Prophecies and Potions

Angyl and Rina

March 2004

Disclaimers: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by J.K. Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

WARNING: Adult Content

summoneo (submoneo) -ere to remind secretly

Chapter 1

In the summer between sixth and seventh year Lucius Malfoy finally fucked up. Of course since he was a Malfoy, when he did, he fucked up royally. Voldemortís chief lieutenant met with a nasty fall from grace when he failed to capture the spy in the midst of the Death Eaters and had actually found himself cast in the role of traitor. The sorry sod actually met with a repeated Cruciatus curse, which finally caused his heart to give out in the end, not the most unpleasant way to die, really, when one considered just what the Dark Lord was capable of.

Voldemort had actually been somewhat kind to his former lieutenant. Heíd even been so good as to give Narcissa and Draco something to bury. His body was unceremoniously dumped on the steps of Malfoy Manor. Not that anyone attended the funeral of a former inmate of Azkaban, no matter how old and powerful the family he came from was. Why, Lucius Malfoy was really no better than his wifeís brother, Sirius Black. A common criminal with an old, pureblood name. After all, no sooner had he been acquitted of all charges against him and released from Azkaban then did he go back to being Voldemortís right hand puppet once more. And heíd expected his only son and heir to follow in his footsteps by towing the Ďparty lineí so to speak.

However, if Voldie figured that Draconis Severus Leonis Malfoy was going to play the good son and follow blindly along the moldering pile of decaying flesh had another thing coming. Unlike his father, Draco had brains to go along with the looks. Oh, if Lucius hadnít been such a prat and had lived, Draco would have joined Ďthe family businessí simply because he wasnít about to lose his inheritance. After all, money might not buy happiness, but it made one feel like they could.

But that was neither here nor there, as Lucius was now dead, and Draco took after his Black mother in the brains department. He wasnít stupid enough to back a loser, and the very fact that Harry fucking Potter survived time and again was a fairly strong clue that Voldemort was going down sooner or later. Of course Draco realized that insulting the boy who lived wasnít exactly the best way to ingratiate himself to the side of the light, so he did the next best thing. He threw himself on Dumbledoreís mercy.

And ended up a spy in his own house, much the same way, he found out, that Snape was in the house of Voldemort. Now all Draco had to do was survive the year in Slytherin, and he could tell his former housemates to go stuff themselves up Naginiís arse and come out of the closet, so to speak, for the side of the light, well okay, not the side of the light but the winning side. Draco Malfoy was many things but a goody-goody wasnít one of them. He just wanted to be on the victorious side not the one that was bound to get pounded into the muck once Potter finally managed to get it together enough to control his wizardry.

And speaking of, why, oh why, did Dumbledoreís perverse sense of humor have to rear its ugly head by making Harry bloody pain in the arse Potter Dracoís guardian of secrets, his summoneo? The doddering old fool was trying to mend house rivalries, he just knew it, and what better place to start than the second generation of arch rivals - Draco and Potter. Why, their rivalry was almost as legendary as Snape and Black, and almost as lethal!

And Draco couldnít forget that Harry was Dumbledorkís golden boy, the savior of the wizarding world, etcetera. Maybe the old fool was bucking to have Harry save his Ďsoulí or some such rot. Draco didnít believe in souls. He didnít even believe in religion per se. Oh, he swore to ancient deities, to the forefathers of wizardy; he even sometimes took ĎGodí in vain, but he didnít really believe in all that muggle mumbo jumbo.

The closest thing he could call religion was a belief in reincarnation. Now that he did believe in. When you died, you became a ghost, or you came back as someone else. Of course, like any good Slytherin Draco also believed in keeping his options open, thus the invoking of names, deities and even God. Never hurt to hedge your bet.

But that was neither here nor there. The fact was that Dumbledore figured he couldnít act for Draco the way that he acted for Snape, and who better to stand in his place to hear the intelligence Draco gathered but Potter, star player in this whole little melodrama. It was almost enough to make Draco think twice about this damned foolish idea of his.

"Why me?" Harry asked, aghast, as he stared up at Dumbledore. "I understand why it canít be anyone from Slytherin, but me?" He cast a disgusted look over at Draco, who was standing in the corner.

"Who better than you, my dear boy?" Dumbledore twinkled. "After all, no one would suspect a Gryffindor, let alone Harry Potter of keeping Draco Malfoyís secrets. Your... rivalry... is the stuff of legend."

"Heís an idiotic git who canít keep his mouth shut or his nose out of trouble. You might as well let Voldemort fry me now; Iím as good as dead anyway," Draco informed the headmaster and Snape icily, not at all pleased but unable to do a damned thing about it. After all, Dumbledore was calling all the shots, and he knew that Draco knew it. Which meant Draco had to suck it up and live with it. But he didnít have to be nice about it, oh no, not at all. "Iíll wager heís going to go running back to the Weasel and that mu..." The sharp look from Dumbledore and the snarl from Potty had Draco hastily reconsidering his words, but one could barely tell his speech was interrupted, "-ugglebornand tell them everything once heís been dismissed."

"Five points from Slytherin, Mr. Malfoy," Professor Snape muttered, "for not keeping a civil tongue in your head in front of the Headmaster," Snape stressed and then continued more quietly, "and for acting as stupidly as a Gryffindor, rushing into things without thinking them through."."

Harry bristled both at Malfoyís comment and Snapeís snide remark. "Youíd like that, wouldnít you," he snarled, glaring at the blond Slytherin. "Youíd love it if I said something to Hermione or Ron and you got killed because it would give you the last laugh!"

"Awh, is itty bitty scarhead all upset because heíd suffer from a momentary pang of conscience if the ickle nasty Slytherin scum died due to his thoughtlessness?" Draco snarled. "Donít let it stop you now; it certainly hasnít in the past.

"Headmaster, with all due respect, Iíd rather take my chances alone. Iím well aware that Iíve garnered ill favor because of the behavior I was forced to display for the sake of my late and not so dearly departed father and for others who were and still are keeping tabs on me.

"Iíve no illusions as to what Potter and the others think of me, but then what do you expect from the holier than thou contingent with their moral certitude that they are the only possible people who have had to give great sacrifices for the cause of good? Their sanctimonious superiority makes my stomach heave, and to be quite frank Iíd rather trust my life to a bunch of backstabbing traitors I know than a goody-two-shoes who thinks heís the only one whoís suffered and that Iím the scum of the earth." Draco was rather proud of the way he said the last as if it were merely a statement of fact not something that caused him no end of despair.

