This is my epic
WIP. I started it
as the prequel to Coming Around and it got a little out of hand. Each of
the stories can stand on their own, but I'll clarify again that this is
pre-slash. And that the canon's a mess because I started it before OotP
came out. This fic and I have kind of a love-hate affair going. Please
send any feedback to deirdre @ muse-wanted . com (remove spaces).
Table of Contents:
Part I: War and Aftermath
Part II: Fall and Falling
La Découverte ou
Part I: War and Aftermath
Oh, these are
These are the strangest
These are the nights
These are the darkest to
--David Bowie, "Slow Burn"
Curses rained down all over. The air was thick
blood and smoke
and magic. No one would have recognised this corpse-scattered plain as
the front lawn of Hogwarts, where the Order of the Phoenix, alongside
the Ministry of Magic and the Giants, desperately tried to fend off the
siege of Death Eaters trying to gain access to the castle.
Just behind the front line of defence, Draco
could be seen
running for all he was worth, up to the castle, dodging Killing Curse
after Cruciatus after Killing Curse. Tears streamed down his face as he
ran. Severus Snape, possibly the one real friend he'd ever had, had
just been struck down by Draco's own father, and he had been powerless
to stop it. The siege had come nearly by surprise. The Order had only
had a couple of hours' warning, not enough to get all the students to
safety in time. Most of them now huddled in heavily warded rooms deep
in the dungeons, waiting for the word to come out, knowing that there
might be no one left to give the word. Draco, like most of the
seventh-years, had refused to be locked in, knowing he had to fight.
And now he ran. They needed help, all they could get.
Potter, of course, was right at the front of it
told Draco a year ago that he'd be taking orders from Potter, he'd have
had them shipped off to St. Mungo's for an extended stay. But when the
7th-years had hastily banded together, Potter had been tacitly
"Run to the castle!" Potter had shouted. "Get the
anyone you can! And get someone to the Owlery-- tell them to write
anyone they can think of!"
And Draco had taken off running without a
he'd escaped the range of most of the curses, but he didn't slow down.
Great Merlin, his getting to the castle in time could decide the fate
of Wizarding society as he knew it. He ran to the Dungeons; fortunately
he could have found the way blindfolded. He reached the room in which
the older students were secured and hastily shouted the passwords
through layer after layer of wards. He finally got through the last one
and touched his Order ring to the keyhole. The doors swung open and a
hundred terrified faces turned to look at him.
"Anyone who can fight, come now! We need
breathless. They stared at him, stunned. "What are you waiting for? Do
you want there to be a world tomorrow or not?" His words sank in and
people began to spring to their feet, stripping off their robes and
readying their wands.
Ginny Weasley looked at him, clearly astonished
"You and Crawford there, get up to the Owlery!
can think of. Use every owl in the place. Then come down to the gates
Ginny Weasley nodded bravely and dragged a
off with her. Draco addressed the rest of the crowd of young wizards
before him. "A lot of you probably aren't coming back. But your
teachers, your parents, and your friends are out there fighting for you
and they need your help. Use any curse you've got. Don't be afraid to
use the Unforgivables if you know them, the Death Eaters won't do you
that courtesy. If you know worse, use that too! Now come on!"
Draco bolted from the room and it emptied behind
quarter of the 5th and 6th year students were dead before they had the
chance to utter a single curse. But the rest managed to make it up to
the front, where Draco found Pitter in the midst of a duel with Lucius.
Draco couldn't but watch, at least partially. It was terrifying. Even
if he hated this man, he was still his flesh and blood. Potter was
holding his own, dodging and blocking, but Draco could tell he was
exhausted and that Lucius was gaining on him. He realised nobody was
really watching him. "Immobilus," he whispered. The curse hit Lucius
and he froze where he was. Potter fortunately had the sense not to
waste time looking round to see who his helper had been.
He didn't even hesitate for two seconds. "AVADA
shouted. A flash of green light, and Lucius Malfoy was no more. How
many times has Potter used that curse today? How many times have I?
Draco wondered. He felt a surge of magic surging toward his stomach and
hit the deck. He saw where it had come from. His old "friend" Goyle.
How had that moron survived this long? Goyle and many other Slytherins
had mysteriously disappeared from Hogwarts a few months ago. Everyone
knew where they had gone, but no one talked about it. That was why the
Order knew something was coming-- they just hadn't known when. Draco
finished Goyle off easily. When he got up, he saw that the area had
gone silent. Looking in Potter's direction, he saw why.
There was Voldemort, in all his scaly red-eyed
gruesomeness, face to face yet again with his nemesis. But Draco had
the idea-- no, he knew-- that this was the final showdown. Something
about Potter's air told him that he was really ready this time. It had
to be the end. Of one of them, anyway.
"We meet again, young Harry," rasped the Dark
mother, so courageous. She was such a loyal servant in the beginning,
so obedient. But she turned out badly, just as you have."
WHAT? Potter's mother had been a Death Eater?
explained a lot.
But it didn't seem to faze Potter. He must have known already. Imagine
living with that. Oh wait, I did.
"Don't talk to me about my mother, *Tom.* You
You've got no right to talk about her. And I'm not letting you ruin
anyone else's life." They raised their wands. "I think you know how
this goes, Voldie. But this time, I win."
Voldemort shouted "Avada Kedavra" at the same
shouted some curse Draco had never heard in his life. It sounded like
'Deleo Spiritus' or something like that, but he couldn't be sure.
Instead of anything happening to either of them, the two curses met in
the middle. A beam of dark red light emanated from Potter's wand, and a
green one from the Dark Lord's. They fought to overtake each other.
Sometimes Voldemort's gained a little, but Potter managed to gain it
back plus some. Potter was winning! They were screaming at each other
in Parseltongue, adding an eerie soundtrack to the already terrifying
situation. Draco wondered in spite of everything whether they knew they
were doing it or not. And how long this was going to go on.
But then suddenly Potter screamed, "NO! YOU....
was a great explosion as the red beam overtook the green one. Draco and
the others on the field watched in horror and awe as shades of
screaming, dying people began to shoot out of Voldemort's wand and then
vanish. Potter stood there stone-faced until it was over. And just for
a second, there was nothing. But then Voldemort was screaming in agony,
his entire body glowing red. Not even his followers dared approach. At
last Potter hissed something in Parseltongue over the writhing form and
Voldemort crumbled to dust that scattered on the wind.
"He's dead," Potter said, not really to anyone.
Nothing short of mayhem ensued. Some of the
and hugging, but others knew it wasn't over yet. Frightened Death
Eaters, now leaderless, began to scurry to escape, throwing curses in
their wake. Potter jerked his head for Draco to follow him. They ran
and dodged anew, petrifying or killing all the Death Eaters they could.
Then Draco felt a splitting agony shoot through his right leg to his
shoulder. He'd been hit. Yes, he was bleeding. There was a deep gash
all the way down his body. Something else hit him. Bugger. His left leg
was broken. Then he felt the unmistakable agony of Cruciatus surge
through him. He looked over, nearly blind with pain. Goyle's father.
"You killed my boy, you Muggle-loving scum!" Then
fell over, revealing Potter behind him. Potter had just saved his life.
"Thanks," Draco muttered weakly, collapsing.
Potter immediately rushed to his side, breaking
him down gently on the ground.
"Potter, leave me, you idiot, the Death Eaters
"Let them. They've got no Voldemort to run to
matter." Potter removed Draco's shirt. "Jesus," he breathed, "I can't
heal this. We've gotta get you to Madam Pomfrey."
"Potter, leave me, it's not worth it. Go save
"You do matter. And I've killed too many people
Without another word, Potter picked Draco up and began to carry him
back toward the castle. Draco drifted in and out of consciousness,
looking round him at the bloodied field, deserted now but for the
remaining able-bodied people gathering up the wounded and the dead.
They didn't even have to go as far as the
There was a
makeshift infirmary set up in the Great Hall, filled with students and
professors in various stages of pain, healing, or death. Fortunately
someone had thought to call in reinforcements, so there were about
twenty mediwitches there to help Madam Pomfrey. Potter set him down
gently on a bed and Madam Pomfrey came over to see about him.
Potter squeezed his shoulder. "You'll be fine.
back later to
see how you're doing."
Draco could only nod dumbly as he watched
Why did he do that? Why didn't he just leave me for dead? Merlin knows
after all I've done to him, I didn't deserve any better. Probably just
that bloody Gryffindor heroism, Draco thought bitterly as he passed out.
He returned to consciousness some indeterminate
of time later
to hear muted voices beside him. Potter and Madam Pomfrey, he realised
through the haze of the painkilling potion.
"How is he?" Potter was saying.
"He'll be all right eventually. There were some
internal injuries. If you hadn't brought him in when you did, his lungs
probably would have collapsed."
"But that's all healed now, don't worry. He's
to be sore
and weak for a while. And if I know this boy, rather unpleasant."
"Now, Harry, you've avoided me too long. I want
a look at
that leg of yours."
Leg? Potter had been injured? Draco hadn't even
nothing," Potter said, "I think the ligament's torn is all." All?
Potter had bloody carried him back here with a torn ligament in one of
"Give an old woman peace of mind, will you? Hop
Draco didn't get it. Potter had, indeed, saved
about that. All right, he probably felt it was the right thing to do.
But coming back to check on him? Draco highly doubted Potter was doing
that for every other poor bleeding sod he'd dragged in here. The
thought crossed his mind that maybe Potter actually... cared? He
laughed to himself. Yeah, right. Must be the drugs.
Draco woke up again sometime later to find Potter
sitting by his
bed. "Hey," Potter said softly.
"What time is it?" Draco muttered groggily.
"Quarter to midnight. You've been out almost two
Two DAYS? Bloody hell. "What are you doing here
you go stand vigil over your friends?"
Potter's regard went dark. "Because the only
going to be
holding for a lot of them is going to be in a graveyard."
"It's all right. It's war. Hermione and Seamus
are alive at least. But that's about it for my close friends. Draco, I
should tell you, I---"
DRACO? Ooookay, whatever. He didn't like the idea
Malfoy too much right now anyway. But he knew what Potter was about to
say. "You killed my father, I know."
"I was the one who cast the Immobilus curse on
"Potter, don't be afraid I'm angry. I'm not. If
I should be
thanking you for doing what I probably had a hundred chances to do
throughout my life but never could bring myself to."
Potter was silent for a bit, obviously not sure
"Potter, really. He was an evil bastard. I'm a
that I don't
have a father in theory, but in reality no one could miss that
"I am sorry about your friends, Potter. I know
that's like. But
at least you knew who they were." Draco felt his eyes closing again.
Potter touched his hand. "I'm sorry, Draco. I
imagine what that was like."
"I don't know," Potter said simply. Potter was
hand, Draco realised. "Look, you should rest some more."
"You should too. I don't even know how you can
"I don't either, frankly. But I feel like shit,"
said with a
bitter laugh. "I've got to go meet with what's left of the Order. If
you need me, just send someone to find me. I any case I'll be back
Draco nodded and started to drift off again. If I
that supposed to mean? He finally decided, after a bit of bleary
deliberation, that Potter must have felt sorry for him, knowing that
there would be no one else to visit him. He resented that somewhat, but
at the same time he had to admit to himself that he was grateful to
have someone to break up the long periods of nothingness.
That night he had his first dream since being in
was twelve again, riding his broom across the grounds of Malfoy Manor.
And then Potter appeared, flying next to him, diving and looping
together with him. For some reason he woke up with tears in his eyes.
That's not how it was, he said to himself. But that's how it could have
been, had your father been anyone else. Maybe it could have even been
that way despite his father if Draco had found a nicer way of
introducing himself to Potter. That's what the tears were for, he
realised. He could have had probably the best sort of friend he could
have asked for, but through an accident of birth, it was not to be.
Okay, probably more than that, but his birth certainly didn't do
anything to help.
He knew how Potter was with his friends. He stood
protected them, listened to them. Had things been different, Potter
could have done the same for him. Malfoy, you retard. What do you think
he's been doing for you the last few days? But that's out of pity. How
do you know? Pity or a sense of debt. Maybe he actually cares. Maybe he
thinks he was wrong about you. Draco stared into the clouds rolling
across the charmed ceiling. He couldn't figure Potter out. Maybe if he
just asked him. Potter did tend to be brutally honest. But he wasn't
sure if he wanted to know the answer.
Draco struggled to sit up. Gods, it hurt.
had done to patch him up was certainly taking a long time to heal.
Just... a ... little...more.... There! He'd done it. He lay back
against the pillow, exhausted by the exertion.
Just then Potter came in, carrying a few books
levitating a tray in front of him. "Hey!" he said, grinning. "You've
"Had a hell of a time with it too."
"Yeah, Madam Pomfrey said you'd probably be sore
"Hey, be glad you've still got lungs."
"I don't know, have you poisoned it?"
"Oh, naturally," Potter said, rolling his eyes.
the tray down
on the bedside table along with the books.
"What's all that?" asked Draco, carefully lifting
cocoa to his
"Don't tell me they're actually going to try to
out the last
month of classes?"
"No, this is for next term. It seems that
yet again in
need of a DADA professor."
"Is Arabella---" Not her...
"No, she's fine. But she's retiring. She said
years in two days. Dumbledore asked me if I'd like to take over."
"What about Quidditch? I heard a rumour that you
about ten teams
dangling contracts in front of you."
Potter shook his head. "I turned them all down.
is my home."
"You're lucky, I haven't got a home to go to.
father in the Ministry seized the house. Not before he went into
hiding, of course."
Potter looked incredulous. "You're the one who
Draco confirmed with a sober nod.
"What, never believed I'd be such a traitor to my
spat. Of course it would turn out like this. Of course all this
niceness was too good to last.
"No, no, it's not like that at all!" Potter
Huh? "I just
never knew you could be so... pardon the expression, but... Gryffindor.
And I mean that in the nicest possible way."
"There's loads of stuff you don't know about me,
"I imagine the reverse is true as well."
"What don't I know? Your life is pretty much
could say anything that would surprise me."
