- Story Summary:
- Draco had no idea that the repercussions of stealing Potter's journal and shoving it down the back of his trousers would be so extreme. Featuring nefarious plots, the mating rituals of Slytherins, double-crossing spells, Ron/Pansy, and Draco/Harry.
- Chapter Summary:
- Draco had no idea that the repercussions of stealing Potter's journal and shoving it down the back of his trousers would be so extreme. Featuring nefarious plots, the mating rituals of Slytherins, double-crossing spells, Ron/Pansy, and Draco/Harry.
Chapter TenWhat are you hungry for?
Just a slice of something sweet?
Or a smorgasbord of lost romances?
What do you need me for?
Another enemy to beat,
Just to prove that you've thrown all your chances out?
--Matt Caplan, September
When Harry entered the Gryffindor common room, his eyes were blazing with some new conviction he hadn’t had in the hall when confronting his friends earlier. It didn’t matter that his hair was wild from Draco’s fingers, his clothing wasn’t quite tidy, or that his lips were a little swollen from having been kissed so many times, because no one noticed that. All they noticed was his eyes and how bright they were. Harry’s eyes hadn’t been that bright since beginning the third challenge at the Triwizard Tournament in third year.
“Harry?” Hermione asked. “You alright?”
Ron didn’t say a thing, but he ran his eyes over Harry’s body, noting his hair and his lips and the wrinkles in his clothes. He turned away in disgust, conveniently forgetting that his own hair was ruffled from Pansy’s fingers and his own lips swollen from her kisses.
“Ron,” Harry said sharply. “Outside, now. We’ve got to talk.”
“I don’t want to talk,” Ron said stubbornly. “At least not to you.”
“And I don’t want to hear anymore of your hypocritical whining. Outside, now.”
Ron’s eyes widened a bit. “I don’t want —”
Harry grabbed him by the front of his robes, hauled him to his feet, and shoved him out of the portrait hole.
“Harry…” Hermione began.
He smiled at her. “I won’t hurt him. We’ll talk when I’m done with him.”
The portrait closed behind him, and Ron was waiting with a baleful glare on his pale face. “Don’t push me around,” he snarled.
“Then listen when I tell you to do something,” Harry replied easily. “C’mon, we’ve got to talk.”
Ron still looked mutinous, but he followed Harry down the hall and into an empty classroom. “I don’t think we have anything to talk about.”
“I do. I’m only going to explain this to you once, Ron, so listen carefully. It’s complicated enough without your self-righteous attitude, like you’ve got a reason to be offended by this.”
“I’ve got every reason to be offended,” Ron hissed. “Ginny —”
“This has nothing to do with her and you know it,” Harry snapped. “Just admit it, Ron. You know I’d never hurt her on purpose. Ginny and I are friends.”
“You and I are friends, and look what you’ve done to me.”
Harry smiled in a satisfied sort of way. “Finally, we get to the point.” He crossed his arms over his chest and then said, “Ron, I didn’t do anything to you to make you react this way.”
Considering for a moment, Ron sat on one of the empty desks and studied Harry in silence. “Damn it, Harry, it’s Malfoy. How can you say you haven’t betrayed me? I mean, if you wanted to fuck around with another guy, which I don’t get either, but far be it for me to question that, you could have at least chosen someone that wasn’t… that hasn’t been an ass to me since the first day I met him!”
Harry’s eyes narrowed. “It wasn’t about you. Get that through your head. I didn’t sit around thinking ‘what is the one thing I could do that would hurt my best friend? Oh, I know! Fall for Malfoy!’ Not everything’s about you. This had nothing to do with you.”
Ron looked hurt. “You’re wrong, it had everything to do with me. You never would have even started hanging around him if I had been a better friend.”
Exasperation made Harry roll his eyes. “That’s bullshit. That’s so stupidly wrong, Ron, and you know it.”
“Then why?” he snapped. “I wanted you to be with Ginny. My little sister. I thought you were worth her, Harry. But I would have understood if you hadn’t liked her because… because you fancied Dean or… or Oliver or Seamus or… I would have even supported you if you wanted to shag Neville, for gods’ sake.” He laughed in a desperate tone. “Hell, Harry, I’d have fixed you up with Percy if you wanted me to. Anyone but Malfoy.”
Harry’s voice was soft. “I don’t want anyone but Malfoy.”
“You can’t say anything that’ll change my mind, Ron. If you can’t accept this, than it’s up to you. I’m not going to let go of this because you don’t like him.”
Ron’s eyes reflected his hurt. “You’d choose him over me?”
Gently, Harry replied, “He’s not the one making me choose, Ron.”
“I… You’d lose all of this because you like shagging Malfoy.” Ron sounded weak with disgust.
