Draco Malfoy Harry Potter
Romance Slash
Multiple Eras
Philosopher's Stone Chamber of Secrets Prizoner of Azkaban Goblet of Fire Order of the Phoenix Quidditch Through the Ages Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Published: 06/17/2003
Updated: 07/25/2005
Words: 99,146
Chapters: 29
Hits: 317,001

Second Chances


Story Summary:
For the first time in over a decade, Harry Potter crosses paths with Draco Malfoy. Both have changed a great deal, but what do those changes mean to them - and to each other? **slash**

Chapter 21

Chapter Summary:
“Try to understand, Harry. We can’t go back to being friends. Not now. Maybe not ever.”

Damien felt a little guilty as he slid into his seat at the Slytherin table. He had caused a great deal of trouble for some of his classmates who really had no idea what was going on or who was behind it. He and his co-conspirators had not backed down, however. They weren't about to admit they had done anything, and certainly weren't going to admit they had done anything wrong. Potter was a threat and a disgrace. They were doing the school a favour, really.

Just as Damien shoved a large bite of roast into his mouth, he felt a presence behind him. Had he not known better, he would have sworn his Grandfather was standing just behind his chair. Turning around slowly, he met the dark, forbidding gaze of Professor Snape. The look in the man's eyes made Damien's knees turn to jelly.

"Come with me," Snape instructed in that deadly, silky tone that never failed to strike fear into the hearts of his students.

Damien carefully laid his fork aside and forced his legs to carry him out of his seat. From the corner of his eye, he saw the panic etched on the faces of his partners-in-crime and the looks of pity from the rest of the Slytherins. He had a sinking feeling that this might be his last meal - at least his last meal as a Hogwarts student. Somehow he managed to keep his head held high and his feet moving forward as he followed Snape from the Great Hall down to the professor's office in the dungeons.

"Mister Malfoy," Snape said, shutting the office door behind the both of them. "Several of your classmates seem eager to lay the blame for denigrating Professor Potter at your door."

"Do they, sir?" Damien asked, trying his best to look innocent.

"They do indeed. Sit down," Snape commanded, not at all graciously. After Damien took a seat, Severus folded his arms across his chest and leaned ever so slightly against his desk, towering over the boy. "Do you take exception to the fact that Professor Potter has a preference for the company of other men?"

Damien gave a little snort. "Why would I care where he sticks it? As long as my father isn't involved, I really couldn't care less."

"So you aren't concerned at all by Potter's...sexual orientation? It doesn't make you feel threatened or uncomfortable?"

"No, sir. I honestly don't care," Damien repeated. Truthfully, he didn't care that Potter was gay. If his affinity for men had made him an easy target, so much the better, but it had nothing to do with his hating the man.

"Hmm..." Snape paused for a moment, his eyes fixed on Damien's. "So Potter's sexuality isn't the reason why you staged today's incident. There was some other motivation behind it."

"You know the bloody motivation behind it," Damien snarled without thinking. He shot to his feet, his hands clenched into fists and his face contorted with hatred. "The bastard sent my Grandfather to Azkaban! And the Ministry has its collective head so far up Potter's arse that they just believed him. Grandfather never even had a trial!"

Snape tangled one fist in the front of Damien's robes and drew the boy up on his toes as he leaned forward until their noses were almost touching. "Your Grandfather is precisely where he should be," he hissed. "He was jailed immediately because his trial was held some years before you were ever born, boy. He managed to escape from Azkaban then, and has been wanted dead or alive since. I imagine that it was only Potter's intervention that stayed the Ministry's hand when your Grandfather was arrested last month; I can see no other reason why they would have imprisoned him rather than putting him to death. You should be thankful that the Ministry has its head up Potter's arse, and you should be thankful that the venomous nuisance that is your Grandfather is out of your life." He paused, breathing hard and forced his anger down, running through the calming techniques he had learned over the last several years. He disentangled his hand from Damien's robes and shoved the trembling child back into the chair he had been sitting in. "I want to know who else was in on this."

Damien stared at the floor. He knew Snape would eventually find out what he wanted to know. Perhaps if he gave the information willingly his punishment would be less severe. He rapidly spouted off four names, and Snape was not at all surprised that Damien's accomplices were the children of men and women who had sympathised with the Death Eaters.

"You will serve the detention Professor Potter assigned, and an additional week's worth besides. The loss of house points will stand." He paused for effect. "And you will apologise to Professor Potter."

"In public or in private, sir?" Damien asked quietly. His hands were still clenched into fists, but he was too frightened of Snape now to even consider standing up to him.

"A private apology will be sufficient."

"Yes, sir. That's a lot of house points, though, sir."

"Indeed it is. Attacking a teacher in such a manner is a serious offence. Regardless of my, your, or anyone else's opinion, Potter is a Hogwarts Professor and should be treated with respect."

Damien nodded in understanding, but inside he was screaming. He couldn't believe that this man - of all people! - was standing up for Potter and maligning Lucius Malfoy. "May I go now sir?"

"You may return to your dormitory."