Potter's regard went very dark. "Three days ago,
"Voldemort. He magically sort of...birthed my
would never betray him. Unfortunately for him, even with all his
powers, he couldn't prevent her from learning how to think for herself.
She became a spy the year she married my father."
Potter's mother was a Death Eater? And a spy at
mother was Voldemort's daughter? How had he not known that? How had no
one known that? "That explains a lot about why he wanted to kill you."
And how could Potter have lived with knowing that? How could anyone?
Potter shook his head, as if shaking off the
you know that. And I know something else about you."
Draco was genuinely surprised. "What?"
"I happen to know that as soon as you're strong
going to offer you the Potions position."
Draco nearly spat his cocoa all over the place.
"I don't believe this!" Draco said, grinning,
much as it
hurt to do so.
"Believe it. I take it you'll accept?"
"Of course I'll bloody well accept! Where else
"Didn't the Wimbourne Wasps offer you a position?"
"Well, yeah, but that would create a housing
haven't got any and they don't provide it."
"Well, there's nothing that says you can't do
Draco hadn't even thought of that. Loads of
local clubs had regular jobs as well. "The golden boy has a point."
Potter made a face. "Don't call me that."
Draco laughed a little. "Sorry, what should I
"That's Professor Gryffindork to you," Potter
laughing now too.
Okay, he's in a good mood. Maybe I should ask
him. Do I
know? Yeah. I do. "Potter, can I ask you something?"
"Why are you being so nice to me all of a sudden?
feel sorry for me?"
Potter looked sort of offended. "No, I'm being
you because I
"Why do you want to? I've never done anything to
"Well, you saved my life, for one. But it isn't
It's more that I've wanted to make peace with you for ages, but I've
never had a good enough excuse. Sometime at the beginning of last term,
I saw a change in you that made me think you weren't the insufferable
git I'd always thought you were. And I wanted to say something, but the
time never seemed right. But now that I've got you as a captive
audience, it's a little easier. But listen, if you don't want me
around, just say the word and I'll piss off. I am aware that not the
entire world wants to be my friend."
Wow. He's wanted to be my friend all year. That
thing. He's absolutely barking mad. But he must have seen this 'change'
around the time I turned Lucius in. "No, don't piss off. I like having
someone to talk to. Besides, you couldn't piss off very far since we'll
be working together."
"Hey, Potter, the next time you come here, would
me a few books? I'm bored out of my skull here most of the time."
"Sure, what do you want?"
"Well, I guess I'd better be brushing up on
if you could
snag the Encyclopaedic Index of Magical Herbs and Ingredients, that
might be useful."
"Done and done. Anything else?"
"Oh, I don't know. A trashy novel or something to
The next time Potter came was the following
(or at least
Draco assumed). He brought the Potions book along with a thick stack of
"Potter, I've never heard of any of these."
"I figured. They're some of my Muggle books."
"Muggle books? You read Muggle books?"
"I was raised by Muggles."
"You'll like them, don't worry. Though they're
Here, try this one."
Potter handed him a slim cloth-bound volume.
"'A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man,' by James Joyce. Okay." He
opened it and tried to read, but he found that the more he tried to
focus on the words, the more they swam about on the page and made him
feel sick and dizzy. He squeezed his eyes shut and dropped the book.
"Bugger, I don't think I'm well enough to read yet."
"I'll just have to read it to you, then," Potter
"You don't have to do that. I'm sure I'll be fine
"Oh, just let me. I enjoy it. Hermione used to
whenever I got myself into nasty accidents. "But if you don't want me
"No, no, I'd like that. Just so long as you don't
"I don't." He opened the book. "Chapter One.
a time and a
very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road--'"
Harry cleared his throat pointedly and went on.
that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby
"Potter, what the hell is this?" Draco said,
his aching ribs.
"It's great literature, now shut up. 'His father
story: his father looked at him through a glass. He had a hairy face.
He was baby tuckoo. The moocow came down the road where Betty Byrne
lived: she sold lemon platt.'"
"I don't know, some kind of candy I think."
It went on like that, with Potter reading a few
laughing. He was thoroughly enjoying it despite how little sense it
made. He wondered privately if Dumbledore had written this book under a
pseudonym. Potter didn't even seem to mind when Draco stopped him,
asking him questions about Parnell and football. Harry explained
everything he could patiently and read till his voice started to go
hoarse and Draco got sleepy.
"Shall I bring you dinner?" Harry asked, closing
"I'm not allowed solid food yet. Madam Pomfrey's
"You're not a baby. And it's Madam Pomfrey's
you some nice pasta, that can't hurt you."
Harry-- since when have I started thinking of him
reappeared a little while later carrying a tray of something that
smelled divine. Draco had to eat slowly. His hands were still shaky and
his jaws hurt, but it tasted a hell of a lot better than whatever
magically enriched soup Madam Pomfrey had been feeding him. At one
point he dropped his fork. He blushed furiously, not really knowing
what to do. But Harry picked it up again without a word and spelled it
"I hate being so bloody helpless," Draco fumed,
to hide his
"I know, but it's not for much longer. Madam
told me this
morning that you'd be able to try walking in a few days."
That thought somewhat terrified Draco. What if he
couldn't do it?
"Will you be here when I do?" He asked in a small voice.
"Sure, if you want me to. I'll make sure they
left after dinner was done, saying he had things to do. He responded to
Draco's unasked question by saying he'd be back first thing in the
The next morning, though, Harry did not come. Is
bored of me
already? He started to get extremely paranoid that perhaps Harry'd
gotten over whatever bout of madness had caused him to be friendly in
the first place and returned to hating him.
He called Madam Pomfrey over and asked her
(though his voice
trembled) if she could go look for him. She frowned slightly, but
agreed. She returned twenty minutes later, alone. "I'm sorry, Draco,
but nobody knows where he is. He might have gone out."
"Gone out? Where? He was supposed to be here
morning!" What is wrong with me? Why am I having a life crisis over
this? Just calm the fuck down Malfoy, you lived through the end of the
"Now dear, don't worry, I'm sure he'll be along."
hand and bustled off to attend to the other patients.
It was nearly 1:00 when Harry finally showed up,
somewhat dirty. "Sorry!" He exclaimed.
"Where were you?" Draco asked, trying not to
"Damage control. I sort of lost track of time,"
said with a
sheepish grin. "I'm really sorry. As soon as I realised what time it
was I ran straight up here."
"It's okay. I was just afraid you'd... I don't
decided to hate
me again or something." Draco blushed at how ridiculous that sounded.
Harry clasped his hand and Draco felt a current
through him. "I wouldn't do that."
Harry was never late again, but for the next
always dirty and disheveled whenever he came to see Draco. In spite of
everything, Draco decided he was kind of cute that way. Harry read to
him and snuck him food he wasn't allowed to have and they talked. Their
conversations covered an incredibly wide range of subjects, from
Quidditch to vampires to childhood anecdotes. Draco had never had
someone to talk to like this, someone he could really talk to about
anything. And certainly no one who he was sure was telling him the
whole truth. That was what really blew him away about Harry-- his
sincerity. And he found himself trying to mirror that candor, which
surprised him even more. But what he really couldn't fathom was how
someone who'd been through as much as Harry had could still trust so
easily. Draco had learned a lot about the bad side of human nature in
his life, but in those three days he learned more about the other side
of it than he had in all his eighteen years.
The fourth morning was a little different. When
woke up, Harry
and Madam Pomfrey were standing over him. Harry was grinning and
freshly showered, the first time Draco had seen him clean in days.
"What's the deal?" Draco muttered sleepily.
"Time to try walking," Harry said, his smile
"Madam Pomfrey says if you can do it, you can be released."
Draco was at once elated and frightened. Released
Dumbledore still hadn't approached him about the Potions position, and
Draco was wondering if he ever would. Well, surely they wouldn't just
turn him out.
Harry wrapped his arms around Draco and helped
Slowly Harry walked him around the room, allowing him to work the
stiffness out of his legs. He realised that his ribs didn't hurt so
much anymore, nor did anything else. He'd gotten so used to being in
pain that he'd somehow failed to notice when it had gone away.
Draco giggled. He let go of Harry and did a
cured!" he exclaimed melodramatically. He threw his arms around Harry
and hugged him. "I couldn't have done it without you," he said quietly.
"Well, dear, it seems you no longer have need of
Madam Pomfrey. "Harry, would you be so kind as to escort him to his
Harry beamed. "Sure." He tossed Draco a robe to
pyjamas and led him out of the Great Hall.
"Where are we going?" Draco asked.
Part I: War and Aftermath
Harry led Draco down to the Dungeons. But they
in the opposite direction of the Slytherin common room. Harry de-warded
a door and led Draco in a room. An apartment, rather. There was a
sitting room and a desk, and he could see into a kitchen and a bedroom.
But unlike most rooms in the Dungeons, these were filled with light.
"Whose rooms are these?" Draco asked, looking
"Yours," Harry said, grinning. "I hope you don't
them for you. I figured you'd probably want to live in the Dungeons,
but I knew you wouldn't want Severus' rooms. These were the only others
that had windows. Of course, if you'd rather live someplace else..."
Draco stopped him. "No, this is perfect! Thank
"This is where I was the past few days, getting
Hadn't been used in centuries."
HARRY had done all this? Draco had figured it had
house elves. "Why didn't you just get the house elves to do it?"
"Oh, they helped with the nastier bits. But I
know, I guess I
wanted to do it myself. Having something to do with my hands helps me
think. And I've got kind of a lot to think about."
Draco nodded. He wasn't sure why he deserved
to think he did.
"C'mon," said Harry, grabbing his hand. "Let me
bedroom, I'm proudest of that." He pulled Draco into the bedroom, which
was as full of light as the sitting room. Rich dark green velvet
curtains hung from the windows and the bed, and the wall sconces were
shaped like dragons' heads. And the bed! It was a gigantic mahogany
structure, and the woodwork was engraved with dragons like those on the
wall sconces. On the wall opposite the windows there was a dressing
table and a full-length mirror. Draco's trunk stood in the corner.
"I didn't want to unpack your stuff," Harry said
explanation. "I had Dobby magic it into the trunk, but I would have
felt weird going through it. I did put all your books on the shelves in
the sitting room, though."
Draco was astonished. How could someone who
knew him so
little, know him so well? Harry showed him the kitchen, stocked with
basic things like bread and tea and wine. The odd thing was that
everything there was the exact brand that Draco would have gotten
himself. "How'd you know what kind of tea I drank and what kind of wine
Harry shrugged. "I asked Dobby. I figured if
would know, it
would be him."
Suddenly Draco was utterly overcome that someone
go to all
this trouble--that Harry Potter would go to all this trouble--just for
him. He hugged Harry yet again, trying desperately to keep the tears in
his eyes from falling. "Thank you," he choked out. "You don't know what
this means to me."
"I think I've got some idea," Harry whispered
Draco managed to get hold of his emotions and
Harry if he'd
like to have a drink.
Harry nodded. "Finite Incantatem," he said, and a
chilled bottle of
Champagne and two glasses appeared on the coffee table. "I thought you
might do that."
Draco laughed. "And if I hadn't?"
"Then you'd have knocked it over and gotten
glass all over your freshly waxed floor and it would have served you
right for being a bad host," Harry said, grinning impishly.
Draco punched him lightly in the arm and opened
poured two glasses and handed one to Harry. Harry raised his glass. "To
new beginnings," he said quietly, emerald eyes sparkling.
Draco assented silently and they drank. He had
strong urge to
hug Harry yet again, but he managed to restrain himself. Suddenly he
remembered the problem of Dumbledore. "Harry?" Oh, Merlin, I've gone
and called him Harry....
Harry raised an eyebrow. "Hmmm?"
"There's just one thing-- Dumbledore still hasn't
to me about
the Potions position."
"Oh, I nearly forgot. I think there's a note on
Draco bolted to the desk where, sure enough,
there was a
parchment with his name on it. He opened it.
Please see me in my office as soon as you feel
"That could be anything!" Draco exclaimed.
"Look, will you just trust me?" Harry said,
hand on his
shoulder. "He certainly wouldn't have provided you with permanent
living quarters if he didn't mean for you to stay on. Besides, who the
hell else is there for the job?"
"Oh, gee, I don't know, maybe a couple of hundred
wizards with more
qualifications and training than me?"
Harry grabbed his other shoulder and pulled him
full on. His tone was stern but his eyes were almost pleading. "Trust.
Me. About this, about everything. Anyway, in this case, you're just
being thick and pessimistic."
Trust him. Well, I suppose if I'm going to trust
it might as
well be him.
"Go on, finish your Champagne and we'll go to
"Would you mind if I got a shower first? I
cleaning charms since the day of the battle."
Harry laughed. "Sure. Why don't you come meet me
"Ummm, okay. Where do you live?"
"Near Gryffindor Tower. The green door down the
the left of
the Fat Lady. The password is 'Viktor Krum has dirty knickers.'"
Draco snickered at the password, all the while
marvelling that Harry
just gave it to him like that. "Okay, I'll be up in a bit."
Harry hadn't shown him the bathroom. Draco's jaw
when he saw
it. The walls were all panelled with mirrors, and the fixtures on taps
matched the dragon heads in his bedroom. He had to wonder how much time
and money this had actually taken Harry.
He sank into the bath and promptly fell asleep.
Wizarding baths do
not go cold, so he was not awakened until three hours later by a
banging on the bathroom door.
"Draco!" Harry was shouting. "Are you in there?
Before Draco could gather his wits to respond,
"Alohomora!" and came through the door. "Oh, thank god."
"I figured you had, but I was afraid you'd
to sleep in the bath."
"Still feel up to seeing Dumbledore?"
"I'll just wait in the sitting room while you get
dressed if that's
"What, you don't want to watch?" Oops, did I say
out loud? Must
be all the potions. But something strange came over Harry's face for a
second. Great, I've offended him.
But Harry recovered his good spirits almost
Professor, I never knew you were an exhibitionist." Harry tossed him a
towel and left the bathroom.
Draco dressed slowly-- he hadn't had to do it in
while, and his
hands were still somewhat weak and uncooperative. He pondered over
Harry's reaction to his idiotic comment and what could have caused it.