Ď Ď"With all due respect for your decision, Headmaster," Snape piped in, "I think perhaps young Malfoy is right. Better the snakes you know not to trust than someone whoís proven himself to not care if you live or die, and has, in fact, stated so on numerous occasions," the potions master continued mildly.

Seething with the sanctimonious drivel Malfoy and Snape were spoutingóthe both of them, acting as if they were the wounded parties here when all they had ever done was to try to make his life miserableóHarry bit his tongue to keep from letting them have it.

Taking a deep breath and counting to ten, he exhaled, looking at the headmaster and trying to keep his tone calm. "I only asked why you chose me, sir. I never said I wouldnít do it."

"I chose you, Harry, because despite the differences you and Mr. Malfoy have, you are more alike than not. Now donít roll your eyes, and you, young Draco, need not make that noise. The fact is you have both lived through great difficulties and come out of them the stronger for it. And you are both leaders of men, young men whose beliefs give them the strength to make difficult choices that may impact the lives of many.

"Think on it long and hard, Harry. If Draco were everything he has made you believe him to be these past six years, why would he choose to spy on his own house and help in the war effort against Voldemort, betraying everything the Malfoy name has embodied for so long? If he were truly such a person, why would he chose the side of the light over the side of the dark where power is so much more easily attainable?

"And while you think on that, Harry, think on another thing. Money doesnít buy you everything, but it can sometimes be used to cover up some very evil things.

"You must also consider, Draco, that sometimes wounds are not physical; sometimes the greatest hurts can be inflicted without ever laying a hand on a person.

"I have much responsibility to take for the way both you young men were raised. I did what I did for the greater good, and though it was not a fair thing to do, it was the only choice I had. Neither of you is quite what the other perceives you to be. I think that you might be surprised by what you find out about each other," Dumbledore admitted softly.

"Now, Harry, Draco, you have classes to return to. Professor Snape will provide you both an alibi. Draco, you shall be tutoring Harry in potions three times a week and once on the weekend in Professor Snapeís private lab. In this way we can kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. You, Harry, shall have the help in potions that you need, and Draco will have a contact outside of Slytherin to monitor his wellbeing. Professor Snape will arrange for the lab and inform you of the dates and times. Now off you go."

Oh joy, Harry sighed to himself, ignoring Snapeís sneer as he mumbled, "Yes, sir," to the headmaster and walked out of the office, Draco following behind. Once the door was closed, he turned and looked back over his shoulder, wondering just what was in it for the blond to make him do such an out of character thing.

Draco sniffed the air delicately and then wrinkled his nose perfectly, a small moue of displeasure crossing his features. "My goodness, what is that awful stench? Why... I do believe itís a Gryffindor actually attempting to think!" he continued snidely. "Donít try to tax your pitiful excuse for a brain, Scarhead; youíve still got to make it through potions later on," Draco finished with a condescending smirk and swirled past the star Gryffindor with a flourish of school robes that would do Professor Snape proud.

Secretly Draco was simply relieved to be out of there. Confession was tiring on the soul, even if it was purported to be good for it. And then to have Dumbledore intimate that which Draco fought so desperately to hide... it had nearly unhinged him. That particularly dirty little secret would remain his and his alone, thank you very much, Albus Dumbledore!

Raking a hand through his black hair so that it stood up more than ever, Harry reminded himself of what Dumbledore had said and refrained from grabbing Malfoy by the neck and throttling him. All right, if he couldnít do that, heíd just get his another wayóheíd ignore the bastard even if it killed him too.

 

 

Draco gingerly accepted the potion vial that Snape handed him and glanced in the fireplace mirror. He looked like hell. Actually he looked worse than hell. How far the Slytherin prince had fallen, he thought ironically.

"I take it youíve learned the errors of your ways, Draconis?" Snape chuckled dryly. "Drinking by oneís self only leads to sorry drunken states and hangovers the next morning."

"But he made Potter my Summoneo ," Draco whined. "Why not just hand me over to Voldie right now and put me out of my misery once and for all!"

"Come now, Draco, ,Professor Dumbledore has face in the little prat so we must as well," Severus sneered but then relented a bit. "So Potter is your Summoneo, itís not the end of the world. After all, the headmaster could have chosen someone like Weasley or Granger. Potter, at least, is bearable."

"Yes, yes, I know. Prince Perfect can do no wrong,etcetera, etcetera. Heís a sanctimonious prat and too damned beautiful for my own peace of mind!"

"That I did not need to know about, thank you all the same. Now drink your potion. You have a tutoring lesson with the heartthrob of the wizarding world," Severus replied with a look of distaste.

"But, Harry, having Malfoy tutor you? Bet you a galleon he teaches you everything wrong so you fail," Ron muttered as the pair of them walked the hallways toward Snapeís classroom. "Why couldnít Hermione do it?"

"Dunno rightly," Harry answered, giving a small shrug. "I suppose Snape did it to torture me or something, and donít worry; Iíll double check everything he goes over with me."

They reached the door to the class, and Harry sighed. "See you at dinner?" he asked.

"Of course," Ron smiled. "And donít worry; between the lot of us, weíll undo any damage Malfoy does."

"Thanks." Giving a quick grin, Harry schooled his features and opened the door. "Here as ordered, sir," he commented, seeing Snape and Malfoy in deep congress in the far corner of the room - probably trading spy secrets or some such rot.

"Very well, Mr. Potter," Snape replied and then spoke a little lower for Draco alone. "I shall be in my study should you need anything, Draconis. Perhaps you should start by explaining to our resident celebrity just what being a summoneo entails and then go from there?"

"Yes, Uncle Severus," Draco murmured dutifully. All he really wanted to do was crawl back into bed and sleep for a week. Hangover potions tasted like shite and left the stomach feeling even more unsettled than the alcohol that caused the upset in the first place.

"Well, are you going to stand in the doorway looking like an arse, or are you going to come inside and shut the door?" Draco finally growled loudly enough for Potter to hear.

"I think youíve got the corner on the looking like an arse part," Harry answered, pushing the door shut behind him. "Planning on tutoring me in that as well?"