“I don’t just…shag him!” Harry snapped. “I… talk with him and… and hold his hand and kiss —” He stopped at the pained look on Ron’s face. “And it’s more than that, much more. I’d lose my friendship with you because even if I did choose you over him, Ron, I’d never trust you again because you made me choose. Either way, I’m losing you. The way I see it, it’s choose you and lose everything because in choosing you, I destroy our friendship anyway. Or letting you go and keeping what I’ve got with Draco. I don’t want to lose you, you’re my best friend. So the only way you’re going to lose me is if you choose to let me go. I’ve found that it’s easier to let others make my choices for me.” He smiled. “But this choice is yours to make, Ron.”
Ron was still looking rather pale and weak, and Harry had run out of things to say. He sighed. “I never meant for Ginny to be mixed up in this, and I didn’t mean what I said earlier about her. Let me know what you decide.”
He turned to go, walking slowly, waiting for Ron to call him back. He didn’t.
It was easier, telling Hermione, probably because she’d figured most of it out already. She was shocked, of course, and a little reproachful, especially when he told her how things had gone with Ron.
“Oh, Harry,” she said, her eyes wide. “Surely you wouldn’t stop being friends with Ron over this.”
“It’s not my choice,” Harry replied with a shrug. He wasn’t quite sure how he felt about Ron, but he knew that it was out of his hands. He wouldn’t lose Draco, not for anything.
Harry smiled wryly. “Strangely enough, given all the things she shouted at me earlier, I think she may be more understanding than her brother.”
Hermione smiled slightly, though she still looked worried. “Do you trust him, Harry? Do you trust Malfoy? If he hurts you… If he does, I’ll curse him so badly…”
“Don’t worry, Hermione, I know what I’m doing.”
“I don’t understand how it happened.”
He shrugged. “I’ll tell you someday, when I’ve got the time. But I’ve got to find Ginny, and it’s late, so I’ll talk to you later, alright? And… take care of Ron. I hope…” he trailed off and shook his head. “Never mind.”
He found Ginny in the library, where she had gone to hide after he had dragged Ron from the common room. She was staring sightlessly at a book, her eyes glazed over and her face very pale. Harry sat down across from her.
“Hello, Harry,” she said tonelessly, not looking up from her book.
Harry reached over and took the book from her. “Look at me.”
She sighed and did so, asking dryly, “What do you want?”
“You tried this once already today.”
“Yeah, and you freaked out, started yelling, and ran away. So I figure the library’s the perfect place to try again as Pince’ll kill you if you start shouting. So now you’ve got to listen.”
“Talk then, Harry, but do hurry up.” She rested her head on her hand and tried to look bored.
“Right. First… about the ball.” He took a deep breath, knowing that she’d be hurt when she knew everything but determined to be honest. “I asked you because I wanted Ron to go to the ball and he said he’d only go if I asked you.”
Her eyes widened a little and her lips tightened, but Ginny didn’t say a word.
“I… he was only doing what he thought was right for you, Ginny,” Harry said quickly. “But it wasn’t fair, all the same.”
“Then why did you kiss me that night?” she snapped.
“Well… That’s where it gets…harsh. See, I didn’t. It wasn’t me.”
“Funny,” she said sarcastically. “He looked just like you.”
“Draco’s costume charm made him look just like me. It was him.” After he blurted that out, Harry flinched and waited for her reaction.
It took a few startled minutes of her just staring at him blankly, and then Ginny said slowly, “Malfoy. Malfoy pretended to be you and kissed me and…” She trailed off, frowning. Harry was rather relieved, he’d expected her to start screaming and throwing things. “No wonder you didn’t remember,” she said with a brittle laugh.
“I didn’t know he had done that until that day I got really sick. I’m sorry, it shouldn’t have happened, he was just playing around, Ginny. He’s got a twisted sense of what’s fun.”
“And yet you still like him better than me?” she asked sharply.
“Ginny,” Harry snapped. “It isn’t about you. I do like you, as a friend. It’s got nothing to do with Draco.”
She rolled her eyes but didn’t comment. “What about that night you made me kiss you? That was you, wasn’t it?”
Harry shrugged. “Yeah. I was… I was sort of confused.”
“I would have understood, you know,” she sighed. “If someone had just told me… I meant what I said earlier, Harry. After Halloween, you sort of scared me.” She was smiling a little painfully.
“You were never supposed to get involved in this and I never meant to hurt you. But you asked me earlier if I would take back everything with Draco if it meant that I’d never hurt you or caused these problems between me and Ron. I wouldn’t, Ginny. Not for the world.”
She studied his face solemnly and then a small smile flickered at her lips. “I wouldn’t think so, Harry,” she said. “I may not like him at all, but even I’ve noticed that you’ve been happier than ever lately. People who are lucky enough to find something like that shouldn’t ever let it go.”
Harry grinned. “I won’t. Not ever.”