Perhaps, he thought, the mere thought was just that horrific. Or maybe
he thought I was implying he's gay. Maybe he IS gay. Maybe he wanted to
watch me undress... Yeah, right Malfoy. It'll be a cold day in hell
when anyone volunteers to look at your skinny white arse.
He didn't bother about gelling his hair down, he
let it hang
around his face. A glance in the mirror told him he looked presentable.
Fortunately, the mirror said nothing. Perhaps Harry found talking
mirrors as bothersome as he did.
He went out into the sitting room where Harry met
approving nod. "You look three hundred percent better."
"As ready as I'll ever be."
Draco was too nervous to say much of anything on
Dumbledore's office. A million what-ifs ran through his head,
everything from 'Yes, well, Mr. Malfoy, I was thinking you might like
to be Headmaster,' to 'Mr. Malfoy, you're under arrest.' Just trust
Harry, he told himself. He wouldn't have got my hopes up for nothing.
But what the hell do I do if he was wrong?
Somehow they'd gone into Dumbledore's office
noticing. He gawked around him, as he did every time he came in here.
He'd only been two or three times in his entire Hogwarts career, but
Harry seemed to feel right at home. Harry took a seat on one of the
leather sofas and Fawkes the Phoenix came to rest on his shoulder.
"Where's Dumbledore?" Draco whispered.
"He'll be along. He knows we're here," Harry said
twitching a little as Fawkes nibbled affectionately on his ear.
"How come that bird likes you so much?" Draco
"He knows his own kind, I guess," said Harry
HUH? Draco didn't get the chance to question him,
chose that moment to enter. He didn't look surprised to see Harry there
with him. Draco really hated the way that man knew everything.
"Hello there, Harry, Draco. How goes the
"Almost done. There are just a few matters I'll
the Potions Master on, once we get one."
"Ah, yes, the Potions Master. Well, with any
one very shortly. Which brings me to why I asked you here, Draco. As
you may have noticed, the... unfortunate demise of Severus has left a
bit of a void on our staff. You're the only one I can think of who can
fill his shoes. Will you do it?"
Dumbledore cut him off. "Now, don't let the
you. You're welcome to stay here as long as you like even if you don't
take the position."
Faced with this, Draco wasn't sure. He wanted
desperately to try his
hand at Quidditch....
"Oh, and I've heard of your offer from Wimbourne,
that it would interfere with your teaching if you chose to accept it,"
he said with that damned twinkle in his eye.
Draco was floored. He had, of course, been
for a great
deal of his life to getting everything he wanted. After his father had
more or less disowned him and most of his worldly possessions (being
Malfoy property) seized, he had gotten used to getting nothing, ever.
Now that he was yet again faced with the opportunity to have his cake
and eat it too, he didn't quite know what to do. "Sir... I... don't
know what to say. Except... yes. And thank you so much for giving me
"No less than you deserve my dear boy."
Deserving anything had never been something Draco
"There's just one thing, sir-- I'm kind of afraid I don't have enough
practical training. I know that normally, the person to take over
Severus' position would have apprenticed with him for two or three
years, and I had only just started when the war broke out. I know it's
impossible for me to train with him now, but do you think it would be
possible to find someone willing to take me on for the summer?"
"Oh, without question! I've already arranged for
the end of it if I hired an unapprenticed Potions Master. You're to
start an intensive apprenticeship next week with Clive Kettlebottom of
Clive Kettlebottom? The man was a legend! Draco
"Of course, if you don't think his skill is
satisfactory, I'm sure
"Oh, no sir! It isn't that! He's more than
that... well... how'd you do it? The man's turned away every potential
apprentice for the last twenty years!"
A god-love-you sort of smile. "I'll teach you a
always have at least one talented, powerful person who owes you a
favour. Of course, I managed to convince him I was doing him the favour
when I told him of your exceptional talent."
EXCEPTIONAL? Draco gulped. "I'll... do my best
"I know you won't my boy, I know you won't."
During this conversation Harry had been making
noises in the
back of his throat at Fawkes, who'd been making the same sorts of
noises back. It was almost like they were... talking to each other.
Well, he can talk to snakes, why not Phoenixes too? And obviously
Dumbledore didn't find anything out of the ordinary about it. At last
the old man chased them off, saying he had a very important nap to
take. Draco was on the verge of asking what was going on with the
Phoenix, but Harry ran off, saying he had to go to Diagon Alley.
"Why don't you come up to my rooms later? I'll
called as he hurried off down the corridor.
"Ehm, sure, but Harry---" But Harry had
Draco busied himself that afternoon with
things. What had filled his small Prefect room to capacity barely took
up any room at all in his spacious new quarters. In fact, it looked
sadly bare. He promised himself that as soon as he got paid, he'd go
blow it all in Diagon Alley. He hadn't had money in a long time. He
knew his father had had some in an offshore vault somewhere that the
Ministry probably hadn't touched, but he had no idea how to get to it.
He didn't really want it anyway. It probably smelled of death. Maybe
Dumbledore would give him an advance. No, that was too much to ask.
Dumbledore had already gone far out of his way for him.
Draco tried to read, but he found that the oddly
book wasn't the same without Harry's voice reading it. Am I becoming
codependent or what? All Harry all the time is not a necessity, he told
himself. But somehow he wasn't entirely convinced.
At last it was respectably close to dinnertime,
trek up to Harry's rooms. He wondered if he should knock. No, he's
expecting me. He said the password, trying not to laugh at it, and the
door swung open. He didn't see Harry anywhere, but he saw Fawkes
perched on the back of the sofa.
He approached the bird slowly and tentatively
gave a pleased-sounding squawk.
"You like that, huh? I guess you don't hate me
all. What have
you done with Harry?"
The Phoenix gave another little squawk and
Draco no longer
felt feathers under his hand, but soft hair. He realised he was no
longer petting Fawkes--who had not been Fawkes at all--but petting
Harry grinned, still sitting on the back of the
do love it
when you scratch behind my ears," he said with a smirk.
"You're... you're an Animagus!"
"Fifty points to Slytherin for stating the
Draco relaxed, having gotten over his shock.
explains a hell
of a lot. I was wondering what Fawkes was doing here."
"Since when does Fawkes have a green lightning
marking on his
"He never let me get close enough to notice.
that's so cool!
Does anybody else know?"
"A few others. But you and Dumbledore and
the only ones
still alive who know. But now that Voldemort's gone, it'll be safe to
"Why, so you can show off to your students?"
"Naturally. Let's eat." Harry waved his wand and
went out, leaving only the light of a few candles on the dining table
in the corner. They sat down and began to eat the tomato bisque Harry
had already set out. Draco had never tasted better. "I'm not much of a
cook," Harry said apologetically.
"Don't be daft, this is great."
The rest of the meal was equally good. "Where'd
learn to cook
like this anyway? I can't even make toast."
"Slavery," Harry said with a dry laugh.
"Oh, right, the Muggles. I'm surprised you can
at a stove."
Harry shook his head. "After a while it became a
find cooking extremely soothing."
They made light conversation about Quidditch and
classes. Draco began to notice things. Like how gorgeous Harry looked
in candlelight, the flames reflecting off his irises, making his eyes
seem to dance. It must be the wine, Draco tried to tell himself. Don't
ruin this with some ridiculous crush. It isn't worth it.
Oops. Harry'd been trying to get his attention.
Sorry, I was
a million miles away."
"You looked it. Are you going to sign with the
"Yeah, I think so. What about you? I know you
exactly say yes
to England right now, but I'm sure any of those other clubs--"
But Harry was shaking his head. "Someday, maybe
England. But I need to be here right now. I need to get myself sorted
They settled into the sofa for after-dinner
fell over when he tasted the seemingly innocuous apple-scented
substance. "Christ, that's strong! What is this stuff?"
"It's called Calvados. Believe it or not, it's
don't like it?"
"No, I do, I do. It's just that I was expecting
cider rather than.... burning."
Harry laughed. "I think I did something along
lines too the
first time I had it. But I had an excuse, I was fifteen."
Draco made a face and upped his voice an octave.
look at me,
I'm the great Harry Potter, look at all the liquor I can drink, I am
sooooo manly!" he exclaimed, flailing his hands around and rolling his
Draco marvelled that they were already laughing
animosities. Old animosities that weren't even that old. Draco leaned
back sleepily into the cushions. "What's that thing in the corner
there?" he asked, yawning.
Harry grinned proudly. "THAT is a record player."
"It's a Muggle device that plays music."
"I thought those kinds of things didn't work
"They don't normally. Sirius fixed this one up so
would. Gave it
to me for Christmas."
Sirius Black, Draco knew, was Harry's Godfather.
right?" Draco asked tentatively.
"Yeah, he's fine, a little beat up, but okay.
already off on
some crazy reconnaissance mission for the Ministry. Hunting down the
last of the Death Eaters, I imagine."
"Sort of. He's an Unspeakable."
"So, will you show me what this... record player
"I don't know if you're ready for Muggle music."
"Well, it can be really really bad. But even the
nothing like Wizarding music."
"Oh, just try something already."
"Okay, but if you don't like it, tell me."
Harry went over to the record player and placed a
disc-shaped thing on it. The machine crackled to life and after a bit
of popping, music began to come out of it. Draco wasn't sure if it was
a man or a woman singing, but whoever it was had a strange, haunting
sort of voice.
"What do you think?" Harry asked anxiously.
"I think I like it. Is that a man or a woman
"She's got a weird voice. Sort of spooky."
"Yeah, that's what I like about it. Here, wait, I
you to hear
my favourite song of all time." Harry did something to the record
player and the woman started singing a different song.
'I'll be your mirror, reflect what you are, in
I'll be the wind, the rain and the sunset, the
To show that you're home....'
Draco wondered fleetingly if these were things
would say to
him, would be to him. He wanted him to, he realised.
'...I find it hard to believe you don't know the
But if you don't, let me be your eyes, a hand in
So you won't be afraid...'
"Pretty, huh?" Harry said when the song was over.
"Yeah, it really is," Draco said, trying to sort
thoughts from the little musings that were coming a thousand miles an
hour. At this point, though, no matter how much he wanted to stay
awake, Draco was fighting to keep his eyes open. "I think I should be
getting to bed," he said apologetically. "Unless you want to find me
still on this couch in the morning."
"I don't mind. You can stay if you want."
Draco suddenly thought how lovely it would be to
be in a
Harry. Damn, I really am tired. My brain's all addled. If I didn't know
better, I'd say I'd just thought about going to bed with Harry. Oh,
wait. I did. That settles it. Back to the Dungeons with me before I do
anything stupid. "No, that's okay, I think I'd like to spend my first
night out of hospital on something comfortable."
Harry laughed. "I understand that. I'll see you
guess. I'll be up here working, but you can come by whenever you want."
Draco nodded, said goodnight, and went on his
mind swam as
he walked to the Dungeons. Bed...Harry...no, bad, bad, bad idea.
Terrible idea. No crushes on your friends allowed. Friends? Friend,
singular. He didn't really have any others.
Part I: War and Aftermath
Draco slept until noon. Fortunately for his
remember the dream he had about kissing Harry. He just knew that he
felt kind of strange and lonely when he woke up. He made himself a cup
of tea and stared out the wdow until he felt awake enough to face the
He showered and went up to Harry's rooms. He was
to open the
door when he heard voices. Harry and someone female.
"Hermione, I promise you, he's nothing like he
Ahhh, Granger. "Harry, all I'm saying is be
trust him." Draco got the strange feeling that he was the subject of
"Hermione, he saved my life over his father's.
trust him as far
as I like. You're always wanting to believe the best about people, why
don't you want to now?"
"Because, he's.... he's Malfoy."
Draco felt vaguely surprised that Harry was
for him to
his best friend. But at the same time, he knew he'd have been
devastated if he hadn't. He retreated quietly down the hall and
reapproached the door, making as much noise as possible. He said the
password and the door swung open.
He'd been preparing to look surprised, but he
surprise-- he didn't see what he'd expected to at all. Harry was
shirtless and wet-haired, and Granger was still in her dressing-gown.
Had they slept together? Draco felt a sort of stab in the pit of his
stomach. Wait, why should I care? Because I do. Oh, dammit...
"Uhh, sorry, I guess I should have knocked," said
Harry laughed, shaking his head. "Oh, yes, Draco,
red-handed in the middle of our Saturday morning tryst." Hermione
laughed at this as well. Draco felt he was missing something.
"Our respective states of undress?" Harry offered
"Yeah, we don't presume much upon respectable
seven years in close quarters it's a little pointless," Granger said.
Draco could not imagine a situation in which any
girls would ever have allowed herself to be seen in her dressing-gown
with messy hair by a member of the opposite sex, but he just nodded.
"Well, are you going to sit down or not? Or have
"No, not at all," Draco muttered, taking a seat
who has no shirt on, who has no shirt on, oh good god, shut up!
Granger must have noticed him looking, because
smirked with no
other provocation. Draco blushed even more.
"Have you had breakfast? D'you want some coffee
"Sure you've had breakfast, or sure you want some
"Coffee," Draco managed not to say 'nipples.'
"Wow, you're worse than me without caffeine."
failed to correct him. Harry got up to go into the kitchen, at which
point Draco noticed that his jeans were a little too big in the waist
so that his hipbones showed. Draco quickly looked away and crossed his
legs to avoid any impending embarrassment. What is wrong with me? Oh,
crap, I'm alone with Granger. Please don't let her hex me.
"So, Harry tells me you saved his life," she said
instead of drawing
Not quite what he'd been expecting. "Sort of.
got on okay
by himself, I imagine. I just helped a little."
"Well, whatever your interpretation of it is."
"But he saved my life. Without question."
"He didn't tell me that," she said, eyes widening
"What, you expected him to brag?"
"You have a point. Look, Malfoy--"
"Draco. I don't much like hearing Malfoy right
"Draco, then. Look, I don't know all the details
what's going on
between you two, but--"
"What's to know? We're friends. He saved my arse.
makes me coffee
and plays me records. He's one of oh, three people in my life who's
ever been genuinely decent to me."