"Moldering entrails, you are such a prat, Potter! And Dumbledore really expects me to trust you enough to to spill my guts to you on a weekly basis? Heís "completely off his rocker!" Malfoy sighed. "You know, you had the option to say no, and it would have saved us both from this... fiasco waiting to happen.

"No offense, Potter, but while you might inspire trust from those simpering fans of yours and your lackeys, there isnít a Slytherin alive whoíd believe you would actually willingly be responsible for their wellbeing and quite possibly their life. Your track record is rather... bad... when it comes to saving Slytherins. Any other house but and thatís fine and dandy, but hey, whatís another dead snake, right?"

Harryís eyes narrowed and he clenched his hands into fists to keep from going for his wand to hit Draco with a silencing curse. "The only Slytherins Iíd like to see gone are the ones who are supporting Voldemort and killing off innocent Muggles and wizards," he ground out.

"And yet Iíve never actually done either, and still youíd like to see me dead, wouldnít you? Guilt by association. My father served Voldemort, so I must too, and since my father was a Muggle murderer, I must be as well. Never mind the fact that perhaps the reason I acted the way I did was simply to survive the bastard in question," Draco spat out.

"Oh but wait, Iím a Malfoy, therefore my life had to be perfect while yours was a story that would make little Orphan Angie cry," Draco continued, trying to use a muggle euphemism heíd heard once, along time ago, but not sure if he got it right.

"Oh, so this is where I hear how horrible it was being the prince of Malfoy Manor and the pride and joy of Slytherin House?" Harry spat. "Spare me the soap opera, Malfoy, and while youíre at it, fuck off. Never once have I seen you do something out of common decency, so hearing that all the shite youíve pulled was just an act runs pretty thin."

"Well, at least you never had a fucking father who flew into rages when you spilled your bloody milk and beat you bloody because of it," Draco snarled and then clamped his hands over his mouth. "Fuck. Just... forget it, Potter, Iíll take my chances alone. Itís how itís always been. Itís been a slice of hell, letís not do it again anytime soon."

Harry bit back the retort that he had never had a father at all and that the Dursleys had made his life their own unique form of a living hell. "The fuck you will," he snapped.

Draco stopped, his hand on the door to Snapeís study. Shoulders sagging, he rested his head against the wood and suddenly felt very old and very tired. "Do you have any idea how much energy it takes to be such a consummate actor that not even you remember who you really are anymore?" he whispered almost to himself.

Straightening his spine slowly, Draco sucked in a few deep breaths and when he turned around again, he was once more Draco Malfoy, Prince of Slytherin, in bold, big letters, instead of the real Draco none of the entire staff and student body had ever seen, save Snape. "Donít even bother with the charade, Potter. Itís not as if you actually care one way or another about what happens to me and besides, Iím still the same prat you tried to hex with boils, the git who tried to terrify you by dressing up as a dementor, your arch rival at quidditch. Remember?"

Visibly grinding his back teeth together in frustration, Harry crossed his arms over his chest and looked Draco square in the eyes. "Because, no matter how many times I may have wished otherwise, you donít deserve to die. Even if youíre doing this because you see which way the windís blowing rather than out of any true sense of right and wrong, you donít deserve for that to happen, especially alone."

"I see which way the windís blowing?" Draco laughed. "Oh, thatís rich! You are such an idiot, Potter. Why the hell do you think I wanted to be your friend back in first year before I realized what a bigoted prat you really are? I already knew which way I wanted the wind to blow... anywhere that got me as far away from my fucked up family as possible.

"The only good thing Lucius Malfoy ever did in his sorry, pathetic life was give me a godfather who was a potions master. That way I could just drink a potion and hide the bruises. Well, that and being such a total arse that in the end even Voldie was so tired of him that he killed the bastard off. Never thought Iíd be grateful to Voldemort for anything, but I am for that.

"Now if youíve quite finished, Iíll go and tell Professor Snape that this was a waste of time, that youíre hopeless in potions, and that Iím transferring to Durmstrang to get as far away as possible from the lot of you raving lunatics!"

"Iíve got a better idea," Harry snarled. "Why donít you give up this stupid idea that you can be a spy and sod off to live your happy little life. Between you and Snape, itís been drummed into me how apparently Iím a useless arse who only makes things worse when I try to help, so thereís no point in me trying anymore, is there? Maybe I should just go let fucking Voldemort cast Avada Kadavra on me and be done with it!" He was shouting by the end, and honestly he didnít care, being thoroughly sick of Draco Malfoyís pity party.

"Anyone ever tell you youíre a drama queen, Potter?" Draco asked mildly, thoroughly taken aback by the other teenís sudden outburst. And impressed, if he were to admit it to himself.

"And did you ever stop to consider that without Professor Snape ragging on you, youíd probably end up with an impossibly swelled head? Savior of the Wizarding World, Gryffindor Golden Boy, Albus Dumbledoreís star pupil, front page photo of the Daily Prophet and letís not forget Pin-up boy for Teen Witch Weeklyís hunks of the wizarding world issue for the past three years. Donít you ever get tired of being Saint Harry?" he asked, honestly curious. Of course his motivations for ragging on Harry had been entirely different, but that was not a topic that Draco cared to discuss at the moment.

"Every single day of my life." That heíd admitted it came as a surprise to Harry, that heíd said it to Draco Super Ego Malfoy shocked him. "Do you think I asked for any of this? Do you think I want any of it? Being chased around like some - some boy band idol or treated like the second coming of Merlyn or something because I happened to live? Iíd trade it all to - to..." He shook his head and looked away, his green eyes dark with memories.

"And do you think I wouldnít trade all the Malfoy wealth and fortune to have a father who showed he loved me with a hug and not the back of his fist?" Draco replied quietly. "You donít want to be the Boy who Lived, I never wanted to be the son of a Death Eater, and yet here we are, both stuck in the roles fate gave us. So tell me, Potter, are we really so different after all?" Draco asked quietly before leaving the room. Perhaps they both needed time to cool off and re-evaluate. Perhaps, and Draco was completely loathe to admit this, even in the quiet of his own mind, perhaps Dumbledore was right, and they had more in common than not.

Chapter 2

"Have you heard, Draco? The Death Eaters took out a village of Muggles last night. Burned the houses to the ground and left the bodies piled in the center of town. Theyíd all been killed with unforgivables," Gregory Goyle chortled, happy to tell his Ďbossí some juicy new gossip.