She smiled and nodded, reaching over to gently push his glasses back up his nose. He hadn’t even been aware they’d slipped. “He’s really lucky, Harry, I hope he understands that.”
Laughing, Harry took her hand and squeezed it. “If he doesn’t, he will soon enough,” he said with a smirk that it took Ginny a moment to realize where she’d seen it before. On Draco’s lips.
The next day, Harry walked into Potions just before class started. He smiled shyly at Draco before sitting next to Ron, deliberately ignoring the glare on his best friend’s face that got nastier when he noticed the direction of Harry’s smile. Harry turned to him.
“Hello,” he said, rather stiffly, waiting for Ron’s reaction. After all, their entire future depended on Ron’s choice, whether he would turn away from Harry or not.
It appeared that Ron didn’t even know what he was going to do. His eyes narrowed and Hermione glared at him and he mumbled, “Hi.”
It was a start at least, and Harry felt a little better.
After class, it seemed to be an unspoken agreement, and both Harry and Draco took an incredibly long time packing up their things. In fact, by the time they had finished, everyone except Snape had already left and, with rather shy smiles, they left the classroom together.
“You alright, Harry?” Draco asked, as they made their way down the hall towards their next classes.
Harry frowned. “Yeah, why?”
Shrugging, Draco said, “What happened last night, with Weasley?”
“You care?” he couldn’t help being surprised.
Draco shoved him playfully. “Of course I care, you twit. I may not like him, but I don’t want him to… to hurt you.”
“Oh.” Harry considered that for a moment and then, blushing a little, he slipped his hand into Draco’s, almost experimentally.
Glancing at him sideways, Draco smirked. “Are you holding my hand, Potter?”
Harry looked rather defiant, even if his face was still red from his blush. “Yes.”
Draco laughed and kissed him quickly. “Alright. But don’t change the subject.” He tightened his hand around Harry’s. “What happened with Weasley?”
“Well, he… sort of said that I’d betrayed him and that I should be with Ginny and… if the problem is that… that I don’t like girls, I should be with…Seamus or Percy or something.” Harry shrugged.
Scowling, Draco rolled his eyes. “What did you say?”
He glanced at Draco and smiled. “That I didn’t want to be with anyone but you.”
Draco felt his face flush a little bit, just along the cheekbones, and he winced at the knowledge that Harry had the power to make him blush. He could see Harry watching him in amusement, laughing a little, and stuck his tongue out playfully, making Harry laugh even harder.
They had to part ways soon after, going to their separate classes, and they did so with a lingering kiss and a few whispering words, promising to meet up later.
In Divination that day, they were studying prophecy, and Harry found the subject very boring. After all, he didn’t believe in fate, and this was just a fancy way for crackpot old men to pretend they could predict it. Riddles, Harry didn’t like riddles. They were deliberately misleading and far too often self-fulfilling.
That’s why he was a little startled when his attention snapped away from the tower window and back to the professor. She had said Draco’s last name.
“What?” he asked suddenly, and the whole class turned to look at him, surprised. Ron rolled his eyes.
“I said, Mister Potter,” Trelawney repeated, “That some families have ancient prophecies that are passed from one generation to the next, until the time that they are fulfilled. Almost every old, pureblooded family has at least one, kept in their library somewhere. I mentioned that the Malfoys were one of them. Did you require further repetition, or did you find the rest of my lesson worth paying attention to?” She sounded quite annoyed and Harry flushed.
“Uhh, that’s good, thanks,” he mumbled, and she continued teaching. Harry glanced out of the window.
It was rather interesting, actually. Draco had never mentioned it. Then again, being from a pureblooded family and all, he probably took the ‘family prophecies’ for granted. Draco didn’t believe in fate, and his family passed prophecies from one generation to the next? It was something to tease him about, Harry decided with a smile.
And then, spoiling his light mood, he wondered what prophecies Ron’s family passed down, and was filled with the painful urge to cry. He didn’t want to lose his best friend over this.
At lunch, sitting beside Ron, Harry asked almost timidly, “Ron? Does your family have any prophecies?” He was desperate for something to talk about, not wanting to let Ron drift away.
Ron scowled and Hermione looked curious. “What are you talking about?”
“Surely you know that old, pureblooded families pass down prophecies from one generation to the next,” Ron said a little stiffly.
Hermione’s gaze became guarded. “Actually, I prefer to study more relevant matters, not what ‘pureblooded’ families do in their spare time.”
Ron rolled his eyes and turned back to his lunch, leaving Harry to explain. “We learned in Divination that they do, yeah. She mentioned the Malfoys. I just thought that maybe Ron’s family…” he was feeling decidedly miserable.
Looking compassionate, she reached over and briefly touched his hand. Ron wasn’t speaking to her either. “Well, maybe if we owl Mrs. Weasley, she could tell us?”
Dropping his spoon suddenly, Ron stood up. “‘In times of darkness and times of light, a Weasley always stands to fight,’” he recited sharply before walking away.