"What, you though the great Slytherin Slut had
"Yeah, I know what people said about me. But it
like that, not
"Right, sorry then. But so help me, if you EVER
anything to hurt
"I know, I know, you'll hex me into next week.
don't like me much, but believe me, I'm not the snotty rich brat I used
to be. I know you're going to be around here for a bit while McGonagall
recovers, so we may as well at least agree to be civil."
"I know I used to be horrid," he continued, "and
sorry for all
the stuff I did to you. And I don't expect you to want to be my friend,
but can't we at least not be enemies?"
"All right," she said finally. "We can try
"Have you two made your peace yet?" Harry called
"I'm getting bored in here!"
Draco gaped, but Granger rolled her eyes and
"Yeah, I want
my coffee," Draco managed to call back at last.
Harry re-entered with a tray of coffee and toast.
"So that was your plan all along? Leave us alone
talk?" Draco asked, narrowing his eyes.
"It worked, didn't it?" Harry said with a shrug.
"What if we killed each other instead?"
"I've got to be careful or you're going to start
"He does that anyway," Granger said. "So how come
gets offered coffee and I don't?"
"Because you'd have told me not to trouble
"See what I mean?" she said with a mock-pout.
By the time the coffee and toast were gone, Draco
he genuinely liked Hermione Granger. Not half as annoying as he used to
think. And damned smart. But she had this way of looking at you that
made you think she could read your thoughts, which Draco found somewhat
unnerving. Especially with the sort of thoughts he was thinking due to
the fact that Harry still had yet to put on a shirt.
Hermione left soon after, saying she had to go
wondered idly if she'd go visit McGonagall in her dressing-gown as
well. Once she was gone, Harry fell back onto the couch and heaved a
"Well, that's done," he said, putting his feet up
"The placating of Hermione. We were arguing for
showed up. She was trying to convince me it was a bad idea to be your
"Oh?" Draco tried his best to look like he didn't
Fortunately Harry was not the most observant of
Whatever you said to her seems to have worked, though."
"All I said was that I was not evil and that I
"She seemed to think I had. The Slytherin Slut
Draco said with a dry laugh.
Harry laughed outright. "She's not usually that
But I guess
it's payback for your thinking I was sleeping with her.
"Well, what was I supposed to think? You were all
shirtless and wet
and she was in her dressing-gown!"
"I guess I can see your point. But she's like my
really had any sense of propriety, though. Loads of people though we
Harry shrugged. "Kept the Gryffindor Groupies off
why should I
mind? Much easier to let them think I was taken."
"Point. What, you didn't like any of them at all?"
"Ehm... no. They're not really my type."
"What is your type? Oh, wait, I remember, that
used to go out with."
"Well you did. What was her name, Chang or
"Yeah." Harry wrinkled his nose. "What a
"Well, y'know, I thought I really liked her, we
a week, but then I realised she did about as much for me as a Playboy
Bunny for Liberace. When I told her as much she thought I was just
making excuses and never spoke to me again."
"Wait, wait--- a *what* to *whom*?"
"A Play-- wait, never mind. Muggle stuff. What I
was I figured
out I'm gay."
Oh, great. He likes guys. That makes things even
Now my damn
imagination will never leave me alone. "Oh," was all Draco could say.
Harry squirmed a little. "That doesn't... bother
Well, not how you think it does! "Yes, Harry, I
Harry looked somewhat relieved and laughed. "I
one before. I'm glad you're okay with it. Some people get all weird
when you tell them, afraid you're going to trap them in the shower or
something. Then you explain to them that you are not, in fact,
attracted to them personally, and then they get insulted like you just
called them ugly."
"That's why I tend to keep my preferences to
"I wish I'd known better. I've always thought it
important to be
straightforward about things like that, but most of the people I told
would rather not have known. Oh well. At least I figured that out
sooner rather than later."
"Yeah, and then you get the bastards who are
yeah, I have
no problem with that at all! Some of my best friends are dirty
"Tell me about it. Hey, do you want to go to
Alley in a bit?
I need to drop off my book lists before I lose them and buy some stuff
for my rooms. I imagine you probably do too."
Draco had been hoping this wasn't going to come
"Well, I would,
if it weren't for the small matter of all my money having been seized
by the Ministry," he said, his face burning. He might have gotten used
to having no money, but he'd never gotten used to having to tell other
people about it.
Harry didn't seem to notice his embarrassment.
that. Sorry. But
it's no big deal, I can pay for your stuff and you can get me back next
"Yeah, we're paid for the summer too, didn't you
"I didn't. But anyway, I couldn't ask you to do
"Why not? It's not like you spent it all
"I don't want to owe you money, I hate the idea
"Well if you're going to be like that about it,
to pay me back."
"See, wouldn't you rather owe me money?"
Well, he had a point. And there was some stuff
need. "Okay, fine, I give."
"Good." He laughed. "You know, that's the first
I've ever had
to beg anyone to let me loan them money."
"And it's the last time you're even offering me
"Whatever." Harry stood up. "Are you ready?"
"Um, yeah, *I* am. But... you might want to put a
Harry looked down at his bare chest. "Oh, right."
He went off down the hallway and came back
his head. "Right, let's go." He started for the door.
"Have you got your book list?"
"Right." He retrieved a sheet of parchment from
would I do without you?"
"Go to Diagon Alley shirtless, I imagine."
They strolled out to the edge of the grounds and
Apparated to Diagon
Alley. First stop was Flourish and Blotts so Harry could drop off his
list. Draco was mildly amazed he hadn't managed to drop it along the
way. Draco told them to just keep the old Potions list. No sense in
changing. He knew the structure of the texts well, and if they were
good enough for Severus, they were good enough for him. He toyed with
the idea of getting some new cauldrons, but in the end he decided he'd
rather just use Severus' old ones.
Next they went to ----- so Harry could pick up
his broom that Draco had never even heard of. Why am *I* the one
joining the Quidditch team?
"Don't you want to get a new broom?" Harry asked
Draco was about
to leave the shop.
Of course he did. But he knew the one he wanted
cost more than
he'd be able to pay back in three months. "Ehm, I'd rather wait and see
what the coach wants me to get," he said lamely.
"Ooooh, wait! The Firebolt II comes out next
pre-order them before they all get bought up!"
Before Draco could even protest, Harry had signed
both up for
new Firebolts. Draco nearly choked at the number Harry wrote on the
Gringotts cheque that he gave to the clerk.
"Harry," he whispered. "What are you doing? You
"You've got a birthday sometime, right? Here's
You'll have to show it when you come to pick it up. On second thought,
here, take mine too, I'll just lose it." Draco dumbly took hold of the
two pieces of parchment. Harry had just bought him a hundred-galleon
broom without blinking an eye. How much money did he *have* anyway?
Maybe there'd been some huge price on Voldemort's head. Well, at any
rate, the Wasps would probably give him some kind of stipend, and maybe
they would pay for part of the broom.
Lost in thought, Draco suddenly realised they had
Malkin's, and Harry was talking to the saleswoman about some deep green
velvet. When she went away to get the tape measure, Harry turned to him
excitedly. "I am so glad we don't have to wear black anymore!"
"Well, that's you. I'm just glad I don't have to
something that looks like a damn tent."
"Hmm, that's true. But I'd better make sure and
fireproof." He really did need to get robes. His old school ones would
be no good for teaching potions. He had somewhat outgrown them anyway.
By the time they left, Harry had ordered four
three sets of robes, one set of dress robes, a cloak, and six shirts.
He'd also managed to talk Draco into a few things, among them an
utterly frivolous smoking jacket, upon which Harry had insisted.
"Time for toys!" Harry exclaimed on leaving the
Draco to four more shops, where Harry bought himself a chess set, an
astrolabe ("I've always wanted one"), and a furry pillow that magically
warmed when you leaned on it. Draco honestly couldn't find anything he
liked very much.
"I know where I need to take you," Harry said,
before Draco knew
it they were stepping through the barrier into muggle London.
When they stepped out of the Leaky Cauldron,
"Harry, I should tell you---"
"You've never been here before?"
"It's okay, just stay close to me and you'll be
not to gawk too much, okay?"
But gawk he did nonetheless. Everything was weird
loud, and the streets were crawling with Muggles out doing their
shopping. They walked for a while until they got to an antique shop.
"Now this is more like it," Draco said when they walked in. This shop
was much more similar to what he was used to, dark and a little bit
musty, crammed with random objects organised in a fashion known only to
whomever had put them there. Draco ended up with a Chinese tapestry
with a dragon on it, a green glass oil lamp, a miniature Venus de Milo
statue (he wasn't *that* clueless about muggle art), an old set of
scales that had almost certainly belonged to a wizard, and a silk top
hat that Harry laughed at him for even wanting.
Of course, muggle shops don't deliver by owl, so
weighed down with their purchases. Once they had ducked into a deserted
alley and reduced it all so they could carry it, Draco asked how the
Muggles could manage.
Harry pointed to the street. "Muggles have cars
Cars. Draco found them frightening. Fast and
been afraid of being hit by one the whole time they'd been here. "Have
you ever been in one?"
"Sure, loads of times. Why, haven't you?"
"No, only in a carriage charmed to look like one.
get them to do what they want?"
"They... they drive them. There's a wheel inside
kind of like steering a ship, and pedals you push on to make them slow
down or speed up."
"You know how to drive one?"
"Sure, Sirius taught me a couple of years ago. I
technically earned a driving licence according to the British
government, but Sirius helped me conjure one up. Do you want to go for
Draco looked at Harry, then at the street, then
"I.... don't think I'm quite ready for that."
Harry laughed at his expression, which Draco was
undignified. "You'd think I'd just asked you to cut your legs off!"
"For all I know that might happen if I get into
things," Draco said, folding his arms.
Harry laughed again. "All right, then, not today.
I'll get you
in one yet."
Draco wasn't sure he liked the sound of that.
what now?" he
asked, trying to get off the subject of dangerous things with wheels.
"Well, what do you say to some curry before we go
"Umm... I've never had it."
"Really? Well, then, you've got to try it.
stuff. And much
safer than cars."
Harry took him on the Underground (a terrifying
experience-- it was
certainly no Hogwarts Express) to a place he said had the best curry in
town. It was, indeed, brilliant stuff, especially once he realised that
the fruity yoghurt drink Harry had made him order did a great deal to
calm the burning in his throat.
"I wish they served this stuff at Hogwarts,"
were done eating.
"I doubt that'll happen," said Harry with a
I can replicate the stuff reasonably well, not that it's all that much
trouble to get out here."
Somehow Draco really liked the idea of Harry
him, and it
had little to do with what a good cook Harry was. It gave him a warm
sort of feeling...of...domestic bliss or something like it. Domestic
bliss?! I'm going barmy.
Part I: War and Aftermath
Between his Potions work and his pre-season
Wimbourne Wasps, Draco saw precious little of Harry that summer-- or of
Hogwarts at all for that matter. All his time seemed to be spent
popping back and forth between Diagon Alley and Wimbourne and bed. And
the more time he spent not seeing Harry, the more he wanted to see
Harry, who was also incredibly busy, requesting strange creatures from
all over the world and Ministry authorisation to use them, as he had
informed Draco during one of the rare lunches they were able to spend
together. He also told him that he'd spent four days in a Ministry
tribunal with Dumbledore, arguing for the authorisation to demonstrate
the Unforgivables. Harry and Dumbledore had won out in the end, of only
by virtue of having worn them down.
They tried out their new brooms together, but
only for a
because Draco was about to be late. Some nights after practice when
Draco wasn't too exhausted, he'd go up to Harry's rooms for a little
while. Harry would fix him some tea or some whiskey and they'd talk for
a bit, but the conversations were always short and rushed. Sometimes
Hermione was there too, to provide sage commentary and occasional
motherly advice. Draco realised that she had somehow actually become
his friend, rather than just his ex-enemy-on-civil-terms. He didn't
mind-- he rather liked it, actually-- but it was odd that he hadn't
even noticed it happening.
Suddenly, it was the thirtieth of July. 'Bugger,'
'Harry's birthday is tomorrow.' He figured he should try to get at
least half the day free. And somehow he needed to find him a present.
Getting the day off was easier than he expected.
waved his arm nonchalantly and told him he deserved a day off, and
Kettlebottom was pleased at the chance to have a lie-in. All that left
was the matter of the present. Jewellery? No, too suggestive. Clothing?
No, too easy to screw up. Books? No, too.... Hermione. What did that
leave? Quidditch stuff. No, too impersonal. Bloody hell, what do you
get for a best friend you've got an unfortunate crush on? Well, maybe
jewellery was okay. As long as it wasn't a ring and at least was...
manly.... or something. Oh yeah, Harry's *such* a manly man. Draco
harrumphed in frustration and headed toward the locker room, so
absorbed in his quandary that he nearly smashed into Hermione.
"What are you doing here?" he exclaimed.
"Hello to you too," she said with a smirk. "I
till you got back to Hogwarts you'd either be asleep or with Harry,
neither of which would have done me a lot of good."
"You know it's his birthday tomorrow, don't you?"
"Course I do. I even managed to get the day off."
"Really? That's great! We're throwing him a
too big of
one, it's just going to be me and Sirius and the twins, but I was
hoping you'd be able to come."
"Sure I will. Where and when?"
"Well... we were actually hoping we could have it
your rooms. I
haven't got enough furniture yet, we can't have it at Harry's because
it's sort of supposed to be a surprise, ad it would be a little too
depressing to have it at the Burrow. I know it's a huge imposition,
"Don't worry, it's fine. Do I need to do
"No, Fred and George are ordering the cake and
taking care of
the dinner. That is, if you're willing to give me free reign of your
kitchen for the day and keep Harry occupied."
Draco wasn't sure he liked the idea of Hermione
twins running about his apartment unsupervised, but he agreed. "There's
just one thing I'll ask as payment."
Hermione looked puzzled. "What's that?"
"Help me find the man a damned birthday present."
She laughed. "Sure. What kind of a thing do you
"That's the problem. Everything I can think of
I've ruled out books and Quidditch stuff and clothes, and I've mostly
ruled out jewellery, so what does that leave?"
"Well... not a lot. What's wrong with jewellery?"