"Father says that You Know Who might actually be ready to start his war at last and that the older ones of us, those past our majority, should expect a call to join.

"Mother doesnít want me to give up my education, but Father told her to... oh rough break, Draco, your motherís in charge now until you reach your majority, isnít she? That means we, me and Crabbe, will get to be Death Eaters before you."

Draco made the appropriate noises and tried not to look like he was about to be sick. A whole town of people dead just because they were Muggles and in the way of Voldemortís army. He might not have much good to say about Muggles in general, having never really met any, but the idea of killing them just because they didnít have any magic was...

"I forgot one of the textbooks I borrowed from Professor Snape," he lied smoothly, needing to get away. "And I promised to return it after class today. Iíd best fetch it. You can have my sweet if you like, Goyle."

Quidditch practice had run on longer then expected, making Harry late for the evening meal, and he was reaching for the door to the Great Hall to pull it open when it was pushed out from the inside, almost smacking him in the face. "Hey, careful there," he laughed, before sobering at seeing just who was coming out. "Malfoy. What in the name of heavenís wrong with you?" Dracoís pale complexion looked positively green.

Waving Potter away, Draco managed to walk sedately to the set of doors that led outside of the castle proper. Once outside he bolted towards the woods near Hagridís hut, knowing that no one could see him heave his guts out back there. He made it with moments to spare, the torturous mental images of people dying at wand point, their screams and confusion conjured in his head by his lurid imagination and the knowledge that he had known, had associated with the people responsible, making him lose what little dinner heíd managed to consume.

"Here." Harry conjured up a rag, dipping it in the spring outside the hut and handed it over once Draco was done throwing up.í "Are you okay to stand, or do you want to sit down?"

"I... I need to speak to the Headmaster," Draco replied faintly, his stomach still doing back flips at the thought of all those defenseless muggles, especially the women and children, beign subjected to unforgiveables and the cruel amusements of the Death Eaters in Voldemortís army. "Or better yet, Professor Snape. You really shouldnít have followed me out here; people might get suspicious if they see you hanging around me. But... thank you," the blond continued, not realizing heíd slipped out of his icy shell and had acted like a regular person instead of an insufferable git.

"Nobody saw, and if they did, they probably thought I was going to try to kick your arse again," Harry murmured, shaken by the sight of Draco looking like this. It made him seem human, and that pulled at Harryís conscience.

"How about we get you into Hagridís? Iíll go back and get my..." He trailed off, realizing he was going to have to trust Draco in this. "My cloak and I can get you in without anyone noticing us."

"Why are you being so nice all of a sudden, Potter?" Malfoy snapped, more out of habit than anything else. "Sorry, Iím just a little off balance right now. Weíre supposed to be playing nice, I remember now," Draco murmured sarcastically after taking a deep breath. "Very well, help me into Hagridís, not that I expect him to welcome me with open arms after the things Iíve said and done, but you donít have to get that cloak of yours; I can make it on my own Ď. Besides, what good would some stupid cloak do? I mean itís not like an invisibility cloak or any..." Dracoís eyes widened. "Bollocks, you have an invisibility cloak? How did you manage to get your hands on one of them? Even I donít have one, and I can get my hands on almost anything I want!"

"If you canít take my being nice, blame it on the pathetic Gryffindor hero complex," Harry suggested, though there wasnít any malice in his tone. Being snide to Malfoy when the other teen looked like hell would have been like kicking a puppy.

"And if someone asks you why you need to see Dumbledore when you supposedly hate him?" Harry asked. "Trust me, itíll be safer this way. What - what happened?"

"Goyle was... boasting about something. I need to know if it really happened or if it was a trap to catch me out. I donít think Greg is bright enough to do it, but there are others who would put him up to it, and I need to know if thatís what it is. Iíve never had to watch my back so carefully before. Until dear old daddykins kicked the bucket, the Malfoy name was pretty sacrosanct in certain circles. Beyond reproach.

"This could be a test of my loyalty, and dammit, I need to know if Iím being set up."

"Címon, then." Vanishing the rag, Harry waited until Draco straightened himself up, and then walked him around the corner to knock on Hagridís door. "Weíll straighten this all out once we talk to Dumbledore."

"Evening, Harry!" Hagrid smiled, opening the door, then blinking in surprise when he saw the other boy outside. "And Draco. What brings you two out here this evening?"

Hating to lie to his friend, Harry opted for a near truth. "I came upon Malfoy here puking his guts out behind your place. Probably had too much to drink or something. Mind if he stays here until I can get him back? Donít want Snape taking points from Gryffindor because his precious baby got hurt out here."

Rolling his eyes, Malfoy pulled himself up to his full height, which were actually inches taller than Harry. "I would never stoop to the state of inebriation to which you have accused me, Potter. My apologies, Hagrid, but I was hit by a stomach turner hex, probably by the Weasel or Finnegan. Iím perfectly capable of finding my own way back, but Potter here decided to go all white knight on me. Pathetic, really," Draco practically sneered, the mask he was used to wearing around all people falling firmly into place without any effort at all.

Hagrid frowned before resting one huge hand on Dracoís shoulder and guiding him toward a chair. "Now that wonít do at all. Just you settle down here and have a spot of tea, which should have you right as rain in no time. Harry, were you going to get Madame Pomfrey?"

"No, Hagrid. I was going to get a potion and bring it back in case Malfoy became sick again, then get him back." He gave a wry smile. "

"Bloody Gryffindors, never know when to quit," Draco muttered. He didnít want to be indebted to Potter, didnít really want to see this side of the other boy - the kindness and compassion directed towards him. It was far too alluring, far too easy to believe that Potter actually meant it, far too simple to fall headlong into the oblivion of those brilliant green eyes.

"Thank you, Hagrid, I shall be happy to accept a cup of tea, if only to get this insufferable git to leave."

When Hagrid frowned, Harry only laughed, actually seeing the humor in the situation. "Slytherin gratitude, itís a double edged sword, Hagrid. Mind you donít get near the wrong side of it.

"Malfoy, donít get pissy while youíre here, or Fang will take a bite out of you." With that, Harry was out the door and racing back toward the school, trying not to think of what could have been horrible enough to make Draco Malfoy lose his meal.

After pouring the water in the pot, Hagrid looked over at the obviously ill at ease boy, not particularly thrilled to see him here but always willing to give any Hogwarts student another chance, even one so obviously obnoxious as Draco Malfoy. "Would you be wanting sugar with that?"