Hermione and Harry looked at each other, waited until Ron had left the hall, and then burst into hushed laughter. “What a ridiculous prophecy,” Harry said finally.
She grinned. “It’s more like a rhyming couplet or a family motto.”
“I think sometimes that’s what happens to the prophecies,” Harry told her. “They get adapted into family mottos, probably even worked into the family crest.”
Turning a little more solemn now, Hermione said, “Do you think Ron’ll ever talk to us again?”
“Hermione, you don’t have to do this,” Harry sighed. “It’s my battle.”
“But he’s wrong!” she said fiercely. “He’s being a hypocrite. If you and… and Malfoy—” she lowered her voice dramatically so no one could hear— “are a betrayal, then so are him and Pansy! It’s the same. He’s just worried that it’ll mean you don’t need him anymore.”
Harry studied her for a moment and then said gently, “You still like him.”
She glanced away. “Harry, I never really liked him that way all that much, don’t worry about it.”
“Still. You shouldn’t lose him as a friend over this.”
“Neither of us are losing him!” Hermione snapped. “I’m going to talk to Pansy about it, actually. As soon as I get up the nerve. I mean, she cares about Malfoy, they’re friends. And she seems to care for Ron. So I’ll tell her what a prat he’s being and see if she’ll talk to him.”
“Thanks. For everything. For not being horrified.” He smiled.
“Oh, I’m properly horrified!” she cried. “It’s Malfoy. However, I like to see you happy and he obviously makes you happy. It’s just more complicated for Ron.”
Lunch wasn’t even half over when, over at the Slytherin table, Draco stood up, causing Harry to instinctively glance up. Draco met his gaze and jerked his head towards the door, mouthing the world ‘library’. Harry smiled his understanding and started to clean up his things.
Hermione rolled her eyes. “Lovely, Harry,” she teased. “Abandon me here just like Ron did.”
Glancing at her guiltily, Harry said, “I can stay if you want.”
“Oh, go on, I suppose Malfoy’s calling,” she said, smirking a little. “Besides, I’ve got some things to talk to Ginny about.”
Harry nodded, flashed a grateful grin, and hurried from the room. Ron was waiting just outside the hall. “Harry,” he said. “Malfoy just left, so I assumed you’d be out soon as well.”
That instantly put Harry on the defensive, and he crossed his arms over his chest. “What is it?”
“I…” Ron took a deep breath. “I don’t think I can do this, Harry. This, I mean. Just thinking about it makes me sick.”
Harry felt stung, but struggled not to show it. “Is the problem,” he said, his voice a little thick, “That it’s a guy, or is it that it’s Draco?”
“I could handle the other guy,” Ron admitted in a tiny voice. “And I tried, Harry, but… I can’t… can’t stand it! I can’t…”
Harry tried to work up a righteous fury. He tried to shout. He tried, as he’d seen Draco do a thousand times, to call up a protective layer of cold distain. He couldn’t, however. All he could do was stare at Ron’s eyes, where a fine sheen of tears destroyed any chance he had of anger.
Ron didn’t want this as much as Harry didn’t want it.
It was that fact alone that hurt the most, and Harry took a stumbling step backwards, away from Ron, nearly blinded with pain. Ron didn’t want it, meaning he’d tried to see past it, and couldn’t. He wasn’t willing to let Harry go over this, but he was doing it all the same. Over nothing! It shouldn’t matter! It shouldn’t mean anything to Ron, just as Ron and Pansy meant nothing to Harry.
Harry was suddenly quite sure that he was about to cry, and he turned away hurriedly.
“Harry,” Ron called gently, before Harry could get more than two steps away. “The Malfoy prophecy… I’d look into it, if I were you.”
Harry stiffened and said harshly, “That, Weasley, is no longer your concern.”
He walked away, his legs jerking like they were made out of wood. Puppet legs pulled by some careless puppeteer.
The library wasn’t far and he was glad, pushing through the doors and heading blindly towards the table farthest from the light, the table where he’d eaten cherries out of Draco’s hand.
Draco was waiting, and he glanced up with a smile. It quickly faded, however, when Harry collapsed in the chair beside him and folded his arms on the table, burying his face.
“Harry,” Draco said gently, one hand awkwardly on Harry’s back. “What is it?”
Harry mumbled a few words, not trusting himself to speak more than that without bursting into tears.
“C’mon, Potter,” was the reply, Draco taking his hand and tugging. “The library is no place for this.” Already, a few Ravenclaws were staring in shock.
Harry lifted his head and Draco winced at his paleness, his dark, shocked eyes. “C’mon,” he said again, very gently, and Harry let himself be pulled to his feet and guided out the door.
Draco pulled him down the hall and into an empty classroom. “Right then,” he said, business-like now. He didn’t quite know how to deal with this new fragile Harry, and figured detachment was the best option.