Damien slunk out of the room, and Severus shut the door behind him. The professor needed a moment to himself before he began to deal with the other students involved in Damien's plot against Harry Potter.

*** *** ***

Harry avoided dinner in the Great Hall. He knew there was a very good chance that the Slytherins' prank would be the topic of discussion at the evening meal, and he simply wasn't up to dealing with the sideways glances, curious gazes, and shocked stares. Rather than face the Hogwarts rumour mill, he chose to sequester himself in his office with a sandwich and a pot of tea.

After his meager dinner, Harry shifted the tea things aside and drew a single sheet of parchment closer. For a long while, he sat studying the sketch he had found in the Defence classroom earlier in the day. Whoever had drawn it had a great deal of artistic talent; Harry felt it was a real shame to see such talent used to such ill ends.

A knock on the office door drew Harry from his thoughts. "Come in," he called as he slipped the drawing into the top drawer of his desk. The door opened to admit the very person Harry least wanted to see.

"Harry," Oliver greeted with a soft smile. "I heard about what happened today. Are you all right?"

"I'm fine," Harry lied smoothly. He fluffed the feathers on his quill to have something to occupy his hands.

"I haven't had a chance to talk to you since I arrived," Oliver said. As he crossed away from the still open door and rounded the desk, Harry's eyes automatically darted around looking for an escape route. Oliver was mere inches away now, and his nearness was making Harry more than a little nervous. "I wanted to apologise, Harry."

"A..apologise?" Harry stammered, surprised.

Oliver leaned against the solid oak desk, his slouched posture bringing him closer to eye-level with Harry. "I panicked. I never meant to hurt you," he murmured. He reached out a hand to trail his fingertips along Harry's jaw.

Harry looked up into Oliver's eyes, wondering how much of the man's apology was genuine and how much was designed to get Harry back into his bed. Oliver's eyes were hooded, his lips parted ever so slightly. His fingers glided up Harry's jaw to comb through his hair, coming to rest cradling Harry's head.

"I've missed you," Oliver whispered. He leaned down to bridge the distance between himself and Harry, but a sharp rap on the office door stilled him.

Harry turned to face whoever had just saved him from Oliver's nefarious intentions.

"Harry," Draco greeted coolly from the doorway. His eyes held contempt, and Harry felt his heart clench in his chest.

"Draco," Harry managed to reply levelly.

"I was hoping I could speak with you. Privately."

Harry couldn't help feeling relieved. Even being alone with an irate Draco was better than being alone with Oliver Wood. He turned to look at Oliver, silently entreating him to grant Draco's request for private counsel.

"I'll just be going then," Oliver said with a forced smile. "I'll see you later, Harry."

Draco shut the door firmly behind Wood the instant he cleared the threshold. "I just spoke with Severus. He's found out who was behind the attack."

Harry smiled wryly. "You make it sound so much worse than it was, Draco."

"It was bad enough." Draco sighed and leaned back against the closed door. He crossed his arms across his chest and lowered his head. "Damien was involved. There were others, but he was the mastermind. Snape wouldn't tell me how he managed to get the rest of the class to keep silent."

Acting on instinct, Harry rose and rounded the desk, moving to stand beside the other man. "I'm sorry, Draco."

Draco's head snapped up. "You're sorry? You are sorry? You have nothing to be sorry for, Harry." His head dropped forward again. "It is I who should be apologising to you."

Harry laid a hand on Draco's arm. "This is in no way your fault, Draco."

"Rubbish!" Draco snarled. "I should never have.... Well, what's done is done, as they say." Another sigh. "Are you all right?"

"I'm fine," Harry replied automatically. At Draco's unbelieving glare, he lowered his eyes. "All right, I'm not fine, but I will be. It isn't as if they outed me, after all. The entire Wizarding World already knows I'm gay."

"And thinks you're some sort of predator, thanks to the likes of Oliver Wood," Draco spat.

Harry looked up, shocked at the heat in Draco's voice. He suddenly felt the need to explain Oliver's presence in his office. "Draco, what you walked in on - it wasn't what you think."

"Don't presume to know what I think," Draco snapped. "I saw how you looked at him, Harry. And I saw how you looked at me." His voice softened as he continued. "You looked at me like I was some sort of god or guardian angel, like I had just saved you from a fate worse than death."

"He makes me nervous," Harry blurted out, both embarrassed and relieved to have that bit of information out in the open.

Draco unfolded his arms and reached for Harry's hand. "Do I make you nervous, Harry?" he asked gently.

"No," Harry answered honestly. He met Draco's gaze. "You make me feel a great many things, Draco, but 'nervous' isn't one of them."

Draco smiled softly, apparently pleased by Harry's declaration. "Good," he said softly and gave Harry's hand a little squeeze. "It's getting late. I should probably go."

Harry nodded his acknowledgement, but neither man moved. They simply stood, smiling at one another, hands held loosely between them.

