving Draco to his own devices. He quickly got into bed and, as soon as his head hit the pillow, fell into a dreamless sleep.
Draco rose before the other boys and dressed himself quickly before heading down to breakfast. The first hour would be Defence Against the Dark Arts and Draco had the sneaking suspicion that Harry would be leading the class once again. Missing it was out of the question. Losing face was not an option. When the bell finally rang Draco reluctantly made his way towards the classroom and took a seat right at the back. At the front of the room Professor Delguine stood with Harry and gave a quick explanation, that Draco didn’t hear a word of, before hurriedly leaving the classroom. Harry started the lesson and again Draco attempted to avoid looking at him as much as possible. The two times he did it took him a while to be able to look away again. When the bell finally rang it was like music to Draco’s ears and he quickly gathered his things. Just as he reached the open door a voice behind him called out that stopped him in his tracks.
“Draco, can I have a word?” Harry Potter called.
Chapter 7: Chapter 6
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“Draco, can I have a word?”
The question rang through the air long after Harry Potter had uttered the last syllable. Draco stood frozen to the spot, leaving the rest of the class to walk around him. Slowly he turned around to see Harry Potter appraising him, flanked either side by Hermione Granger, Neville Longbottom, Ginny Weasley, and Luna Lovegood. He stiffened, unsure of what to expect although the tension in the room was now so high that he could feel it in the air. Draco attempted to avoid Harry’s eyes, frightened of what he would find lingering there. However he decided to dare a look in order to see what kind of conversation he was in for. The brilliant green eyes were surveying Draco as though he were an interesting object of some kind. Harry turned his attention to the others.
“Look do you mind leaving us?”
They all murmured their assent and began to file past Draco, all except for Ginny who was looking up at Harry with an intense stare. She whispered something that Draco could not hear at which Harry shook his head. With that she pressed her lips lightly to Harry’s which, for some reason, made Draco’s throat seem a little tight. After throwing Draco an extremely nasty look she stalked passed him and closed the classroom door behind her with a sharp bang. The two of them merely stared at one another for a few moments, neither saying a word. Draco, for one, was unsure of what to say and so decided to wait until Harry broke the silence. Harry leant against a nearby desk.
“So,” he began. “There’s a lot that I want to say to you and I’d like it if you’d listen.” Draco nodded and Harry continued on. “We have known each other for a long time and there is a long history of dislike there. I doubt that will ever fully change. The thing is that I am going to be talking in this class a few more times over this term, perhaps even the next, which means that we shall be spending a lot of time together. I wish to make that time as comfortable for the both of us as is possible.” He paused for a moment, taking a step forward. “You know it has been a long time since we were last alone.”
Draco stared at him uneasily. “Uh… no I suppose we haven’t.”
“I’m glad we’ve had the time to be alone again today,” said Harry. He took a few more steps towards Draco while giving him an intense stare. “It has been far too long.”
“Well,” began Draco after a long pause. “I’d better be going.”
“Wait! Don’t go. You are perfect.”
“I- I am?”
“Yes,” said Harry, his eyes shining. “I haven’t stopped thinking about you since that day on the train station platform. Seeing you was such a shock but I-“ Harry blushed deeply. “I liked it.”
Harry lunged forward and gathered Draco in a tight embrace. Draco was a little surprised when Harry began to passionately kiss him but found that he liked it. He could feel the warmth of Harry’s body as it was pressed against him and he just knew that this was it. The person who fit him completely. The only one he would ever need. He let himself get lost in the kiss. Harry started to murmur his name.
“Draco? Are you even listening to me?”
He looked up a little stunned. Harry was still sitting on the same desk, not having moved an inch. “What?”
“Look, we have a history but we can’t let that get in the way for the moment. We’ll never be friends but we should at least be civil. I think we can most definitely manage that.”
“Yes, of course.” Draco was suddenly feeling very foolish and felt a sudden urge to bolt. “Well I must be going.”
Without waiting for a reply Draco turned on his heel and tore the classroom door open as he half-ran down the corridor and back to the empty common room. Thankfully it was empty when he arrived and, after a quick glance around, he fetched the firewhiskey he had hidden and poured himself a generous measure. For a while he nursed the drink as he stared unseeingly into the flickering flames in the grand fireplace engrossed in his own thoughts. Why did such visions enter his mind when he was alone with Potter? Was it because he was grateful to him or something more? No, it couldn’t be. Or could it? NO! Draco quickly downed the rest of his drink and headed off to dinner. He intended to never think of the thing again although, in hindsight, that was extremely unlikely to happen.
Fortunately Draco only had to endure Harry’s presence twice before the Christmas holidays had come upon them at last. Unfortunately Christmas was no longer an excitement to him as it once was. Too much had happened for him to enjoy things like that. When he was a young child it had been a wonder to him to wake up on Christmas morning and run into the drawing room with the beautifully decorated tree engulfed by presents. His mother and father would spoil him and they would enjoy a fantastic dinner prepared by the servants. In fact they spoilt him even more once he had left for Hogwarts and his trips home were the highlight of his year. This year, however, Draco had decided to stay at school. He just could not bear to go home and face his mother. Not that he had stopped loving her for that could never happen. To his friends he had said that he wanted to get ahead in his studies but the real reason was that he did not want to go back for fear of not being able to leave again. His mother was so fragile that he was sure he’d stay and leave Hogwarts if she but asked him. One good thing about not receiving any correspondence from Narcissa was that he had not been tempted to throw in his education altogether.
The holidays passed slowly but Draco did not mind for it meant more time for him to be alone. No other Slytherins had stayed at Hogwarts so he had the common room all to himself. On Christmas day he entered the Great Hall to find that the House tables had disappeared and only one small table had been laid for dinner. Apparently only three other students had decided to stay over Christmas, one Gryffindor and two Hufflepuffs he did not know. The Gryffindor gave him a disgusted look as he sat down which Draco did not return. As the meal wore on he realised to his horror the reason the other students were here was due to the fact that they had all been orphaned by the war and had no other family. Draco could not meet their eyes and ate as quickly as he could, jumping up as soon as he had finished.
“Leaving already, Draco?” Professor Slughorn boomed.
“Yes, I er- I have some work to get finished.”
“Work! It’s Christmas day!”
“I know,” said Draco, eyes darting about uncomfortably. “I just need to…” his voice trailed off.
“Well thank you for coming, Draco,” Professor McGonagall said to him.
“Thank you.” He turned on his heel and was halfway across the entrance hall when Professor Slughorn’s voice called to him from behind.
“Just a moment, I’d like a quick word.” Draco waited for him to catch up, slightly red and out of breath. “Well it has been decided. I didn’t want to tell you until it were confirmed but you have got your wish.”
“Uh, what exactly has been decided, Professor?” asked Draco.
“You will have your own private room. Professor McGonagall has agreed! In fact it is ready for you now so move in at your leisure though it might be better to do so before you classmates return.”
With that he re-entered the Great Hall leaving Draco behind absolutely elated. Though he had not expected to receive any presents this year Slughorn had given him his best yet. Feeling much happier he went back to his dormitory immediately and began to pack up his things. Soon he had moved into his new private bedroom completely content. In fact he had quite forgotten his woes for the moment for which he was glad. He was not even worried about what he would say to Fergus and Blaise when they arrived back next week, they would just have to deal with it. The only downside was one that Draco could not see himself for he did not even think that anything like that could occur to him. Unfortunately it became all too clear later that night.