With a low growl, Harry started pacing, ranting out loud. “He’s such a stupid bastard,” he said, throwing up his hands and stalking around the room. Draco watched him worriedly. “Thinking that you can just let a six-year friendship go over something like this. It shouldn’t matter to him. I didn’t betray him! I would never… This isn’t a betrayal of him, it’s got nothing to do with him! Why doesn’t he see that?”
“I’m assuming,” Draco said, when Harry paused for a breath, “That you’re talking about Weasley? What’s he done now?”
Harry stopped his pacing and turned to face Draco, looking lost again. “He… he doesn’t want to be my friend anymore,” he said in a lost tone, his voice breaking and eyes shining unnaturally. He choked on something that could have been tears, and Draco saw the way he was valiantly trying to hold them back.
“Harry,” he said gently, stepping closer. He grabbed Harry by the shoulders and wrapped his arm around them, having abandoned the business-like option and opting for following his instincts. “Harry, I’m sorry.”
Harry buried his face in Draco’s neck and took a deep breath, closing his eyes and letting Draco hold him. He’d been a little nervous, not quite knowing how Draco would react to him falling apart this way, and startled when Draco had held him. As if he cared about him, hurt when he hurt, cried when he cried. Harry wondered vaguely if maybe Draco did. They’d never exactly discussed it.
“Are you alright?” Draco whispered, his breath ruffling Harry’s hair.
Harry nodded and said, “Just don’t let go yet. No one’s ever…” he trailed off and Draco smiled a little, tightening his hold. No one had ever held him like that either, and he wondered if it felt as good to be held as it did to hold.
Harry didn’t cry, the urge to cry had disappeared when Draco had wrapped his arms around him.
That night, unable to sleep, Harry took his invisibility cloak and crept out of Gryffindor tower. He made his way to the library, guilt nearly making him change his mind and return to bed. However, he still slipped into the library, holding a lantern, and quickly scanning the titles, not quite sure what he was looking for. He finally selected ‘The Old Families: A History of Aristocracy in Wizarding’. Slipping it off the shelf, he made his way over to a table in the back and flipped to the glossary. Malfoy was on page 56.
It was basically boring information on the family founders, the family tree, the last publicized bank holdings, a listing of all the real estate they owned, a few words on some important historical things they had taken part in, and then, as a caption under a picture that was enchanted to show the current generation of Malfoys, the Family Prophecy.
Harry read it in a whisper. “‘The bearer of light shall carry to the feet of the Serpent lord, a child. That child shall deliver into the hands of the Dark One his own Destruction, choose life over love, and become His loyalist disciple.’”
Frowning, Harry carefully copied it out word for word, and folded it, slipping it in his pocket.
“Life over love?” he whispered. “The Serpent lord, that must be Voldemort. Maybe this already happened…” he trailed off. “Or is going to happen.”
Intensely uneasy, Harry returned the book to it’s shelf and started back to Gryffindor tower. He wasn’t paying particular attention and walked right into someone he hadn’t even seen, knocking his invisibility cloak to the floor.
“Harry!” Draco cried with a smile. “I snuck through the window to Gryffindor tower and you weren’t there so thought you’d be in the library or the kitchen or something.”
Harry returned the smile warily. “What are you doing up so late?”
“I could ask the same as you. Couldn’t sleep.” He was holding a broomstick, and Harry glanced at it, confused. “I was going flying,” Draco explained. He grinned. “Wanted to know if you wanted to come with me. I could show you some real flying, not like Quidditch.”
“Quidditch is real flying,” Harry argued, even as he pulled out his wand. “Accio Firebolt.”
“If you think that, you’ve lived an incredibly sheltered life,” Draco said with a confident grin.
Harry rolled his eyes. “Cupboard under the stairs, remember?” he said dryly.
His Firebolt appeared and he caught it out of the air. “Let’s go then,” Draco said, leading the way.
It was dark, still, and very cold. Draco was on his broomstick and in the air in seconds. Following more slowly, Harry watched Draco fly gracefully for a few moments in awe, and then, determined to show him up, took to the skies as well.
He was a natural flyer, but Draco was more practiced, and was soon teaching Harry techniques the other boy had never even heard of.
“You realize,” he said, laughing, “that this’ll make it even easier for me to beat you at Quidditch.”
“It hasn’t helped me beat you yet; it’s not very useful, actually,” Draco admitted, turning an easy backwards loop in the air.
Harry studied the move and tried to duplicate it, laughing breathlessly as he gracelessly pulled out of the awkward, lopsided move. “I’m not very good anyway.”
“Practice,” Draco said with a shrug.
They flew until Harry’s fingers, ears, and nose were numb, and then they went back inside, shivering and talking softly.
It was nearly dawn and they kissed hurriedly, lips frozen and awkward. Harry giggled as he pulled away and smiled, hurrying off to Gryffindor Tower.