"He's not my boyfriend or anything, it seems kind
"Nobody said you had to buy him an engagement
watch or a cloak pin or something?"
"A watch! You're a genius!"
"Yeah! A watch is perfect. Didn't he tell you how
devastated he was
when his father's one was destroyed?"
"Now all I've got to do is find one.
going to be closed now."
"Not in London, it won't."
"Oh, no, you'd don't mean muggle London?"
"I don't have a clue about how things work over
and I've got
no way to get any muggle money anyway. I'll have to find a way to sneak
"You forget who you're talking to. I know exactly
over there, and I've got a muggle credit card. All you've got to do is
find the thing, and I'll do the rest. Now go get changed."
Draco changed out of his Quidditch robes and met
the locker room. They Apparated to the Leaky Cauldron (where Draco left
is rather conspicuous broom and Wimbourne Wasps duffle bag with Tom)
and went into muggle London. It wasn't quite as terrifying this time,
but Draco still hated the Underground.
He found nothing he wanted at Marks and Spencer,
which were the last two places open. "Well, I guess this was no use
after all," said Hermione as they headed back toward the Underground.
"No, it's not your fault. I wouldn't have bought
watches for Harry either."
"Wait, what's that?" Draco asked, pointing to a
shop that still
had a light on.
"Esther Conrad, Master Silversmith," Hermione
"Well, I'll be
damned. Let's see if she's open."
They went up to the shop and tried the door, but
"Damn," Draco said. They started to walk away but then they saw the
woman inside coming towards the door and unlocking it.
"No, not really, but I can't just be letting
"I suppose not," Draco said, looking around the
Every inch of
the place seemed to sparkle.
"Now what can I do for you? You obviously need
special pretty badly or you'd never have found me."
Draco exchanged a look with Hermione. Was this
witch or just
a kook? Whatever, she's the only option. "I need a watch," Draco said
finally. "Like a pocket watch. A nice one. It's for my friend's
"Oh, sure, I've got loads of watches, diaries."
pulled out a
velvet-lined drawer filled with nothing but pocket watches. One in
particular caught his eye. Its cover was engraved with a dragon that
had emeralds for eyes.
"This is perfect," he said to Hermione.
"How much is this one?" Draco asked the strange
"How much is that in Galleons?" he whispered to
"Would you like it engraved?"
"Ummm, sure. Just his name and tomorrow's date
Birthday from Draco.'"
"Can do. What's his name?"
"Well.... which do you think sounds better, just
Harold James Potter?"
The silversmith eyed him strangely. "I'd go with
myself. Is that Draco with a 'c'?"
The engraving took all of a minute and a half. At
afraid she'd made a mess of it, but when he looked at it, the inside of
the cover was engraved with some of the most ornate lettering he'd ever
seen. It shouldn't have been possible.
"Do you take credit cards?" Hermione asked once
watch was boxed
up and ready."
"No, I don't. I'm afraid that in your case, I
nor credit nor pounds nor Galleons."
Draco's mouth dropped open, but Hermione just
known all along.
"I owe my life to Harry Potter," she continued.
like to give him a present."
"Esther Conrad, Master Silversmith, just like the
says. But I
left the witch bit off. There are occasionally Muggles who have need of
"How did Harry save your life?" Hermione asked.
"Well, he didn't directly," the old woman
"But the night
he killed Voldemort the first time, I was next on the list."
"Oh," was all Draco could say.
"At least let us pay you what it cost you,"
She laughed. "I bought it for two quid off some
old Turk who
didn't know what he had."
"Look, I came here to *buy* Harry a birthday
beginning to get impatient. "One from me. Can't you just send him a
card or something?"
She sighed. "I suppose you have a point. All
give me ten Galleons for the watch, and I'll give Mr. Potter my own
present." She rummaged about for a minute and produced a flask that
matched the watch. She polished it quickly and engraved it simply
Draco was not sorry to get out of the shop. "That
witch," he said once they were safely round the corner.
"I thought she was sweet," Hermione protested.
"She gave me the creeps, personally. I'm going to
those things for curses before I give them to Harry."
"Hermione, don't you think it's just a *little*
witch in the midst of muggle London when everything else is closed
would have exactly the thing I was looking for?"
"Okay, yeah, I guess that is a little weird,
"I could never forgive myself if something
of something I did. There are still Death Eaters out there. And they're
hidden better than ever."
Hermione sighed. "I guess you're right. Why don't
take this stuff
to Dumbledore when we get back? If this Esther Conrad is anyone bad, he
probably knows her name."
They returned to Hogwarts and went straight up to
office. They showed him the flask and the watch and told him the
strange story of Esther Conrad.
As soon as Draco had said her name, Dumbledore
"Esther Conrad is quite insane," he said. "But she's also quite
harmless. An old friend of mine, in fact. Founder of the official Harry
"There's a Harry Potter Fanclub?" Draco asked,
"Well, I guess that settles that," said Hermione.
"Wait a bit, we haven't checked them for curses."
"Draco, Dumbledore just told us she was harmless?"
"Yeah, but what about the 'crazy old Turk' she
Hermione sighed one of her long-suffering sighs.
you mind doing a few detection spells?"
"Not at all." Dumbledore mumbled a few things
question and then leaned his ear down next to them. "The only spell on
these is a protection charm," he said, sitting up.
"Who do you think put it on?"
"Ask them yourself, my dear boy."
"The detection spell I used gives the object the
to respond to
the caster's questions. Just say 'dico' and ask it what you want to
Draco waved his wand over the flask and the
"Dico," he said,
"Who put the protection charm on you?"
"Isadora Pinehurst," they whispered in unison.
"Who's Isadora Pinehurst?" Draco asked, confused.
Dumbledore closed his eyes and thought for a
very much mistaken, Isadora Pinehurst married Eustace Potter in 1862.
She would be James Potter's great grandmother. These things probably
belonged to Eustace. He was somewhat famous in his day for having saved
his village from a dragon." Dumbledore stated all this as though it
were just another Goblin rebellion.
Things were just getting weirder and weirder.
earth did I
just randomly happen upon something that belonged to Harry's great
Dumbledore got that bloody twinkle in his eye.
wait to be found by the right person," he said simply.
They left Dumbledore's office soon after.
to bed, but
Draco wanted to go se Harry. He waited until he knew Hermione had gone
into her rooms and went to Harry's door. He said the password and
entered quietly, in case he was asleep.
Harry wasn't asleep, not quite. He was lying on
book in his lap. "Draco? 'Zat you?" he muttered.
"No, it's Queen Elizabeth," Draco said,
Harry opened his eyes a little more. "Good
Draco couldn't help but notice how lovely Harry
with his eyes
half-closed and his hair hanging in his face.
"How was practice?" Harry asked, sitting up
Draco couldn't resist pushing Harry's hair out of
eyes. "It was
all right," he said softly, momentarily mesmerised by the emerald-green
eyes looking up at him. "I've managed to get tomorrow off for your
"Lovely. You gonna bring me breakfast in bed?"
"If you want. Harry, are you drunk?"
"Maybe a little. Charlie was here for a bit."
"He wanted to come say hi because he has to go
tomorrow. He brought me this insane whiskey. Lovely man, Charlie."
Draco couldn't help but feel a little jealous.
each other?" he finally asked.
"No! Of course not! Charlie's like my brother.
is now, any
way. Okay, so he kissed me a few times. But that was like three years
Three years ago. Where was I three years ago? Oh,
evil. The model Death Eater kid. Begging my father to initiate me.
Stupid git I was. I could have been kissing Harry Potter instead. Wait,
I don't want to kiss Harry. Okay, fine, so I do. No, I don't. Oh,
Harry put his arms around Draco's shoulders and
him down next
to him on the couch. "So what are you bringing me for breakfast?"
This closeness was going to kill him. He pulled
half sat up. "Let's see... burnt toast, runny eggs, and the worst
coffee you've ever had in your life."
Harry laughed. "Mmm, sounds divine. Long as I
to cook it
"I'll burn the toast extra just for you. And then
take you for
"Ahhh, has Hermione given you orders to keep me
"Why, no, what made you think that?"
"Knowing Hermione. On my sixteenth birthday she
me in a
closet for two hours so she and Ron could decorate the Gryffindor
"Ah, no. No closets. I just thought we could hang
since I never
see you anymore." Draco knew he was doing a terrible job of lying, but
if Harry noticed, he had the grace not to let on.
"I think I'd like that. Are you going to take me
"Ummm... if you want." Well, Harry was definitely
convinced Harry to go to bed and then returned to
his own rooms. Oh, how had he been railroaded into this breakfast
business? He couldn't cook! Well, he'd just have to try. He toyed with
the idea of getting one of the house-elves to make something, but in
the end he decided that knowing Harry, he'd probably prefer for Draco
to at least try. He figured he'd probably better get up early so he'd
have time to screw up once or twice. Or ten times. He set his alarm for
seven o'clock and passed out.
Part I: War
After a shower and cornflakes the next morning,
set to work. All
right. Eggs. This shouldn't be too hard, right? Stove on, yes. Frying
pan on said stove, check. Right. Now all I need is an egg. He
cracked the egg into the pan. Instantly itegan to sizzle and the white
started to bubble. Shit! What do I do now? Spatula! I need a
He had to open four drawers before he finally found one. But the egg
was a lost cause by that time. He sighed and cleaned away the ex-egg
with a spell. Spell! There were loads of cooking spells!
Unfortunately, he didn't know any, nor did he own any books that
contained any. Who'd know one? Probably Harry. That wouldn't
do. He'd just have to do this the Muggle way. Muggles! Hermione!
He raced to the fireplace and called her up.
A rather annoyed-looking Hermione appeared in the
flames. "This had
better be good."
Hermione muttered something that sounded vaguely
her eyes. "You woke me up for an egg?
"I'm trying to cook Harry breakfast."
She gave him a strange sort of smirk. "Okay, have
got a frying
"That, I have." Draco took furious notes while
"Is there anything else?"
"Some Potions Master you are."
Draco returned to the kitchen with his notes. All
right. Pan on
stove. Heat 3/4 up. Butter in pan, mash around with spatula. Butter
melted, time for eggs. One egg, two eggs. Oh, bugger. Better get that
bit of shell out of there. Careful.... almost got it.... OW! "Bloody
fucking hell!" Draco had just fried his index finger. "Sano." Okay,
all better. Ooooh, magic. Duh. "Wingardium Leviosa." The offending
bit of eggshell levitated above the frying pan and Draco grabbed it.
Done and done. Whites getting solid, break yolks with spatula. Perfect.
Yolks getting solid, flip eggs. "Woo!" Draco let out a cry of
triumph. He was prodigiously proud of himself. Cover pan, turn heat
way down to keep warm. Oh yeah, I am the chef, I am the chef. He
was very glad there was no one there to see his rather undignified egg
Rats. Time for toast. Well, the toaster should
Draco ruined four slices of bread before he discovered the little knob
that made it toast less darkly. "I am....the Toast-Master!" I
really shouldn't get up this early.
The coffee machine was the easy part. It was just
Mandrake roots. Except with coffee. And without all the nasty squealing
in the beginning.
He put it all on a tray with some butter and jam
of strawberries. He conjured up a rose for decoration and went upstairs
to Harry's rooms. He crept into the bedroom, where he found Harry still
sleeping. He almost hated to wake him. And he sort of wished he had a
camera. Harry was lying on his back, the blankets down around his
waist, providing a view of his finely muscled chest. His hair was
spread out over the pillow. It was almost... art. Oh, stop staring.
Draco knelt down on the bed. "Rise and shine,
Harry stirred and opened his eyes. "What the..."
"Breakfast is served, milord."
Harry blinked a few times and then laughed. "Good
didn't really mean you had to bring me breakfast in bed!"
"Well, I did. So sit up and eat."
Harry looked at the clock. "Merlin, what are you
up this early?"
Draco blushed. "I wanted to be sure I'd have time
Harry sat up and took a sip of the coffee. "Well,
got the coffee
right anyway. It's really good."
"That was the easy part. I'm honestly not so sure
Harry took a tentative bite. "Hey, these are
good! Liar, I
thought you said you couldn't cook!"
"I can't," he said sheepishly. "I had to Floo
to get her to
tell me how to do it."
"I'm sure she was thrilled."
Harry picked up a strawberry and stuck it in
bit into it and the juice dribbled down his chin. Harry wiped it away
with his thumb. What is he doing to me? Harry Potter is feeding me
strawberries. Going to lose mind. Okay, so I've got a little crush, so
what? It'll go away, right? Right?
Harry ate every crumb and gave Draco a sticky
the cheek when
he was done. Draco felt his face go bright red. "What was that for?"
"For making me breakfast. And for the purpose of
strawberry jam on your face."
Draco wiped away the stickiness on his face.
You slob!" Okay,
must not read too much into this kiss thing. He does that to Hermione
all the time. So great, what does that mean? He sees me as a sister?
"Draco, there's just one thing."
"Please don't make me go to the zoo."
Draco laughed. "I wouldn't even subject myself to
for you. I
can't stand the smell of those places."
"Good. I kind of have traumatic zoo memories."
Draco laughed, remembering Harry's story of
python on his cousin and being soundly thrashed afterwards. "So what do
you want to do then? I am at your beck and call for the rest of the
"Well.... first I think I'll take a shower. Then
to go get my
eyebrow pierced. Afterwards, to dull the pain, I want to go to Diagon
Alley and eat obscene amounts of ice cream. Then I want to go to
Buckingham Palace and scare the tourists, and then I want a pint of
porter and an enormous basket of chips drenched with salt and vinegar.
And then back here for one-on-one Quidditch and a nap in the sun. How's
"Well, you've certainly got it planned out. Why
"It's sort of a Muggle rite of passage."
"You want a Muggle piercing?"
"Yup. You'll be there to hold my hand, right?"
Draco rolled his eyes. "He can stand up to
without blinking and he wants me to hold his hand for a little poke in
"Hey, I'd like to see you try it."
"Fine, I will. I'll get one too. Whoever flinches
most has to
grade the other's Hufflepuff essays for a month."
"You're a cruel man. But you've got a deal."