"I... Iíd like to say something to you. Something that Iíve wanted to say for some time but I couldnít because I was afraid it would get back to my father," Draco said suddenly, ignoring the question about the sugar.

"í Ď I would like to apologize for losing you Norbert and the way I acted around Umbridge. I never meant for you to get hurt in the process, nor did I want you to be sacked. Youíve never been anything but nice to me and didnít deserve my past behavior."

Hagrid blinked in surprise. "Well now, thatís all right. Much as I minded it at the time, it was for the best. It wouldnít have done Norbert any good to be cooped up here with me. Heís happier now." His expression changed to one of sad melancholy.

"And he might have tried to snack on Fang," Draco pointed out logically. "A braver and more loyal dog youíd never find, Hagrid," the blond continued, ignoring for the moment that he knew just how cowardly the dog could actually be. It was obvious that Hagrid loved his giant of a dog, so a little compliment, even one that was a white lie, couldnít hurt, could it?

Reaching out to pat the huge dog, Hagrid smiled, though heíd looked momentarily horrified at the thought that Norbert might have eaten Fang by accident. "Thatís right true, Draco. I never figured you for one who liked animals. But then again, you were rather good with him in first year when you had to go into the Forbidden Forest with me," Hagrid mused out loud

"íI... was never allowed any pets, so Iím not very good with them, but it doesnít mean that I donít like animals.í. Heís rather smaller than I remember, but heís still quite the huge creature, isnít he?" Draco replied nervously, wondering just where Potter had gotten to. He was half convinced that the monstrous dog might actually try and eat him!

"Thatís a shame, it is." Hagrid called Fang forward and had him sit in front of Draco. "Heís a big Ďun, but once heís your friend, he wonít let nuthiní happen to you. Just let him sniff your hand, then when he lets you know itís okay, pat him aní youíll have a friend in next to no time.

"Fang, this hereís Draco, now be nice."

Doing as the half giant instructed, Draco began running through the litany of unspeakables and unforgivables he knew, trying to figure out which one would be the best way to dispatch that prat Potter for leaving him here alone with a monstrous dog and a half giant that was far too friendly for Dracoís own peace of mind.

Here he was, minding his own business, just trying to right a few of the wrongs heíd been forced to commit, and now he found himself drinking horrific tea and patting a dog that made a hippogriff look small. Potter really and truly had to die for this.

Fang eyed Draco coolly, staring him down as he sniffed the extended hand, then finally deigned to give it a long, slobbering lick, indicating he was adequate.

For the first time Draco was actually grateful for his less than pleasant homelife as it had taught him how to school his features into perfect neutrality. Which meant that his total revulsion at being slimed by monster doggy drool never showed.

Having finally made it back to the castle and through the Gryffindor common room where it seemed everyone wanted to speak to him, Harry managed to grab his cloak from his trunk and stuff it under his robes. Promising heíd be back soon to help Neville with his Charms homework, he dashed out again, waving distractedly to Ron and Hermione and wondering just what the hell he was doing.

Once outside, he flipped the cloak over himself, deciding that going unseen was better than risking anyone catching sight of him going back to Hagridís again. Panting from all his running, Harry swiped his damp hair back off his brow as he slipped inside the cottage, only to be greeted by the unlikely sight of Fang licking Dracoís hand while Hagrid looked on approvingly. Stunned, he let the cloak slip off his shoulders, still watching the scene before him, well aware that Fang was a better judge of character (sadly) than Hagrid.

"Potter, ahh, glad to see you, Hagrid here was introducing me to Fang again as I havenít really seen much of him since first year and that night in the Forbidden Forest," Draco babbled, tentatively patting the giant behemothís head. Back then he probably could have ridden Fang like a small pony, Draco thought with a panicked chuckle.

"So, I, ah, thank you for the tea and the introduction, Hagrid. Again, I really am sorry about Norbert."

"Kind of you to say so, Draco. I hope youíre feeling better soon," Hagrid answered, rising and patting the boy on the shoulder. "Now you get him back safe and sound, Ďarry."

"Of course," was all Harry could think of to say. "Shall we, Malfoy?" He motioned toward the door, holding the cloak out so that they could both fit under it.

In hindsight Draco would have to admit he panicked. He, Draconis Severus Leonis Malfoy had an all out willy raising panic attack. "On second thought this is really a very bad idea, Potter. You donít know the way to Slytherin; I canít be seen with you and..." and I canít get under that damned fabric with you when I bloody well know our bodies are going to be pressed groin to arse or some such, and thereís no way Iíll be able to hide... "Just kill me now and be done with it, please."

Looking at Draco curiously, Harry shook his head. "We arenít going to Slytherin, Malfoy; weíre going to Dumbledoreís office. I have the password - for emergency use - and I suppose this counts as an emergency. You wonít be seen with me; Iíll drop you off at the library or somewhere you can come out of without suspicion. Now stop prattling and get under the cloak."

Groaning, Draco actually considered throwing himself on Fangís mercy but knew that for once in his illogical life the Gryffindor golden boy was right. Curse him. "All right then, just donít cop a feel or anything, Potter, or Iíll think you have a thing for me," Malfoy muttered, trying to bluster his way out of his discomfort.

"Not much of a problem there," Harry muttered, wondering where in the hell that had come from. Had Draco heard anything about... No, it couldnít be, just more sniping, that was all. Letting the cloak fall closed over them both, Harry took a step toward the school and found, unlike sharing the space with Ron or Hermione or even both of them, moving with Draco underneath with him was difficult. "Do we need to sing a marching cadence?" he hissed, looking over at the other boy, who looked as if he might have a stroke. "You feeling sick again?"

"No, no, Iím fine," Draco replied, his mind searching for and finally finding a likely excuse. "Iím just feeling a little claustrophobic. Sharing oneís clothing is a new experience for me." Well except for those times when his father was going for good Public Relations or was actually in a nice mood and heíd let Draco snuggle under the long fur-lined cape he wore in the cold months. If only it could have been a steady reality instead of the illusion it truly was.

"You do this all the time, donít you? You and the Weasel? It explains a lot over the past six years, thatís for sure. But I suppose since youíre my summoneo now, Iíll return the favor and keep your secret about this, though what Professor Snape wouldnít give to know about this thing," he smirked, tugging at the cloth of the cloak. "It would explain a great many questions he has about you."

