Neville Longbottom was on his way to the library to work on a particularly tough Herbology essay, all of his books pilled precariously in his arms as he walked through the halls. He turned a corner and collided with someone on the other side. A few of the topmost books clattered to the floor, along with a bottle of ink, which crashed into pieces as it hit the stones.
“S-sorry,” Neville stuttered, lowering the remaining books so that he could see who he’d run into. He wished immediately that he hadn’t.
“You should learn to watch where you’re going, Longbottom,” Blaise Zabini hissed.
“S-sorry,” Neville repeated, backing away from the angry Slytherin and his cronies. Jonas was staring in disgust and anger at his robes, which were splattered with the spilled ink. Neville gulped in fear when he saw the hatred reflected in the boy’s eyes.
“You filthy little blood traitor…,” Jonas growled.
Draco came around the corner just in time to see the events unfold. Jonas was circling Neville Longbottom, who trembled in fear. Draco was just reaching for his wand when Jonas stopped face to face with the Gryffindor, glaring hatefully into his eyes.
Draco watched as Blaise, Jonas, Crabbe, and Goyle knocked the books from the boy’s hands and shoved past him, kicking a few notebooks and loose papers around as they left.
Neville dropped to his knees to pick up his books, his ears growing red with anger. He reached for his Herbology textbook, but someone handed it to him instead. The Gryffindor found himself looking into a very familiar pair of silver eyes. He took the book cautiously, eyeing the Slytherin with a combination of curiosity and distrust.
Draco said nothing, but continued to help Neville pick up his belongings. When every bit of loose parchment had been collected, and every book rested in a neat stack, Neville bent to pick them up. The Slytherin surprised him again by taking half of the books from his hands.
“I’ll help you get them to the library,” he said. Neville nodded his thanks and started off towards the stairs.
When they reached the library, Draco helped him find an empty table to pile his books on. Satisfied that Neville wouldn’t be attacked again, Draco left; the Gryffindor stared after him with a mixture of confusion and amazement.
* * *
That afternoon, Draco made the lonely trip down to greenhouse three for Herbology—the one class he and Matt didn’t share that year. Despite the chilly April breeze outside, the green house held a comfortable warmth.
All around him, students were pulling off cloaks and chatting happily to their friends. In a far corner, Neville Longbottom stood with his nose buried in a book, as was typical these days. Professor Sprout joined them soon after.
“Good afternoon, class,” she said. “We’ve got quite a lesson today, so get in to pairs as quickly as you can and we’ll get started.”
Group work—Draco hated group work. Now that he’d been shunned by the entire student body, he always found himself on his own. The other students pared off, happily joining their friends. It wasn’t long before Draco was left standing alone.
“No partner, Mr. Malfoy?” Professor Sprout asked. She turned to look about the room. “Ah, you can pair up with Mr. Longbottom. Neville, dear?”
Neville looked up from his book. When he found himself face to face with Draco, he seemed slightly frightened, but didn’t object. Professor Sprout explained their project to them and then set them to work. Neville moved quickly, gathering their materials. We he returned to their spot, however, he tensed up just as he had before, frightened, it seemed, to have Draco as his partner.
“I’m not going to hex you,” Draco said quietly. Neville looked up at him, and Draco could have sworn he saw him relax a bit. “That afraid of me are you?” he asked jokingly.
“Why did you help me?” The question came out of nowhere. Neville looked up at him expectantly. “This morning—why did you help me?”
“Should I not have?” That was wrong. Draco tried again. “There’s not much difference between you and I, Neville. I helped you because Blaise and Jonas are asses, the both of them. I wasn’t about to be one, too.”
Neville was quiet for a moment, concentrating on the project. Without looking up, he mumbled, “Thank you…”
* * *
“Let’s run though ‘The Fantasy’ again, then,” Draco said. Matt nodded and counted off. Draco started playing again. “With the lights out it’s a little less dangerous. Even with a stranger never gets painless. Don’t be afraid.”
“Afraid, afraid,” Matt echoed.
“Every time I think I’m gonna change it.”
“Think I’m gonna change it. Think I’m gonna change it.”
“It’s driving me.”
“Do you live, do you die, do you bleed for the fantasy?” They sang together. “In your mind, through your eyes, do you see it’s the fantasy?”