Harry had forgotten all about the prophecy by morning, until he found it in his pocket. Deciding to ask Hermione what she thought it meant, he tucked it inside his Potions text and went down for breakfast.
Secretly relieved to see that Ron wasn’t there, Harry sat next to Hermione, pulling the prophecy out of his book. “I found this in the library,” he said. “It’s the Malfoy family prophecy, what do you think it means?”
She read it over quickly and frowned. “I’m not sure, really. That’s why I don’t like Divination, Harry, it’s not an exact science. It could mean any number of things, really. I’d suggest you ask your professor, but Trelawney’s an unreliable old bat who’s never given a true prophecy in her life.”
“Not true,” Harry said. “Once she did.”
Hermione snorted and started a long lecture on the joys of Arithmancy, which Harry, having heard it all before, only caught a few highlights of.
After breakfast, Harry and Hermione stood to go to Potions together. Draco met them at the door, with a frosty smile for her.
“I’ll walk with you,” he said, not asking permission. He fell into step beside Harry, who cast him a rather adoring, smitten smile. Upon seeing that smile, Hermione rolled her eyes and let go of the indignation she’d felt at his interruption.
Ron had gone to Potions early with Pansy, and he was sitting in Draco’s spot. Glaring furiously at him, Draco walked past in silence, taking Ron’s abandoned seat by Harry. He wasn’t angry that Ron had taken his spot, he was rather pleased at the excuse to sit beside Harry. He’d never forgive Weasley, however, for hurting Harry. Never.
The strange thing, Harry realized later that class as he, Hermione, and Draco worked together on their Potions assignment, was that Hermione and Draco got on quite well when they stopped trying to antagonize each other. They almost seemed to enjoy the challenge of, for the first time, meeting someone with enough knowledge of Potions to challenge them in class. An almost friendly and certainly relaxed conversation about the potion they were brewing, in which both seemed determined to show they knew more, took place, and Harry was left to watch as most of the information went straight over his head. Draco would smirk challengingly at her and she’d smile smugly in return.
It was a relief, at least, that Draco didn’t say anything hurtful to her all through Potions. He was trying, as was Hermione. If only Ron would do the same.
At the end of class, Harry was cleaning up when he accidentally knocked his Potions text to the floor. He scooped it up quickly and piled it with his things, helping Hermione rinse out the cauldron. When he turned back around, Draco was standing very still, a strange look on his face. He was holding a slip of parchment in his hand.
“Why didn’t you just ask?” he said, looking at Harry strangely.
Harry winced. It was the prophecy, and he took it gently, glancing at Hermione, who nodded and left the classroom quickly with the other students.
“I was just curious,” Harry told him. “We learned about family prophecies in Divination and your family was mentioned and Ron said I should —”
“Weasley,” Draco spat. “He told you to look it up, did he?”
“Yes.” Harry studied Draco’s face worriedly. “But I don’t even know what it means, Draco! I didn’t mean to make you angry, I just —”
“Don’t know what it means?” Draco growled, snatching the paper back. “‘Bearer of light’,” he read. “My father. Lucius means ‘bearer of light’. The Serpent Lord is Voldemort of course. The child is me.”
“Your father is going to give you to Voldemort,” Harry whispered.
“And I shall become his loyalist disciple,” Draco shrugged.
“Choose life over love.”
“I know, Potter,” Draco snapped. “I’ve read the prophecy.”
Harry’s eyes widened painfully and he struggled to think up something to say. To think that Draco had known all along of the prophecy, was so accepting of it… accepting of the fact that he would become a Death Eater, that he would choose that over love… Harry’s love.
Draco was looking rather defiant, but before he could speak, Snape drawled, “Is there a problem?”
“No, sir,” Draco said quietly, watching the thousands of emotions flickering in Harry’s eyes. Hurt, doubt, fear…
“Then I suggest you hurry to your next class,” Snape said dryly.
“I’m going to be late,” Harry mumbled, scooping up his books and hurrying from the room.
Draco swore, grabbed his own books, and hurrying after him. “Harry!” he called, running down the hall. “Harry, wait!”
Pausing just before a staircase, Harry turned. “What?” he asked warily.
“You can’t know what it means, Harry. The whole point of prophecy is that you don’t know what it’s really talking about until after it happens. So whatever you’re thinking it means, it’s probably wrong.”
“It says you’ll leave me,” Harry said thickly.
“Shit, Harry, you think after all the shit I’ve gone through just to have you, I’d willingly leave you?”
“It’s in the prophecy! It’s fate!”
“I don’t believe in fate, remember?”
“And no wonder, with a fate like this.” Harry smiled finally, reluctantly, and Draco was relieved to see it.
“Forget the family prophecy, Harry. I’ve done a fine job of forgetting it my whole life.”