Harry rolled his eyes heavenward. "You wish, pervert. Suffice to say that Hermione has been under here at least as much as Ron has."

"Ooh, youíre into threesomes, then? Whoíd have guessed it - Harry Potter, a kink monster!"

"Youíre beginning to make me wish Iíd left you sitting out there in your own puke," Harry growled. "Trust you to take friendship and turn it into something twisted."

"Sounds like a typical Slytherin friendship to me," Draco said with a shrug of his shoulders, letting the subject drop. Seeing as how he only had his own experience in what Ďfriendshipí was all about, he couldnít really give expert testimony as to what it was to be friends with someone or be a friend in return. All he understood was power games thinly veiled in social niceties.

"But feel free to return me to Hagridís hut, if you wish. Like I said, I can take care of myself."

"You know, the more you keep trying to make me sod off, the more stubborn Iím going to get," Harry sighed, knowing it was the truth and annoyed with himself because of it.

"So if I were to go all helpless and fannish on you, fluttering my eyelashes and offering myself up to ĎHeroí Potter as some sort of a sexual conquest, youíd leave me alone?" Draco replied hopefully. "Shall I swoon at your feet now and offer to let you ravish me?"

Harry laughed despite himself. "Too late for that, Malfoy. Iíd know it was an act, so it wouldnít work. Now come on, letís get you to Dumbledoreís office so we can find out whatís going on."

"I... if you just get me into Dumbledoreís office, I can find my own way back, or Iím sure the Headmaster could think of a way to get me back to Slytherin without being seen," Draco said suddenly. He found himself actually enjoying the banter he and Potter seemed to have developed, and he was loathe to expose the Gryffindor to Slytherinís very different sort of friendships and rivalries.

Harry shook his head and gave a small smile. "Door to door service, Malfoy. Deal with it."

"Even if the rescuee doesnít require it?" Draco snapped and then sighed.

"Look, Potter, I know you donít like me, and I know you probably never will, but this past while where we actually didnít try to actively kill one another has been... restful. I have no desire to actually have it change. Sniping in public to maintain a cover is actually amusing, and knowing I donít have to watch my back around you anymore is rather a pleasant change of events. Besides, I know where you go, Granger and the Weasel will follow, so thatís three less Gryffindorks I have to worry about. I donít want that to change, all right?"

"It is easier only having Voldemort to worry about," Harry said dryly, realizing that this... truce had made things easier at Hogwarts. "Why do you think it would change? Until this is over, Iíd say weíre pretty much in the same boat."

"Because despite what you think you know about me, there are some things that I am very much ashamed of having to have had participated in. I may not have taken the Death Eater mark yet, but with Lucius Malfoy as my father I wasnít exactly... innocent," Draco confessed quietly. "Maybe I donít want you to think less of me than you already do."

Harry stopped walking and turned to look at Draco, trying to see behind the mask the other boy claimed to wear and his own resentment. "You know, there was a time when I would have said that wasnít possible, but now..." He paused. "Itís your life, Malfoy. I canít force you to do anything - except stay alive of course." The last was said with a bit of a smile.

"Youíre a Gryffindor through and through, Potter. Iíll give you that," Draco replied with a smile. "Well, itís not like you wonít find out anyway, if it is true. Itíll be in the next Order meeting for sure if itís not a lie. Yes, yes, I know youíre a member of the Order, junior though you may be. Unlike your friends Iím not oblivious to what Dumbledore does here. I just pretended to be so I wouldnít have to tell my father. He was already doing his damnedest to get the Headmaster kicked out and the mud... muggle borns expelled; he didnít need to know what I knew to help him furtherí. This... Hogwarts has been one of the few places that has been almost a safe haven to me. I wouldnít want it destroyed, despite what people might think."

Remaining silent for a moment, Harry continued to study Draco closely. "Why didnít you tell anyone?" he asked finally. "About what your father did to you. Dumbledore would have stopped it."

"To use a Muggle comparison, Potter, if the Queen of England was beating her heir into submission, would anyone really dare to step in, or would they look the other way? Be honest about it. My word against my fatherís and my father holds the purse strings. House elves are abused and indentured for life, servants can be bought, and my mother... wasnít in any position to protect me herself," Draco replied with a pragmatic shrug of his shoulders.

"Iím sorry." At a loss for words, Harry reached out and briefly clasped Dracoís shoulder. "I thought the Dursleys were bad, but they never hit me - well, not after they found out I could turn them all into toads."

"Ahh, the joys of living with Muggles," Draco replied. "A simple transfiguration spell could protect you from unspeakable things. Whereas if I tried to turn my father into a toad, he would have used Crucio on me just to remind me of my place. Itís not quite the same when they can do the same things you can do, only better," Draco replied with a pained smirk. "Why do you think I got so good at duelling and dark arts? I was biding my time and waiting for the day when Iíd come into my full abilities and I could turn the tables. Thank goodness he did me a favor by screwing up and getting himself killed. Saved me the effort."

Harry didnít bother to mention that the Dursleys found enough other ways to make his life miserable because they were afraid of him; there didnít seem to be a point in it. "Why... why did Voldemort kill him?" he finally asked.

"Father failed to discover the traitor in the Death Eatersí midst. Oh, he thought he had the right person, but the evidence mysteriously vanished, and what was left in its place seemed to indicate that he was the traitor. Mílord Voldemort was... less than impressed," Draco replied, an icy grin spreading across his aristocratic features. "I guess Father never learned that if you pushed too much and too far, things and people have a tendency to snap at last," he continued, his voice becoming rough with hatred, love and despair.

"Sick, donít you think?" he continued after a few moments of silence. "I miss him even though Iím the one who signed his death sentence. I love him still even though I hated what he did to me. He was my father, and I killed him. What does that make me, I wonder?"

"A boy who wanted a family," Harry said quietly. "A boy who wanted his father to love him."

"Wouldnít be a very Slytherin thing to want, now would it? Better to say I wanted his power and not to live under his thumb, so when the opportunity presented itself, I acted like a proper Slytherin son would. Who knows, maybe when he realized what had happened and it occurred to him that I was the only one who could have done it, maybe in those final moments he was actually proud of me for once in my miserable life," Draco answered quietly.

"Ah, here we are, the Headmasterís office. Now for the next melodrama in my life."