Finally, Draco forced himself to move. "I am sorry for what happened, Harry. All of it," he said. He moved forward slightly, shifting his weight from the door to his feet, and Harry stepped back to let him go. Draco opened the door to leave, but then he paused, turning to face Harry once again. He moved to cup Harry's head in one hand and then leaned in to claim Harry's mouth in a brief, possessive kiss. "Good night," he whispered and was gone, leaving Harry to stare after him in confusion.

*** *** ***

As Harry made his way to the Great Hall for breakfast the next morning, his encounters with both Draco and Oliver played over again in his mind. Oliver's intentions had been perfectly clear; it was obvious the man wanted back in Harry's bed. The question was what to do about it. As for Draco, Harry wasn't sure what he was playing at. They hadn't seen one another or even talked for over two months, Draco had been acting strangely towards him since term started, and then last night he had up and kissed him. The man was making no sense whatsoever, and he had Harry thoroughly confused.

Still musing, Harry dropped into a seat at the Head Table, his eyes automatically scanning the assembled students in search of certain faces. At the Gryffindor table, Lauren and Ella Weasley were in some heated discussion with their fair-haired cousin. At the Slytherin table, Damien Malfoy sat with his head propped up on his hand, trying to look bored rather than sleepy. Finally, over at the Hufflepuff table, Adrian Malfoy was looking round with a rather puzzled expression on his face. Harry followed Adrian's gaze, and a similar confused expression crossed his own features as Sera pointedly turned up her nose and stalked past the Slytherin table to join Adrian among the Hufflepuffs.

Harry cast a quick glance at the Headmistress, who was watching the goings on critically. She said nothing, either to the students or the staff, choosing instead to merely observe. Harry followed her example and ignored the unexpected breach of tradition in favour of tucking into his breakfast.

Halfway through the morning meal, Oliver Wood made an appearance in the Hall. Where he had been heretofore, Harry had no idea, but his late arrival meant that he ended up sitting next to Draco at the Head Table. Draco glared at the man, but said nothing. Oliver scowled at Draco in return. Suddenly, Harry felt fairly certain as to why Draco had decided to kiss him the night before. The thought that the kiss might have been a jealous reaction to Oliver's obvious intentions sent a little thrill through Harry's system. Perhaps the situation with Draco was not quite as hopeless as he had thought.

*** *** ***

Harry's morning classes went smoothly, to his relief, and before he knew it lunchtime had rolled around again. Instead of making his way to the Great Hall, Harry headed out of doors. If his calculations were correct, Oliver would be hanging around the broom shed about now, doing a little maintenance work on the school brooms. The idea of being alone with Oliver was still a bit daunting, but he had some things he wanted to say to the other man.

"Oliver?" Harry called as he neared the shed where Oliver was, indeed, working on the brooms.

Oliver looked up from his work and flashed Harry a dazzling smile. "Hullo, Harry. Something I can help you with?"

Harry stood in the doorway, feeling more than a little self-conscious. Something about the way Oliver always looked at him made him feel as if the other man were constantly sizing him up - or undressing him with his eyes. He took a deep breath before speaking. "I wanted to talk with you about last night."

"Oh?" Wood replied, looking intrigued. He set aside the broom he had been working on and gestured for Harry to take a seat on the grass beside him.

Harry shifted from foot to foot, weighing his options. Finally, he settled onto the grass beside Oliver. "I was thinking about what you said last night. When you apologised, and when you said that you've missed me."

"I am sorry, Harry," Oliver insisted. "And I do miss you." He reached out to caress Harry's cheek, and for a moment Harry allowed the contact, the earnestness in Oliver's expression touching him despite himself.

"Oliver," Harry said gently, guiding the other man's hand away from his face and holding it loosely between them. "I believe that you are sorry for what happened, and I forgive you. I do. But I've thought about...a lot of things, really. What happened between us, and how it made me feel, and what's happened to me since. I've thought about what we could be to one another. You're a good man, Oliver, and whoever you give your heart to will be very fortunate. You have a lot to offer. But you can't give me what I want, what I need. And I can't give you my heart, because I've already given it to someone else. So, you see, we can't go back to where we were before things went wrong. We can't be lovers, Oliver. But I would like it if we could be friends again."

Oliver swallowed hard and looked away. "It's Malfoy, isn't it?" he asked, daring to glance back at Harry. Harry didn't answer the question verbally, but his refusal to meet Oliver's eyes was answer enough. "I understand," Oliver said, his voice hardly more than a whisper. He pulled his hand from Harry's. "You can't choose who you love. At least that's what my Gran always said. I'm so sorry I fucked things up, Harry. You'll never know how much."

"I'm sorry, too," Harry answered honestly. He reached out to touch his friend in a gesture of comfort and reassurance, but Oliver flinched away from him.

"Try to understand, Harry," Oliver pleaded, his voice threatening to break. "We can't go back to being friends. Not now. Maybe not ever."

Oliver turned his attention back to the broom he was working on, grateful for the excuse to hide his face so that Harry couldn't see his emotions. Harry, mercifully, left without another word.

Author notes: Thank you so much to Azhure, Kira, and LarkNorth287 for the help on this chapter. I really couldn't do this without you. :)
Thanks also to everyone who leaves feedback - I couldn't do it without you, either.