Harry nodded and smiled distractedly. “I’ll try. But I’ve got to go. Trelawney will kill me herself if I’m late again, and trust me, she knows some interesting means of death.”
Draco laughed and Harry hurried up the stairs to Divination.
The prophecy was always a nagging worry in the back of Harry’s mind, as was the situation with Ron, but over the next few days, Draco managed to drive most of his thoughts on both topics away. Harry had never laughed so much as when Draco teased him, never blushed so much as when Draco touched him and he would never remember a happier time than that. Carefree, without scars, nothing but forever to look forward to because that’s all Draco seemed to promise every time he smiled at him.
Being outdoors in any season was something Harry had learned to treasure, especially after a childhood of living in a cupboard. Small spaces made him feel rather claustrophobic, so he was lucky to have a companion in Draco. Hermione and Ron didn’t much like the snow or cold and, in winters past, Harry would spend his free time outside, alone. Now he had Draco with him. Before, he’d use this time alone to think, and he’d always rather thought that he’d resent any intrusion. Now had he been alone, he would just have thought of Draco anyway, and he’d really prefer to look at, touch, or kiss him, so he didn’t much mind the company. In fact, he loved it. Each day, he’d find at least an hour, most times more, to walk around the lake with Draco, always taking a different path so it didn’t seem routine. After all, neither liked routine.
As for Draco… well, quite simply, while he found snow pretty in a purely aesthetic sense, when admired from indoors, he absolutely loathed the way it made his cheeks red (destroying his lovely Malfoy complexion), and the way it inevitably gave him the sniffles (due to a weak constitution inherited from his mother). However, he willingly went out daily with Harry, if only because (though he’d never admit it), he found the other boy adorable with a cold-reddened face and snow on his lashes. He also was quite entranced (entranced? Entranced?) by the way Harry always smiled as if he couldn’t help it whenever Draco complained of the cold.
He was ‘smitten’, as his mother would have said. Draco Malfoy, smitten with The Boy Who Lived. Harry-Golden-Boy-Potter.
His father would kill him!
His thoughts had trailed down this path one day in mid-December, and he scowled. Harry didn’t notice, he was chatting on brightly (his wistful, pensive depressions came less and less now). Draco leapt easily over a snow-covered log, turning and reaching out automatically to catch Harry as he gracelessly tried to do the same. Harry tripped on the log and stumbled straight into Draco, his mittened hands clinging to Draco’s shoulders. His scowl easing somewhat at the way Harry had fallen so easily against his chest, Draco teased, “Clumsy.”
Harry flushed and smiled, interrupting what had been a long, drawn out story, to mumble his thanks. Draco didn’t particularly mind that the narrative had been interrupted, he hadn’t really been listening. He didn’t care what Harry said, as long as he got to hear his voice.
Slipping his hand into Draco’s, Harry walked beside him in silence for a while, approaching the rockier side of the lake.
Inevitably taking up his narrative again, Harry talked for a few minutes more before he finally sucked in a deep breath and said, “And that’s when I decided that the best option would be to just come out and ask you.”
Draco smirked, careful not to let Harry see it, and said, “Ask me what?”
Stopping suddenly and turning towards him, Harry licked his lips nervously. Draco prepared himself for any number of ridiculous questions, from confessions of lurid fantasies to strange diseases.
In a way, Harry’s question was a perverse mixture of both.
“Do you love me?”
Draco, in his defense, had been rather lost in musing thoughts about his father and what his reaction would be if he knew about Harry. His eyes glazed over blankly and he said without thought, “Am I supposed to?”
Harry reacted as though he’d been burned and snatched his hand away. The motion threw him off balance and he stumbled, slipping in the snow and falling over, sliding down a small, snow-covered hill.
“Harry!” Draco cried, slipping down after him. “Are you alright?”
A little dazed, Harry blinked up at him, humiliated to feel his eyes welling up with tears. “I hurt my back,” he said lamely, in an attempt to explain them away.
Draco fell to his knees beside him and said very gently, “Harry, I didn’t mean it like that.”
Harry glanced away. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“You surprised me, that’s all.”
Harry let out a frustrated breath that misted in the air, waiting about thirty seconds before asking, “Well? Have I given you enough time to consider it? It’s not a surprise now. Do you?”
“What do you think?” Draco asked, growing a little irritated. He crossed his arms over his chest.
“I think you’re changing the subject. It’s alright if you don’t, I mean… it’s not like I…love you or anything.” Harry ran a mittened hand through his hair and pretended to find the snow crystallized on the bare tree branches all around fascinating. He was still sprawled on his back in the snow, Draco kneeling beside him.
Draco studied him for a long moment, his irritation replaced with mild amusement as he watched Harry, who was very aware of his stare, slowly turn red. “You don’t?” he asked him quietly. “You don’t love me?”