"Draco..." Harry paused, realizing the other teen didnít want his pity, and in fact, would probably hate him for it. Deciding it was better to say nothing, he faced the archway and gave the password, watching the spiral stairway open up before them.

"Well, here goes nothing," Draco grimaced. "Iíve always hated his office, you know? All those portraits asking questions or snoring or simply staring at you. Knowing you, you loved it, right? Although the firebird is somewhat fascinating. I actually wanted one as a pet, but my father wouldnít let me have it. An eagle owl was the traditional Malfoy family bird; we didnít need a silly and frivolous creature like a phoenix. Personally, a creature whose tears heal, whose ashes can be used in a million different potions and whose own magic could augment yours seemed like a bloody brilliant idea to me. Maybe Iíll get myself one now that heís not around to object anymore," Draco prattled even though he knew he was prattling and hated it.

Pulling the cloak from around them and hanging it over his arm, Harry shook his head. "Actually, Iíve always figured they were judging me and saying, ĎThatís the Boy who Lived? It canít be!í"

"Oh puhlease, youíre probably the most loved Gryffindor in a century or some fine crap," Draco replied with a roll of his eyes. "Everyone loves you, Potter, well, everyone except for Voldemort, his Death Eaters and his followers. Hell, you even have a fan club among the Slytherin girls... but thatís more because you are, and I quote, one of the most shaggable wizards out there."

"Because of what I am, not because of who I am," Harry said quietly. "In which case Iíd rather I werenít."

"Potter, theyíre Slytherins; chances are their parents, relatives and siblings are supporters of Voldemort or Death Eaters themselves. Trust me when I say that itís not who you are that makes you shaggable. I mean really, have you looked in a mirror lately? Youíre bloody gorgeous!"

Harry frowned. "I didnít mean the Slytherin girls, I meant everyone, and thereís no need to be ridiculing me. I thought we were trying to get along here."

"What are you babbling about, Potter? Iím not making fun of you in the slightest. I mean honestly, are you completely blind to your looks? Well, admittedly your hair is always a bloody ratís nest, but itís lush and thick and," Dracoís hand shot out to brush against the inky black mess, a big mistake that had him biting back a groan, "and rather soft to the touch. Your eyes are gorgeously green, though theyíd look ever so much better if you lost the horrendous glasses, and youíve got a fantastic body. Quidditch comes in handy some times, doesnít it?

"Why you would think Iíd make this up is beyond me. If anything, youíd think Iíd be shooting you down because letís face it, youíre competition, and Iím used to being the most beautiful thing in school. "

Harry was sure he looked as if someone had hit him in the face with a bludger. "But you are the most beautiful..." he started before a door creaked open on the other side of the office and the headmaster strode inside.

"Harry, Draco. Am I right in assuming that thereís something amiss?" he asked, looking at the two young men, pleased to see that for once they werenít trying to kill each other.

Draco cursed the headmaster in all seven different languages he knew, using some very colorful phrasing while he was at it. Things had just started to get really interesting, and the old busybody had had to show up. He was dying to know how Potter would have finished that sentence but...

Draco heaved a silent sigh. Chances were that wouldnít happen now or anytime in the near future, so he might as well get on with it.

"Headmaster, I need to know, was a Muggle village razed to the ground by Death Eaters last night and all its inhabitants killed?"

"Iím afraid it is true," Dumbledore answered, shaking his head sorrowfully. "The village of Treesbury. I received word of it from the Ministry earlier this evening. The Muggles believe it was a hearth fire that got out of hand."

Harry drew in a quick breath, feeling ill himself at the revelation.

"Oh merciful gods, then what Goyle told me was true," Draco groaned. "Heís going to start recruiting from the students soon, those whose parents have given permission for them to receive the mark and leave school. Narcissa wonít allow it; she still wants me to be her little boy as long as possible, and without my fatherís influence to pressure her... well, sheís always had a mind of her own when it came to me, and the last thing she wants is for me to get one of those horrid tattoos and dirty my hands by killing muggles.".

"But that means if heís ready to pull the students out, heís ready to start his campaign, Headmaster. The war is upon us."

"We need to find him, to stop him now," Harry stated, pacing back and forth across the office while Fawkes stirred on his perch and made soothing sounds. "Before he can hurt more people."

"That is more difficult than it sounds," Dumbledore sighed. "And if that news has already spread to Gregory, it is far from the worst that Voldemort has planned."

"I...," Draco glanced at Potter and then sighed, stupid, headstrong Gryffindor, Potter seemed determined to get himself killed. "Has Uncle Severus been called yet? It would be peculiar if he hasnít. And if he hasnít, that means that Riddle must suspect him, and quite possibly me as well."

"He was summoned just before dinner. I have no idea of how long this meeting will take or when he shall return, Iím afraid, Draco," the headmaster replied softly.

"Try not to worry too much; he has always managed to come back to us."

Dracoís eyes had darkened to a stormy grey, and concern pinched his features. "Heís always been more of a father than my own. I would be... upset... if something were to happen to him," Draco finally admitted. "Youíll ask him to let me know when heís safely back at Hogwarts?" Draco resigned himself to once more play the Voldemort waiting game as he had so many times in the past.

"Of course," Dumbledore answered, laying a comforting hand on Dracoís shoulder. "For right now I would suggest the two of you return to your Houses and try to get some sleep. Things are only going to become more difficult from now on, I fear. Now I must go and take care of some business of my own. You two can see yourselves out, I assume?"

Harry waited until Dumbledore was gone before his frustration burst free. "Wait? Wait while what, Voldemort kills more people?"

"And what would you do in his place, Potter?" Draco snarled, wanting to smack the other boy for his stupidity. "No one knows where Voldemort is but Voldemort and Pettigrew; no one knows the true size of his Death Eater army; not even my father had that knowledge. Voldemort plays his cards close to the chest and never gives more than a modicum of information to each of his lieutenants as a way to ensure loyalty and as a way to control them. Not even Albus Dumbledore is so all powerful and all knowing that he can just look at a map of Wizarding England and say Ďhere, right here is where Voldemort and his army can be found.í Grow up, will you!"

Going utterly still, Harry stared at Draco, his glare approaching those heíd given when their rivalry was at their most heated. "Fine, I will." He threw his cloak at the other boy, counting on Malfoyís reflexes to allow him to catch it. "Go ahead and use it, wouldnít want to risk being seen coming out of the enemyís office. Iíll just toddle along and play with my toys now." He turned and stalked toward the stairs, fuming, mostly at the fact that he knew Draco was right.