Technically speaking, Draco lost the bet. But due
he got both his nipples pierced instead of just his eyebrow, Harry
reduced his Hufflepuff-grading sentence to two weeks.
I've gone insane. Why did I do that? I mean,
this shirt is killing me.
"Why are you all hunched over like that?" Harry
on their way to Florean Fortescue's.
"Shirt... nipples... bad... ow," he muttered
For a second Harry looked as though he were
heading back to the tattoo parlour. Then he shook his head. "Nah."
"Can't you give me a pain-killing spell or
"You'll have to grade the papers for three weeks."
"Fine, fine, just make it stop!"
Harry applied the spell and Draco breathed a sigh
didn't heal them, though. You'll still have to do all the cleaning and
stuff. I'm not letting you off that easily."
Draco nodded feebly, just glad that the pain was
Over ice cream they filled one another in on what
the past two months. There wasn't a whole lot, mostly just work and
errands, but it made Draco moronically happy that Harry even cared
about such mundane details of his life. In a lull in the conversation
they overheard a table of students talking. They listened with bemused
"Who's teaching DADA this year? I heard Professor
"No, she's too young to retire!"
"Then why are all the books changed, huh?"
"Hey, she's got a point. My brother told me the
"I heard it's going to be Harry Potter."
"No way! He's going to play Quidditch for
"Oh, yeah, and the Seeker they signed last week
"Professor Figg was boring anyway."
"Hey, she was the closest thing we had to a
"Not anymore! My brother said the new Care of
professor is part-Veela!"
Draco couldn't help but wonder who the brother in
question was. He
obviously must have at least gone to Hogwarts recently. The students'
conversation kept going, speculating on professors and school rumours.
Harry snickered. "D'you think I ought to go tell them?"
"Nah, let 'em speculate. By the end of the day
convinced themselves that you were the real head of the Death Eaters
and you're going to kill them all, and meanwhile I'm a vampire."
They went to the palace, they heckled the
frightfully greasy chips that even Draco had to admit were excellent.
It was the most fun he'd had in ages. "All right, you ready for
Quidditch?" Harry asked as they neared the castle.
Honestly, Draco was knackered, but he didn't want
Harry. "Prepare to die, Potter," he said, rallying what little energy
he had left.
They summoned their brooms and headed to the
sure you've got loads of slick new moves, Mr. Professional," Harry
said, poking him in the ribs.
"No? What do you practice all day, then?"
Draco blushed. He'd sort have been hoping Harry
about this. "I've actually been perfecting that crazy feint you used on
me at last year's Quidditch final."
Harry laughed. "The one that had you in hospital
week of the holiday?"
"How'd you come up with that anyway?"
"It was actually a complete accident. I was
Feint one day, but there was a bludger coming at me, so instead of just
stopping, I had to shoot up vertically to escape with my head. I
thought it was pretty cool, so I started working on it, diving toward
the bludger on purpose and pulling up just in time. Pity I can't use it
on you anymore."
"Pity indeed. I really would have loved to crack
"I'm kind of jealous; you're going to make my
"Nah, everyone on the team knows I got it from
doubt I'll be famous."
They decided to have a contest for the Snitch,
thrown in for entertainment. Harry won, due to the fact that as they
were both racing for it, he reached over and tickled Draco.
"That's gotta be a foul!" Draco exclaimed once
Harry shrugged. "Hey, if you can get access to
complete list and
it's on there, I'll give you a rematch."
Draco stuck out his tongue. Only officially
access to that list, and even then they weren't allowed to give it out
to people. It was a long-standing policy, created to keep people from
'getting ideas,' according to the WQF.
Harry flopped down on the ground. "Nap time!" he
"Out here? We're going to get sunburned as all
"So the pain in my nipples is enough,
Harry laughed. "Nobody ever told you about
"Oh. Well, in the case of sunburn, it turns it
tan in the
space in a couple of minutes."
"I don't tan, I just freckle."
What was that supposed to mean? "Believe me, you
like them on
"How do I know?" Harry asked with an impish grin.
you're going to be vain about it, Impervius," he said, waving his wand.
"There, you're safely pale as a ghost for a good week. Now come on." He
stripped off his shirt ("can't be getting tan lines"-- why, oh why did
he have to do that?) and pulled Draco down on the ground next to him.
Despite Harry's shirtlessness, Draco managed to fall asleep due to
When he woke up he found that he had no feeling
because Harry was lying on it. He tried to move it, which woke Harry up.
"Hi," he muttered with a sleepy grin.
"Hi yourself. Can I have my arm back?"
"Nope, mine," Harry said, rolling over and
They wrestled a bit for the ownership of Draco's
around in the grass and tickling each other. Draco prayed to every
deity and ancestor he could think of that Harry wouldn't notice the
horrible hard-on all the physical contact was giving him. It either
worked or Harry was just being polite, because he didn't say anything,
and he eventually granted Draco possession of his arm.
"What time is it, anyway?" Draco asked once they
Harry looked at the sky. "About five, I'd say."
"You can tell that just by looking?"
"Sure, didn't you ever pay attention in
"Oh. Well, we're filthy. Hit the showers?"
"Good idea." Draco tried not to think too much
Harry-shower combination. They hiked back up to the castle. "Got any
big plans later?" Draco asked, trying to sound as casual as possible.
"Why don't you come up to my room around
"More eggs?" Harry asked, laughing.
"No, I'll order something."
Draco entered his living room to find it filled
Hermione hadn't told him they were coming, he'd probably have hexed
them on the spot. Well, 'filled with Weasleys' was overstating it;
there were only two of them. Fred and George, he knew, but he wasn't
sure which of them was whom.
"Wow, he didn't hex us," said one of them.
"I told you, Hermione said he's all right," said
"And I knew you were coming," Draco added.
you's Fred and which is George?"
"I'm Fred," said the one in the grey shirt.
"And I'm George," said the one in the.... grey
"I'll... try to keep that straight."
"It's okay, no one else much can. Other than
really sure how he does it."
"Okay, then. Where's Hermione anyway?"
"She's just gone to the baker's. Well, I guess
hours ago. Hopefully she'll come back."
"We won't know what to do with the roast
"Hmmm, I wouldn't either; I've only just mastered
Is that my
whiskey you're drinking?"
"Hermione said you wouldn't mind."
"I don't." And the funny thing was, he really
mind. "Do you
guys want anything else?"
"Nah, we already ate all your jelly beans."
"I haven't got any jelly beans."
"No, seriously, I never had any to begin with.
"In the press over the fridge."
"Oh. I've never looked in there."
"Well, there aren't any jelly beans there."
"There are some chocolate frogs, though, if you
"Umm, no thanks." Wait! They're offering me
"Anyway, how come you didn't know you had a press
"Oh, I didn't have anything to do with stocking
did all that while I was still in hospital."
"Yeah, it was. So what'd you guys get Harry,
horrible time finding something."
"Oh, some new jokes, some Muggle beer from
Czechoslovakia, a t-shirt
that says 'World's Greatest Teacher'--"
"--And some stuff that's probably going to make
cry," the other
"Ron's photo album from school."
"And a jumper our mum made for him."
"We thought he should have them."
"He may not cry." Draco had never seen Harry cry.
"Just not where you can see him do it."
"You sure you don't want a chocolate frog?"
"Umm, no, I've got to get a shower." Draco
his living room. Those two were absolutely mad. Not only did they look
alike, but they also seemed to be sharing the same
strangely-functioning brain. Hopefully Hermione would be back when he
When Draco emerged twenty minutes later, Hermione
through the door. "Hi, sorry it took me so long! There was a queue from
hell at the baker's, and when I finally got up to the counter, it took
them ages to find the right 'Happy Birthday Harry' cake. Seems
most of Hogsmeade is celebrating his birthday. And once the other
people there realised I was actually getting a cake for Harry
Potter, half of them tried to give me their cakes and the other half
wanted to come to the party. I barely escaped with my life."
"Wow, the man's a legend," said one of the twins.
"Ooh, that's new and interesting," said the other.
Hermione finally looked at Draco. "Hey, you look
He blushed slightly. "Thanks." He had spent a
agonising over what to wear. The outfit wasn't really anything special,
just a deep blue shirt and black slacks, but somehow that shade of blue
looked better on him than just about any other colour.
"Fred-or-George, can you come help me with the
"Does help mean eat?" asked one of them, popping
"No, help means help. One of you needs to hold
while I turn
it, I'm not going to try to levitate them both."
One of the twins followed her into the kitchen.
is coming, right?" asked the remaining one.
"Yeah, Hermione told me. Don't worry, I've
against the man, I hardly know him."
"Well.... good, then." Clearly he'd been prepared
some sort of
Hermione and the other twin came back into the
threw herself onto a chair with a sigh. "I'm beat! That stupid queue
took the last of it out of me. Where's that whiskey, anyway?"
Draco could only laugh. He suddenly realised that
only a year
ago, he'd have been throwing a fit because someone had touched his
stuff without asking. But now.... well, honestly he was just happy that
they were there, even as odd as the twins were. He was already
definitely friends with Hermione. Maybe soon he could add Fred and
George to that list as well.
The door burst open and in walked Sirius Black,
as a Turk and
carrying two large boxes. Hermione immediately ran and hugged him, and
Fred and George did too. Draco just kind of stood there, wondering how
the hell he'd gotten in without the password.
Sirius came up to him and shook his hand. "Good
Draco," he said.
"Yeah...." Draco said, "...How did you....?"
Sirius laughed. "I've known the password to this
for years. I
can't believe you haven't changed it."
"Oh, well, Harry's the one who set the wards."
He laughed even harder. "No he didn't! He just
on there. Let me ask you this-- did you ever give Hermione the password
to get in here?"
Draco thought about that for a moment. "No, I
Sirius was still laughing. "I do believe you've
"HUH?" He was definitely missing something
and the twins started laughing too.
Sirius sat him down and told him the story of a
of his friends, of a map confiscated by Filch and liberated by Fred and
George, and the bequeathed to Harry.
"Wow." Draco suddenly felt that he had missed out
lot of fun in
school during all the time he'd devoted to being evil.
"Probably if you're extra-nice, Harry'll let you
"Extra-nice? I already have to grade his bloody
for three weeks."
Sirius choked on his whiskey, laughing. "What bet
OOPS. "Umm.... a piercing bet."
"Ah, you couldn't make yourself do it and he
"No, I did it. But I flinched more."
"Wait, what did you--- never mind, I don't want
cried, covering her face with her hands.
"Just my nipples, Miss Mind-in-the-Gutter."
"Cool!" said one of the twins.
"Can we see?" asked the other.
Draco sighed and unbuttoned his shirt to show
cringed, Fred and Gorge exclaimed "wicked!" and Sirius nodded
"What did Harry get pierced?" Sirius asked.
"You'll have to wait and see."
"So that means it's visible?" asked Hermione.
"I like your style," Sirius said.
"When's Harry coming?" Hermione seemed eager to
away from poking bits of metal into one's body.
"I told him around dinnertime, so he ought to be
"Oh, good. The food's almost ready. Sirius, do
"Not at all. You don't mind if I enlarge it,
"No, go ahead. We won't all fit otherwise."
Sirius enlarged the table and began to set it,
set about piling up the presents in the chair where Draco had already
put his and the weird lady's.
"Draco, where's your good china?" Hermione called
GOOD china? "I don't think I've got any," Draco
going into the
"You didn't think you had any jelly beans either."
"I don't have any jelly beans."
Hermione rolled her eyes. "I knew it was a bad
alone with those two. Believe me, you have good china somewhere. Now
help me find it." At last they unearthed it, nearly hidden behind some
tea-towels. "Leave it to Harry to buy a set of Wedgwood and throw it in
with the linens," she grumbled, pulling things out and handing them to
"How'd you know I had this?" Draco asked.
"Because Harry thinks of things like that.
was with him
when he bought it. Now go take this stuff to Sirius so I can make the
Finally everything was done that could be done
there was to
do was wait. Hermione made them put out the lights and get behind the
couch. "He'll come in, shout to see if anyone's home, then he'll turn
the lights on. As soon as he says Lumos, we all have to pop up and
shout Happy Birthday."
Draco groaned at the silliness of it. "And what
nobody's here and pisses off again directly?"
"I don't see why we all have to hide, I'm sure he
anyway. Ow, Fred, you're on my foot!"
"Oh, whatever, just get off my foot!"
The door opened. "Draco, I'm here!" Harry
That was their cue. They all got up, but Fred and
over the back of the couch, causing Sirius to fall down again. "Happy
birthday!" they all shouted, with Sirius grumbling and cursing and
dusting himself off.
"Draco Malfoy, you bloody---" Harry's
the appearance of his godfather.
"Sirius! I thought you couldn't make it back!"
"So I lied," said the leather-clad man with a
Harry ran over and hugged him for much longer
strictly necessary. "You look great, really great," Sirius said with
his hands on Harry's shoulders.
"So do you," Harry said, hugging him again.
Draco looked over at Hermione and the twins, who
seem to find
this extraordinary or troublesome in the least. If Draco hadn't known
better, he'd have thought they were a pair of lovers who hadn't seen
one another in ages. But he knew better... didn't he? Well, they
weren't kissing... so maybe they're secret lovers.... oh, shut up.
Harry gave Hermione a kiss on the cheek and
he got to Draco. "And you, you bloody liar," he said, grinning.
"What, you don't mean you actually believed me?"
Harry shrugged. "Not really, no." He wrapped his
and hugged him too, though not as long as he'd hugged Sirius, Draco
noticed with a twinge of jealousy. Oh, come on, the man just saw me
this afternoon. So? Grrrr.
"Hey, nice piercing!" exclaimed one of the twins
"How'd you do that?" Draco exclaimed.
"No, tell them apart like that!"
"Oh, that. Their eyebrows are a little different."
"You've got to be kidding." Draco looked from one
to the other.
He couldn't see any difference.
"Hey, now that I think about it, that's probably
"I burned mine almost entirely off in the third year and Fred didn't. I
guess they grew back a little funny."
Hermione was looking at Harry and shaking her
"I'm just glad it's on your face," she said,
eyebrow. "Draco had me afraid."