A knock at the door broke them off there. Matt groaned in agitation at being interrupted. Draco laughed and set down his guitar to open the door. Standing out side were Neville and Luna, both of whom had taken to Matt and Draco quite well over the past few weeks.
“Hey, what’s up, guys?” Draco asked.
“Not much,” Luna answered in her dreamy voice.
“We aren’t interrupting anything, are we?” Neville asked rather tentatively.
“Yes,” Matt mumbled from behind the set. Draco grinned.
“’Course not,” he replied, stepping aside and letting them in.
“Hello, Matthew.” Luna greeted the black-haired Slytherin as though she had known him for years. Matt shot her a glare at the use of his formal name. No one had ever had the nerve to call him by it.
“Luna,” he replied stiffly, nodding. Neville and Luna sat down in the empty chairs at the far wall. “If you don’t mind, we were sort of in the middle of a song…”
“Would you knock it off?” Draco exclaimed, closing the door and joining the group. “Bloody impatient bastard.”
“I heard that.”
Draco sighed. “He’s not going to shut up until we finish the song. Do you mind?” he asked the other two.
“Of course not,” Luna replied. Neville nodded in agreement. Draco picked up his guitar.
“Alright, then. You’ve got your wish. Second chorus, alright?” Draco said to Matt, who nodded happily and counted off again. Draco joined him and they picked up where they’d left off. “Maybe tonight we can forget about it all. It could be just like heaven. I am a machine. No longer living, just a shell of what I dreamed.”
“Do you live, do you die, do you bleed for the fantasy?” Matt joined him. “In your mind, through your eyes, do you see it’s the fantasy?”
“Say it, say it, say what you believe!” Matt took over. “Say it, say it to me!”
The drums dropped out and Draco took over, playing quietly. “Do you live, do you die, do you bleed for the fantasy? Automatic, I imagine, I believe.”
Matt joined back in and they grew louder. “Do you live, do you die, do bleed for the fantasy? Do you live, do you die, do you bleed for the fantasy? In your mind, through your eyes, do you see it’s the fantasy? Automatic, I imagine, I believe. Automatic, I imagine, I believe.”
“Say it, say it, say what you believe!” It was obvious that Matt loved his solo part. “Say it, say it to me!” They ended and Draco gladly set aside his guitar and conjured himself a glass of water. “I love that song,” Matt exclaimed.
“You love every song,” Draco replied.
“True, true. But that’s only because you’re a master at lyrics.”
“You wrote that?” Luna asked, looking at Draco.
He nodded. “Yeah. Terrible, isn’t it?”
“No. I thought it was quite wonderful.”
“Oh, well, thanks, then.” Draco smiled at her and pulled up another chair. “So, what brings you two up here?” he asked casually.
“Do you want to tell them, or should I?” Luna asked, looking to Neville.
“You can,” he replied. “You’re much more excited about it.”
“We might have found a chance for you to have a practice run before Battle of the Bands,” she said quickly, barely able to contain the excitement she so obviously felt.
“That brilliant!” Matt exclaimed. “When is it?”
“The sixth. There’s a little party being thrown and I’ve heard they might be looking for a band.”
“Wait,” Draco interrupted. Matt turned to him, wondering why he could have any hesitance at all. “Where is this party?”
Luna and Neville exchanged looks before the blonde tentatively answered. “The Gryffindor common room…”
“It’s—” Neville began.
“Hermione’s birthday party, yeah…,” Draco finished.
They were quiet for a while…and then Matt spoke up. “Well, thanks anyway, mates. Guess we’ll just have to go in to Battle blindly, eh?”
“Wait, wait…,” Draco interrupted. “I never said we wouldn’t do it. Who’s arranging this party?”
“Ginny and Harry, mostly,” Luna answered.
“They’d never let us in,” Matt mumbled.
“Not as yourselves. But if you were to be disguised…”
“We’d never have it ready in time. It takes over a month to brew; the sixth is only two weeks away,” Draco replied. “Unless…”
“There are certain potions Professor Snape always keeps prepared…If we can snatch some Polyjuice from his supplies…”
“We can disguise ourselves for the gig!” Matt’s excitement had returned. “When can we get the potion?”
“Tomorrow afternoon. There’s a quidditch match. Everyone will be outside,” Neville explained. “You can get it then.”
“Perfect!” Matt shouted.