Embarrassed at having gotten himself into this difficult situation in the first place, Harry reacted angrily, snapping, “How am I supposed to know?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean that I don’t know what the hell this is! Obviously it’s not love, because it’s a rule somewhere that love has to be returned.”
“Not a rule. Sometimes you can love someone who doesn’t love you back.”
Harry snarled. “Oh, lovely, thanks for clearing that up for me, Draco.”
Smiling faintly, Draco shook his head. “But you don’t, Harry.”
Frustration had made him lose track of the conversation. “I don’t what?” he snapped. “I know I don’t love you.”
“No, you don’t love someone who doesn’t love you back.”
Harry sat up quickly, buried his face in his hands, and shouted, “Will you stop talking in circles, Draco? I have no idea what you’re going on about this time, you do it on purpose, I know you do! You probably stay up all night thinking up ways to drive me completely out of my mind!”
Laughing, Draco fell back into the snow, lying beside the imprint Harry had made and suddenly feeling lighter than he had in weeks, which was amazing to him as the last few weeks had been the lightest of his life. He hadn’t been sure how to define what he felt for Harry until that moment, when Harry had asked him if he loved him, and now he could only wonder at how he could have been so blind.
If this wasn’t love, he didn’t know what was.
“Harry,” he called, grabbing Harry’s hand and tugging until Harry weakly let himself be pulled back into the snow. “Shut up.” Draco was grinning wildly, crookedly, and Harry’s eyes narrowed suspiciously.
“I don’t like it when you smile like that,” he said after a moment.
“Like what?” Draco asked, fighting the embarrassing urge to giggle.
“Like you’re drunk. Or losing your mind. Either way, now is not the time. I’m trying to have an intelligent discussion with you.”
Harry was glaring up at the clear blue sky, gritting his teeth in annoyance, and Draco studied his profile for a long moment, his lopsided smile still firmly in place. Finally, when he grew tired of Harry pretending he didn’t notice him staring, Draco slipped his hand out of his glove and reached up, his fingers touching Harry’s cheek lightly. The sudden shock of it, combined with the beckoning heat in Draco’s hands, caused Harry to slowly turn to look at him, finally letting him see deep insecurities underneath his anger and annoyance.
“How could I not?” Draco said quietly, his smile gone now and his expression very solemn.
“Not lose your mind?” Harry whispered.
A fleeting smile twisted one side of Draco’s mouth as he slowly shook his head. “Not love you.”
Harry blinked twice, quickly, and opened his lips to ask another question, but Draco didn’t let him. He crossed the distance between them quickly, gently brushing his lips across Harry’s, their breath mingling as he then kissed Harry’s nose, his cheek, and his forehead. He was grinning again when he pulled away.
His kisses had stolen Harry’s words almost as effectively as Draco’s confession had stolen his breath.
Lying that way for a long time, there didn’t seem the need for any more words. Everything that needed to be said was being said without them, in the way Draco’s fingers stroked Harry’s face, the way Harry couldn’t look away from his eyes.
Finally, Harry glanced away and whispered, “Your hand’s going to freeze.”
Harry reached up and took Draco’s hand, pulling it off his face and Draco curled his numb fingers around Harry’s hand. Smiling a little shyly, Harry brought Draco’s hands to his mouth and brushed his lips against his knuckles.
“You were wrong before,” he whispered against Draco’s hand.
“I’m never wrong,” Draco replied with a smile.
“You were,” Harry insisted.
“When you said I didn’t own you.” Harry smiled slowly, wickedly, as he watched Draco’s eyes widen a little and his lips twitch in a smile. “You’re mine, you know you are, admit it.”
“Only because I want to be,” Draco countered with a smirk, and Harry rolled his eyes, still smiling.
“And I fought so hard against being yours,” he scoffed sarcastically.
“Shut up.” Harry laughed, sitting up and glancing back down at Draco. “Your nose is red and at this rate, you’ll be sniffling for a week. We should go in.”
Draco wanted to argue, loathing to have Harry point out any weakness in his character or physical appearance (and to him, a red nose was definitely a weakness), but he let Harry pull him to his feet anyway. They started back to Hogwarts together in comfortable silence, and Draco put his glove back on and then took Harry’s hand.
It started snowing when they were just leaving the rocky terrain around the lake and Harry let go of Draco’s hand and, laughing over his shoulder, shouted, “Race you back!”
“You little shit,” Draco swore, before taking off after him.
Despite being taller, Harry’s legs were shorter and Draco easily caught up just outside the doors, grabbing the back of Harry’s cloak and tugging sharply enough to make him stumble, swearing. Laughing, Draco pushed past him, the first to spill into the entrance hall, and then he reached back through the doors, caught Harry by the front of his robes and jerked him inside as well, letting the door swing shut behind him. He kissed him almost lazily while the snow melted off them both and left puddles all over the floor.