"Oh, did he?" Harry said, glaring at Draco. "I
you know what
he's got then."
"Yes, I was... favoured with that... lovely
Harry laughed. "So, what have you people got
"Well, what do you want first, presents or
"Hermione, you're a terrible muggle! You of all
that the presents come with the cake and ice cream."
"Right, right. Well, aperitifs then. I take it
Hermione's question was met by five affirmative
responses. They had
whiskey and little sausage things, then a long dinner with loads of
wine. Through it all, Draco couldn't stave off pangs of annoyance and
jealousy. He couldn't help it, try as he might to remain neutral,
because Harry and Sirius kept whispering things to one another and
giggling. In the cake-and-presents phase of things, Draco tried to sit
next to Harry, but Sirius was quicker. Calm down, Draco, you bloody
idiot, it doesn't matter. Yes, it does. You know it does.
Harry opened Hermione's present first. It was an
Hogwarts: A History focussing on the history of Defence Against the
Dark Arts. Harry teased her thoroughly, but Draco could see that he
really liked it. Next were Fred and George's non-sentimental gifts, and
then Sirius', which turned out to be a spectacular pair of motorcycle
boots and a leather jacket. Harry let out an odd sort of squeal and
Sirius got a kiss, just on the cheek, but it was nearly enough to put
Draco over the edge. Finally, it was his turn. He sat on the arm of the
couch next to Harry and made him open the wacky witch's present first,
telling him about the strange encounter.
"And this actually is from me," he said, handing
Harry opened it, a strange look crossing his face
he saw it.
"Thank you, it's beautiful," he said.
"I couldn't replace your father's, I know, but
turns out to
have belonged to one Eustace Potter, who would have been your
"Oh, my god." He hugged Draco tightly. No kiss,
noticed ruefully. "How did you ever find this?"
"I didn't actually know till I got back here. We
Dumbledore to check for curses because the witch was so bizarre. All
that's on them is a protection charm, put on by Isadora Pinehurst, who
was Eustace Potter's wife. I figure she got him this stuff after he
saved their village from the dragon."
"Weird coincidence," said one of the twins.
Harry shrugged, still wearing the same odd
just wait to be found by the right person."
"That's what Dumbledore said!" Draco exclaimed.
going to have
to keep the two of you separated."
"There's still two more," said (perhaps) Fred.
"From you guys?" asked Harry.
"Not... exactly. I think you'll understand when
First Harry opened the package with the jumper.
open. "Is this...?"
One of the twins nodded. "Mum had already made
"It was like she.... knew," said the other, his
Harry hugged the twins, eyes shining. "Thank
above a whisper. He opened the photo album and leafed through it with a
faraway smile. "Guys, I can't take this. You should keep it."
The twins shook their heads in an eerily
we decided you should have it. We've got all the family albums and
"This is the part of Ron's life you shared in a
Harry hugged them both again. "I don't know how
Soon Hermione excused herself, yawning, and the
after. Draco talked to Harry and Sirius for ages, swapping war stories
and listening to Sirius talk about some of the more ridiculous stuff
he'd encountered in his work as an Unspeakable. What of it he could
talk about anyway. Draco fought to stay awake, but eventually he fell
asleep in his chair.
Voices woke him. For a moment he didn't know
was, but then
he realised he was in his sitting room and that the voices belonged to
Harry and Sirius, who must have fallen asleep on the couch. They didn't
seem to know they'd woken him. What Draco saw made his heart stop. The
two of them were entwined on the couch like lovers, arms and legs in a
nondescript tangle, talking softly and laughing. Harry occasionally
reached up to play with Sirius' hair. So they are lovers.
If that doesn't beat all.
Draco couldn't stop the horrible sick feeling in the pit of his stomach
or the thoughts running through his head. And he couldn't watch
anymore. He sprang up and ran to the bathroom. He sat on the side of
the bathtub for ages, head in his hands. Why didn't Harry ever say
anything about this? Why didn't he want me to know? Because I'd think
he was a freak for sleeping with his godfather? Because he just didn't
trust me with it? Because he knew I have a horrible crush on him and
thought I'd be jealous? None of these theories was a very pleasing
answer. And nothing could make Draco believe that perhaps his eyes had
Someone was knocking at the door. "Draco? You
there?" It was
"Yeah, I'm fine, I'm just going to have a bath,"
answer back, though his voice trembled.
"Okay, just don't fall asleep."
Draco got into the tub and briefly contemplated
but decided he'd probably just screw that up too. What had he done to
keep Harry from trusting him? He wracked his brain but could come up
with nothing. At length he came out of the bath. Sirius was gone, but
Harry was still there.
"Hey," he said, "You are okay? You look kind of
Draco just shook his head. "Want some coffee?" he
gestured to a cup.
Draco just sat down and picked it up, trying in
hand from trembling.
"Hey," Harry said, putting a hand on his
the matter? Did you just drink too much or is there something else
"Maybe," Draco managed to say. "Can I ask you a
"Are you... are you and Sirius...."
Harry started laughing. Laughing. Why is he
"Merlin, no! What made you think that?"
"This morning. I saw you and--"
"You'd have me sleeping with the whole world! No,
that. I'd have told you ages ago."
"But you were all over each other."
"In a strictly nonsexual fashion. Imagine two
who, for a good
portion of their lives, have had very little affection from anyone."
Draco began to feel sort of stupid. "We're only like that because it's
nice, not because we're going to jump each other. It was probably added
to by the fact that Sirius spends a lot of time as a large cuddly dog."
"So you were angry because you thought we were
I didn't trust you enough to tell you?"
"Yeah, pretty much." He didn't add the other
angry even, just hurt. I'm sorry, I feel a right berk now."
Harry surprised the hell out of him, sliding his
shoulders and pulling him partway into his lap. "Listen, I'm sorry if I
hurt you or scared you. But I'll tell you this once and you've got to
remember it. I trust you with my life. And there's nothing I won't tell
you if knowing it won't get you killed. Okay?"
"Okay," Draco muttered, revelling in the feeling
being held by
They stayed that way for a long time. Draco
staying like that all day, but unfortunately he had to go see
"Hey, just one more week," Harry reminded him as
out to the edge of the grounds. "Then you get to have pre-term staff
"Hurrah," Draco deadpanned.
And that week
prodigiously. Draco started going to
Kettlebottom's earlier in the mornings in order to finish everything
the man wanted to cover. Which meant he was more tired than ever and
saw even less of Harry. But finally it was Friday, and Kettlebottom
presented him with his shiny apprenticeship certificate and sent him on
his way, telling him to make sure to give his thanks to Dumbledore for
sending him such an apt student, and to owl him if there were ever
anything he could do for Draco. I guess that means he owes me a
of part 1~~
Part II: Fall and Falling
The start of term arrived more quickly than Draco
wanted, but on
the first of September he found himself seated between Fleur Delacour
and Harry at the High Table, watching the Sorting Ceremony. It was
going to be strange, teaching people who'd known him as a student only
last term. At least none of the graduates he knew were old enough to
have children at Hogwarts yet. Tht just would have been too weird.
As it was, the dead silence that fell over the room when Dumbledore
announced the new Potions professor was deafening, and the whispers
that followed were worse still. Of course, Harry got a standing
ovation, which Draco hardly found surprising, despite the fact that it
Full of food and sleepy, they went up to Harry's rooms together
after the feast. Harry put on a record (someone called the Rolling
Stones) and gave him a glass of whiskey.
"Merlin, I hope every night isn't like this,"
into the couch.
"We'll get used to it. But I think Fleur has a
crush on you,"
Harry said with a lopsided grin.
Fleur? She was pretty, but... well, she wasn't Harry. "What makes you
"Well, maybe the way she hardly took her eyes off
all night. You
could have loads of beautiful blond children," Harry taunted.
"Ugh, no thank you! The last thing I want is
"So I shouldn't try to set you up with her,
Is he blind? "There is quite possibly
"I thought you liked women too."
"I do, at times, just not that particular one."
"What, the accent doesn't turn you on? Ohhh,
are zee mozt
bee-utiful man I have aye-ver meet!" he crooned in a terribly
exaggerated accent, complete with googoo eyes.
Draco tossed a pillow at him. "Gah, stop!"
Harry climbed onto his lap, holding him down with the pillow.
"Ohhh, nooo, you do not weesh to cause me to yelling zee fraynch
obsceenities in ake-stasy?"
Well, if you actually meant that... Draco freed his
arms and a
great bout of tickling and shouting ensued. They stopped when they
noticed an annoyed-looking Hermione standing in the doorway.
"You two are not setting a very good
students," she said sternly. "How am I supposed to get them to quiet
down when their professors are screaming like banshees in the next
They promised to quiet down and Hermione left. Draco suddenly
realised that Harry was lying on top of him. Harry realised it too, but
he didn't jump up in horror. "Oh, sorry, I'm squashing you," he said
and rolled over so that he was next to Draco. "Mmm, you're nice and
And you are driving me crazy. Maybe he's making a point
to do this
since I was jealous of Sirius.
They fell asleep like that for a while. It was nearly three when Draco
finally stumbled back to his own apartment and fell into bed. He had a
terrible dream about teaching Potions in his underwear.
When the morning came, he was too nervous to go down to breakfast.
Not that he could have eaten. He fixed himself a cup of tea and
painstakingly readied himself for the day. No need to be nervous,
Malfoy. You know what you're doing. You know what they're talking
about. You're in charge. But
he really didn't feel like he was in charge of anything. After he had
redone his hair six times, he could delay it no longer. It was time to
His first class was the Hufflepuff/Ravenclaw fourth-years. When he
walked into the room everyone fell into a terrified silence. He was
prepared for this, but he had been hoping it wouldn't happen. He sighed
and pulled up his sleeve, baring his arm. "I know, there are rumours.
But as you can see, I am not, nor have I ever been, a Death Eater. So
you can all stop looking so terrified. With that out of the way,
welcome to Potions. We're going to start this term with potions that
alter one's appearance in one way or another, the simplest of which is
a cutaneous shrinking potion..."
The class went on fine from that point, as did
although he had to show his arm every time to prevent his students from
looking as though they'd all been petrified. What surprised him was how
much respect he got from them, even being a totally untried professor.
Certainly nothing like the awe and slight disgust (or reverence) that
Severus had inspired in these same students, but respect just the same.
He imagined it didn't do any harm that despite his unmarked arm, all
but the Slytherins still seemed pretty afraid of him.
On his way into the Great Hall for lunch, someone grabbed his arm
and pulled him into a corner. It was Harry. "Why, Professor Potter!
This is highly improper!"
Harry giggled. "Sorry, I had to catch you somehow. I need your help."
"How would you like to be me for an hour?"
"As you know, I'm Harry Potter, and I'll be
Against the Dark Arts. I know you're sixth-years and that many of you
knew me as a student. If it's too weird calling me Professor all of a
sudden, I don't mind if you call me Harry." It was too strange, being
in Harry's body. To feel what it felt like to be in Harry's body. He'd
had to work very hard to resist exploring the more... private regions
of it. As tempting as it had been, he knew it would have been a
terrible violation of trust. He glanced at his watch. Two minutes.
The door opened and in walked (the real) Harry. A confused murmur
rose up from amongst the students. "So, which one of us is the real
Harry Potter?" Harry said, standing next to Draco and assuming the
exact same stance.
"He is!" said one of the students, pointing at
"Because I played Quidditch with Harry for three
I think I
should know my own team-mate!"
"No way!" exclaimed another girl. "Obviously
she said, indicating Harry. "I know Harry too, and he'd have put the
impostor in here first to try and throw us off."
"Ten points to Gryffindor for a correct answer
And...now. Draco felt the uncomfortable
sensation of the
potion wearing off and his body going back to its usual form. Another
murmur went up when the class saw who he really was, and another, more
giggly one, when they saw that his clothes were now just a little too
"Lesson one," said Harry, smiling. "Just because
seeing someone you know and trust doesn't mean you are."
"But he acted just like you!" protested the boy
pointed Draco out as Harry.
"A good impostor always does," said Draco, still
voice. This seemed to unnerve a few people.
"And Draco here happens to know me very well. So, can anyone tell me
how to tell an impostor from the real thing? Yes, Lisa?"
"If they go an hour without drinking anything?"
"Five points to Gryffindor. That's one way, it'll
Polyjuice in any case. Anything else? Yes... I'm terribly sorry, I
don't know your name."
"Angelica Burton, I just transferred here from
York," said the blonde, her violet eyes sparkling.
"Right, that explains a thing or two. So what
"The Video Veritas charm?"
Harry looked surprised. Draco knew he hadn't expected anyone to
know that, as it was supposed to be today's lesson. "Exactly right. Ten
points to Gryffindor. Did they teach you that in New York?"
"No, my father taught me."
Draco was, at best, unsettled by this girl. At worst, he was
suspicious. What was she doing, transferring in her 6th
year to someplace halfway across the world? Was that even allowed? And
why did she keep staring at Harry? He'd have to do some detective work,
he decided as he left the class. He still had an hour before he had to
teach again, so he went straight up to Dumbledore's office.
"Ah, Draco!" said the old man. "How goes the
care for a bit of cocoa?"
"Umm, no thanks, sir. I was just wondering, who's
"Ahh, you mean Miss Burton."
"Yes. What's with her transferring in her sixth
"Oh, that's simple. Her father's working for the
Ministry over here,
helping out with prosecution of the war criminals and whatnot."
"But why did she have to come here?"
"Her father wouldn't have it any other way, I'm
needed him on the prosecution team. He's a very talented lawyer."
"And just who is her father? Do you know his
Dumbledore just chuckled. "Draco, my dear boy, I
certain that John Burton has no evil tendencies."
"Right, then." Am I turning into Mad-Eye
He went back to the Dungeons to get ready for his next class. Great.
It was going to be the Gryffindor and Slytherin sixth-years. That meant
miss weirdo-know-it-all-pixie-yank-girl was going to be there. Would
she stare at him too?