Draco grinned at his friend’s enthusiasm, all the while thinking to himself that this could be just the chance he needed to apologize to Hermione…
* * *
The next morning, as the rest of the school left the Great Hall and headed towards the grounds for the game, Matt and Draco slipped off towards the dungeons. They hurried off towards Snape’s supply room, both praying there would be a few bottles of Polyjuice waiting for them. Matt stayed out in the hall, keeping an eye out for anyone that might interrupt their plans, while Draco slipped into the supply room and began to scan the shelves for the potion.
After looking over the shelves three times, Draco’s worst fear burst into reality.
“It’s not here,” he called. Matt’s head popped around the door.
“What?!” he exclaimed.
“It’s not here. There isn’t a scrap of polyjuice anywhere…”
Matt pushed his way in and did his own repetitive scan of the shelves. “Shit, mate. We’re really screwed now. What are we gonna do?”
“No clue…” An echoing in the distance drew their attention. Footsteps—someone was coming. They left the room quickly, shutting the door carefully behind them before hurrying back up the hall, only to run into Blaise Zabini and Jonas Scavo.
“What are you two doing down here, eh?” Blaise asked, scowling at them both.
Slytherins, if you haven’t noticed, Zabini!” Matt hissed. Blaise laughed.
“Not anymore you aren’t. Not since you’ve teamed up with this piece of lowlife shit.” Matt started forward, but Draco held him back.
“C’mon, Matt. He’s not worth it,” Draco said, pulling Matt around the other two.
“Goin’ soft on us, eh, Malfoy?” Jonas mocked. “Next thing you know, he’ll be off to join the Hufflepuffs!” He and Blaise shared a laugh. Draco cut it off short when he pressed the tip of his wand to Jonas’s throat.
“Still think I’m goin’ soft?” Draco growled.
“We heard what happened with Weasley,” Blaise said. Jonas grinned. “Jonas saw it first hand, didn’t you, mate?”
“Sure did. Didn’t even fight back, did you?” Jonas pushed Draco’s wand away from his throat, stepping towards him, taunting him. “Let the Weasel beat you, didn’t you?” Draco turned away and Jonas laughed. “You’re weak, Malfoy; a weak little blood-traitor.”
“I’d take being a blood traitor over a Death Eater any day, Scavo,” Draco replied. He walked away up the hall, Matt following closely behind him.
* * *
Matt spent most of the remaining weekend in the library, pouring over Transfiguration and Charms books, searching for anything that could help to disguise them. Draco sat in the Head common room, working frantically to write the song that would be his apology to Hermione.
By noon on Sunday, he had thrown away so many first drafts that he was begging to think it would be impossible to write anything worthwhile. There were so many things he wanted to say to her, so many things he wanted to apologize for. It seemed an incredible amount of effusion to compose into a single set of meaningful lyrics.
Then it hit him. It would be a way to apologize to Hermione and keep the promise he’d made to her while they were dating. Draco rushed up the stairs to his room, digging through his trunk in search of his old notebook. He descended the stairs with it in hand, picked up his pen, and started to write…
* * *
At 6:00 that evening, Matt burst into the Head’s common room excitedly, brandishing a piece of parchment. Draco looked up from his writing, an eyebrow raised in question.
“I’ve got it, mate!” Matt exclaimed. “The spell that’ll disguise us for this gig!”
“That’s great, Matt,” Draco replied, setting the lyrics aside. “Let’s see what you’ve found, then.” Matt handed him the parchment. “The Metamorphosis Charm,” Draco mumbled, reading quickly over what Matt had copied down. “Sounds good. One question, though. How do you remove it?”
“It’s temporary, so it’ll wear off, just like the polyjuice.”
“How long does it last?”
“No clue, why?
“Because it’s not much use to us if it wears off while we’re up there!”
“Don’t worry. It’ll be fine.” Draco looked skeptical. “How’s the song coming?”
“Nearly finished,” Draco replied. “I need a break, though, before I finish.”
“Dinner’s starting about now. Let’s go get something to eat.”
* * *
AUTHOR NOTE: Credit to My Chemical Romance for the title “My Way Home is Through You”. And to 30 Seconds to Mars for “The Fantasy”. Well, chapter 6. Let me know what you think. Next chapter will be the big party, complete with Draco’s apology. That means we’ll finally get to hear that song Draco started working on back in, like, chapter 2 or something, lol. Please review!!!!