He wanted to go back and talk to Harry, but Harry was still in
class. But a glance at the timetable told him Hermione was not, so he
headed for her office. He found her there, scribbling something
furiously. "Sorry, are you busy?" he asked, pausing in the doorway.
"No, no, it's just my lesson plan for next
said with a
grin, trying to rein her fluffy hair back into the bun it was escaping
from. "What's up?"
Next MONTH? Oh, dear. "Have you had the sixth-year
"No, I don't have them till tomorrow, why?"
"Oh, there's a new student I wanted to ask you
"You mean Angelica?"
Angelica? "Um, yeah, the American."
"Lovely girl. She came to see me this morning
lessons. Wants to learn the Animagus transformation. I told her she'd
be better off asking Harry. But she's very nice, terribly eager. Why?
What'd you want to know about her?"
Lovely girl, indeed. Feh. "You'll laugh, but I was a
Hermione did laugh, and told him to loosen up. He vaguely wondered
if he should just find something tall to jump off of and end it all
now, having heard something like that from her. Great, so miss
bottle-blonde facial piercings was going to be taking private lessons
with Harry. Idiot, he's gay. So? People can change. Okay, now
you're just making your life difficult. Leave it out.
Draco was in a rotten mood by the time the dreaded Gryffindor/Slytherin
class arrived. "See, look," he snapped, baring his arm. "Nice and
clean. Not evil. I'm sure you've heard. Now let's get down to work. I
trust you've all done your summer homework, so who can tell me what
happens when you add Unicorn hair to the Dreamless Sleep potion?"
Two people raised their hands. Angelica Burton and Pansy
Parkinson's pain-in-the-arse (though at least not evil) little sister
Rose. "Right, then, Parkinson, can you enlighten us?"
"You get a topical healing potion, but it's very
"Very good. Ten points to Slytherin. Now, I trust
isn't the only one who's done her reading. You there, Johnson is it?"
"What can we do to make our weak healing potion
"I... I don't know, sir."
"You didn't do your reading?"
"But nothing. Five points from Gryffindor for
He turned to the rest of the class. "If any of
to be a pushover because I'm a new teacher, you're dead wrong, so I
advise you all to do your homework if you don't want to cost your house
points. Now, back to the healing potion--- put your hand down, Miss
Burton, I know that you know. Ashburn, what will strengthen the healing
Ashburn was a smallish sort of boy, and he looked
not going to bite, you know. What are you, a Hufflepuff?" Some of the
class giggled nervously.
"I think the book said to add a couple of
"At last! An answer! Yes, caterpillars. Five
Once you stop looking like you're about to wet yourself every time I
speak to you, Ashburn, I'll give you five more."
It went on like that the entire period, with Draco teaching in a
decidedly Snape-ish manner. It was sort of fun. Most of the students
bolted when Draco dismissed them, but the damned American girl (as
Draco had come to think of her over the last hour) stuck around. Great.
"Is there something I can help you with, Miss Burton? If not, I'm going
to go have a whiskey and lie down." There, that should make it
clear that I want nothing to do with her.
"I was just wondering if you needed an
An apprentice? Merlin's beard, he was
apprenticeship himself! What would he do with an apprentice?
Particularly one he already couldn't stand. But no, he wouldn't let on
that he didn't think he could do it. "I hardly think that you're going
to have time to properly work on a Potions apprenticeship on top of
Animagus lessons. You won't be able to do either one properly if you
try to do both at once."
"I'm sure I can. If you just give me a chance---"
That grating accent was giving him a headache.
idea how much energy it takes to transform even so much as your little
finger without your wand? You're going to be hard-pressed not to fail
your regular classes."
"I'm sorry, Miss Burton," okay, so I'm not
"But I have to say no."
"But, Professor! I know I can do it!"
"Have you even discussed this with Ha--- with
he happen to tell you what exhausting work you're going to be embarking
"Well, no, we're going to meet about it tomorrow,
"But nothing. You tell him you're thinking about
to take on
an apprenticeship on top of becoming an Animagus. If he tells you it
won't be a problem, then come back and see me. But he's going to tell
you it's got to be one or the other."
She scowled. "Well, of course he will! He's your
going to tell him what to say!" she whinged.
"It will be a cold day in Hell when I convince
Potter to do
something he doesn't want to. And ten points from Gryffindor for your
insolence." Oh my god, I sound just like Severus. Insolence,
indeed. Well, she was insolent! He watched her storm out of
the room. What was with this girl, anyway? She was like Hermione's evil
He went back to his rooms to lie down for a while
head was killing him. At least Quidditch was only twice a week now. Quidditch.
He'd probably be expected to oversee the tryouts, since Professor
Sinistra (he couldn't bring himself to call the imposing woman Olivia
for some reason) didn't know a quaffle from a hole in the ground. Not
a thing to think about right now. He managed to let himself drift,
and was nearly asleep when Harry came in.
"Oh, sorry, were you sleeping?"
"Not really. It's okay, come in." Draco sat
and Harry sat
down next to him. "How was your first day?"
"Went really well. How about you? I heard you put
fear of god
into your sixth-years."
"Are people talking about it?" Oh, Merlin,
"I overheard a couple of people, that's all. They
on whether you were going to be worse than Snape or not."
"Fine way to talk about you war heroes!" Draco
Harry just laughed. "Get used to it. As
"Brilliant." Draco sighed and tried to lean back
nonchalantly as he could. He wasn't sure whether it actually looked
nonchalant, since it was extremely deliberate.
"Ohhh, does the poor ickle Potions Master need a
putting his arms around Draco in an exaggerated fashion. "Eww, you
smell like a potions lab," he said, sniffing Draco's hair.
"Well, being as I was in one all day..."
"So, I hear you're giving Animagus lessons to
"If she still wants to do it when she finds out
"She came and asked me if I needed an apprentice."
"Basically that if she tried to do both, she
able to do
"In the nicest way possible, of course," said
"Oh, yes, of course. Anyway, she kept
finally told her that if you said she could do both, that I'd take her
"Knowing fully well that I would say no such
"Well, yes. And do you know what she said then?
he'll say no, he's your best friend! You're going to tell him what to
Harry laughed at Draco's horrid imitation of her
of reminds me of Hermione when she was younger."
"Yeah, like four years younger."
"Point. You really don't like her, do you?"
"Oh. Well, in that case, no, I don't. There's
little...off about her. I don't trust her."
"Draco, she's from a different culture."
"It's not that different."
"It's different enough. I don't think American
anything like Hogwarts. The school she came from is in a skyscraper in
Manhattan. She's probably disoriented. And from what I can tell, it
wasn't her choice to come here."
Why is he defending her, anyway? "Well,
entitled to my opinion."
"You are. But try to give her a chance, at least."
Give her a chance? Humph. No.
wanted her to go away.
The following evening found Draco in Harry's
out that he probably could
cook--after all, it was just another potion. So if he just followed the
book, he reasoned, it should be all right. Harry had gamely agreed to
taste his experiment. Unfortunately, the cookbook didn't use the same
terms as the Potions book, so he kept having to go back and forth
between books to work out what to do.
"Harry? What's sautéing?" he called over
Harry came into the kitchen. "What are you
"Oh, just cook them at medium-to-lowish heat in a
"Why don't they just say that?"
"To annoy you, I imagine."
"Is that someone at the door?"
"Shite, the Burton girl. I'd forgotten."
"What, you invited her to dinner?"
"No, no, I've got a meeting with her."
"Well, at the moment, it's the closest thing I've
"True. I hope you don't mind if I stay in the
"Whatever you want." Harry left to open the door.
Draco grumbled to himself, chopping the mushrooms
vigorously than was strictly necessary. Next he'll be bloody well
having her in for tea.
The music shut off. "Hello, Miss Burton," came
clear as if Draco were standing next to him.
Draco was startled for a second, but then
had put on the sitting-room so that Draco could hear the music in the
kitchen without having to blare the stereo. I should really take
that spell off. Why? It's not as though it's a personal conversation.
And Harry's probably going to tell me the whole thing anyway. So what's
"Oh, please, call me Angelica."
"Erm, right, Angelica, then."
The conversation was really pretty boring. Harry
her about what
kind of work they'd be doing, and how she should be prepared to spend a
great deal of time being exhausted. When he got to the bit about not
doing the Potions apprenticeship in addition, though, the girl exploded.
"He told you to say that! That man hates me for
"Miss Burton, calm down, he did no such thing. I
just do what
people tell me to do. And you'd better be careful about how you talk
about your professors. There are a great many that wouldn't just let
that little outburst go like I'm going to. I should take points off
your house for saying that, but I'm not going to this time. I don't
know how you treated your teachers in America, but I'm thinking it must
be a little different." Harry said all of this in a cool, tense tone
that reminded Draco a great deal of his father. He shuddered.
"Sorry," she said. "But I really think I can do
"And I'm telling you it's not possible unless
pints of Pepper-Up potion a day, which will rather unfortunately ruin
"Oh, can't you just let me try? What do you care
"I care about not being responsible for one of my
from exhaustion, either that or becoming a half-arsed Animagus."
"Can't you just tell Professor Malfoy you said
okay?" She was
using a horrid-sounding tone, hoarse and pouty, like she was trying to
imitate some film vixen, but only succeeding in sounding like a bad
case of laryngitis. "I'd be very grateful."
What the hell was happening? Some rustling and a
"Get off me! Are you insane? I could have you
for that, you
Merlin's balls, did she just kiss him?
"But you won't," she said in that same awful
you're attracted to me."
"And what gave you that idea? Was it the 'get off
the 'are you
insane', or was it the total and utter lack of arousal on my part?"
Harry was shouting. Harry never shouted.
"You know when these things happen, sometimes the
stories get a
little mixed up, and the teacher comes out looking like the bad guy.
You wouldn't want that, would you?"
"Are you threatening me, young lady? Have you
"There are ways around it."
Draco decided he'd better come out of the kitchen
put this to
rest. "There are ways around Veritaserum, Miss Burton," he said in his
best I'm-going-to-cast-Cruciatus-on-you-till-your-eyeballs-bleed voice.
"But it tends to cause trouble when two witnesses say one thing and the
self-proclaimed victim says another."
"You!" she exclaimed, going a bit pale, then a
"Yes, me. I'd strongly suggest getting the hell
now if you want to spend another night at this school. As it is, that's
fifty points from Gryffindor."
"Seventy-five. And your father's going to be
"But nothing. Out. Now." Harry said, using that
The girl stormed out of the room. Harry leaned
against the door
and sighed. "Well, I wasn't expecting that."
"Frankly, neither was I. I somehow assumed her
sinister than mere seduction."
"We should tell Dumbledore about this in case she
decides to try
Draco shook his head. "If she's going to, it's
she'd run to
first, so I suggest getting her up here and then worrying about
They got Hermione on the Floo and told her to
little explanation given. They briefed her on the situation as they
rushed to Dumbledore's office.
When Hermione heard what all the commotion was
laughed. "I don't know what you're so worried about. It's obvious she's
just got a dumb schoolgirl crush. She's probably mortified and crying
in her room."
"Hermione, you didn't hear her. She didn't seem
seemed... vicious," Harry said with a small shudder. "Like she wanted
revenge. Of all the women I've rejected, I've never seen a single one
of them with that look about her."
Hermione snorted. "All three of them."
"Shut up! Just help me here!"
"Well, even if she does want revenge, you've got
as a witness.
By the way, how was it exactly that you came to hear the whole thing
from the kitchen?"
"We'd essentially put an eavesdropping spell on
sitting room so
that Draco could hear the stereo, but when she showed up I forgot to
"How come you didn't take it off?" she asked,
"I didn't think it mattered."
Hermione looked utterly nonplussed.
"And okay, I didn't trust her. But I was thinking
Harry made a face. "I hope I didn't kiss like
"Does anyone even know?" asked Hermione with a
"Oh, shut up, let's go talk to Dumbledore."
They entered Dumbledore's office to find the
his desk making stupid cooking noises at Fawkes. "Well, well, my three
newest professors. Is this a social call, or have you got troubles
"Troubles, I'm afraid," said Harry.
"Oh, dear. Well, we must have some tea, then. I
news go down more easily."
They took the proffered tea and Harry told
story. For once the old man's eyes weren't twinkling.
"Oh, my. This is very serious."
"Well, yes, that's why we came to you, we weren't
what to do
next," said Harry with a note of exasperation.
"I think she ought to be expelled," said Draco,
"Draco!" Hermione exclaimed with all the
mother. "She's just a child!"
"I'm afraid I'm going to have to agree with
said Dumbledore. "After all, there was no real harm done to anyone, and
I don't think she's likely to try it again."
"So, what then?" asked Harry.
"Well, I do think that a letter to her father is
order. I think
that and the points already taken should be punishment enough. And I'll
have a talk with her as well."
"I'm supposed to be giving her Animagus lessons,"
picking at an exposed bit of fluff on the arm of his chair. "What do I
do about that?"
"I'm afraid you've already agreed to the lessons,
they'll have to
go on as planned. Of course, if you're that uncomfortable, I'm sure
Minerva is strong enough by now to take her once a week, at least for
the theoretical part of the training. But I don't think you should let
it be an obstacle, Harry. I'm sure it's not the first time you've been
the object of unrequited teenage infatuation."
Hermione snorted again and Harry elbowed her.
"It's not just the... kissing thing," Harry said.
her concentration as well. If she's going to be too busy staring at my
arse to pay attention properly, she's not going to be able to do the
work properly, and I don't want to be responsible for a failure."
"A student's failure is rarely entirely the
Dumbledore. "But as I said, I'll have a talk with her."
"You do believe us, don't you?" asked Harry,
picking at the
chair. "I mean, if she comes in with some story about me molesting
Dumbledore held up his hand. "Harry, my dear boy,
enough tall tales in the past seven years for me to know that you've
just told me the truth. If I think she's going to take any action,
we'll initiate an enquiry ourselves to keep you from looking bad. And
would you please be a bit kinder to my poor chair?"
Harry snapped his hands together in his lap.
nothing to worry about. Now, if there's nothing
else, out with the lot of you. Old men need their sleep."
©2003-2004 Deirdre Riordan. Email comments to deirdre.riordan @
gmail . com (remove spaces)