"Oh bloody hell, will St. Potter the martyr please stand up and be counted!" Draco drawled scathingly. "First you donít want to be the boy who lives because you canít stand the attention, and now you want to dive right into the fire without so much as making sure you have a flame retardant potion on you. Itís a bloody miracle you Gryffindors actually make it to graduation considering the way you plunge headlong into disaster without at least making sure you have a plan first.

"Think, Potter, for once in your life use the brain that Professor Snape is sure you have, rusty and ill-used though it may be. What do you think Dumbledore is doing as we speak? Or Professor Snape for that matter? Heís only risking his life and quite possibly his soul to find out as much as he can about what will happen in order to bring it back to Albus, who is, no doubt, assembling the Order and alerting all the allies of the light. Instead of moping and sulking and throwing bloody tantrums, why donít you get your head out of your arse and make some plans of your own?

"Here, take this," he said, walking up to the other teen, spinning him around and shoving the cloak back into Potterís arms. "And go fetch Granger and the Weasel. Thereís a floo connection from here to Professor Snapeís rooms, and I know the passwords to take down the wards. We need to find a way to track Voldemort, and the most obvious way would be to figure out what spell or potion or something that I can plant on Goyle and Crabbe if theyíre to be called soon. We can track them to him and then have the information that the Order needs. Now do you think your ill-utilized little Gryffindor brain can manage that?"

As furious as Harry was, he had to admit that Malfoy had a point. Several of them in fact. "Iíll borrow Nevilleís Rememberall if I canít manage the details," he ground out before swirling the cloak around him and vanishing from sight.

"See that you do," Draco snapped and then sighed. "Look, Iím sorry, but heís... heís all Iíve got left, the only real father I ever had. To lose him to that thing as well, it would be unthinkable. I apologize for my loss of temper, but you really do take foolish risks without thinking things through. It is a wonder of good luck that youíre still alive."

"I donít expect to be when this is all over." That said, Harry sped down the stairs and toward Gryffindor.

"The hell you wonít be," Draco muttered to himself as he watched the door to the headmasterís office shut behind Harry. "No matter what I have to do or who I have to kill, Harry bloody Potter will live to see his victory. Thatís the way it should be, the happily ever after and all that rot."

Chapter 3

Draco had flooed in, shut the wards off and left the door slightly ajar so that Potter and his lot could come in, and then he raided both Snapeís personal library and his pantry.

Professor Snape might have a heart attack at finding three Gryffindorks and a Slytherin prince in his living room conspiring together, but Uncle Severus might well be expecting it, judging from the sarcastic note to Draco informing him that Weasley was to keep his grubby hands off his books and to let Granger do the actual research as she was the one most likely to be able to actually do it correctly. Potter and Weasley would make good errand boys and go-fors, though.

"Please be safe, Uncle Sev, please," Draco whispered forlornly before gathering up the books needed and heading back out to the sitting area.

"Harry, Professor Snape is going to kill you if he finds out that we were in..." Hermioneís voice fell silent as she spied Draco in the room.

"Bloody hell! Whatís that sod doing here?" Ron snarled. "I thought you said this had to do with V-Voldemort! What? Malfoy going to give him easy access to you?"

Harry sighed and pulled the cloak off all of them. "Itís not that simple, Ron," he said. "I canít explain more." Dracoís secret was safe with him; heíd sworn it.

Biting his lip until it actually bled, Draco counted backwards until the impulse to insult the idiot had passed. Heíd be polite, maybe not pleasant but polite. "It was Professor Dumbledoreís decision that Potter and I work together, Weasel. Ask him if you like; I can use Professor Snapeís floo powder to contact him. Letís just say that he isnít the only one in the family who doesnít believe in following family traditions and leave it at that.

"Now can we please get to work?" Draco bit out, surprised at how well heíd actually managed to keep his sharp tongue sheathed.

"You...he... awh címon, Harry, youíre pulling my leg, right? No way would Professor Dumbledore want you to work with a greasy Slytherin wanker like Malfoy. This is some sort of test or something, isnít it? I mean Malfoy?" Ron asked, torn between wanting to whine and wanting to bellow.

Hermione seemed ill at ease with the situation but plunged ahead. "Weíll need details, of course."

Staying close to Ron in case his friend decided Draco was the enemy and went after him, Harry nodded. "Iíve already had this conversation with myself a hundred times, Ron. Itís the truth, and itís real. Malfoy - Dracoís on our side in this."

"Oh bloody hell, this is a total waste of time. He is going to be absolutely useless, and if you insist upon playing St. Potter the Martyr, youíll be about the same. The only one here with enough brains to help me figure this out is Granger. Now if you canít keep the Weaselís mouth firmly shut, take him and get out, or I swear Iíll put a muzzling hex on him," Draco growled.

"And another thing, put a damned silentium spell on the both of them while youíre at it. The last thing I need is for Weasley to go blabbing to the world what Iím doing; the idiot couldnít keep a secret on his own to save his life, and definitely not to save mine! Granger I actually trust, but theyíre both Gryffindors regardless," Draco continued, still not believing that Harry had actually told them but not surprised nonetheless. Gryffindors, he thought to himself, a whole lot of bravado and, apart from Granger, not a whole lot of common sense. Speaking of...

Draco turned to the only female in the room, his manner becoming a great deal more respectful and polite. "Tea, Granger? Before we begin so I can explain the details to someone who might actually understand me?"

Ron growled and tried to lunge at Draco only to find himself looking at the business end of a wand.

"Let me be perfectly clear. Iím not in the mood to deal with you; this room has certain spells in place that would make it next to impossible for the Headmaster to know that Iíve hexed you six ways from Sunday; and I. Donít. Like. You. Now SIT!" he bellowed at the enraged redhead, doing a rather impressive approximation of Severus Snape on a rampage.

Harry ran both hands through his hair in a gesture of defeat. "Please, Ron, just hear him out. We need all the help we can get with this. Draco, donít threaten Ron again, all right?" Unsaid was the fact that he doubted Malfoy would do as he said, something that wouldnít even have occurred to him before.

Ignoring the outburst as if it hadnít occurred, Hermione nodded even as she pulled out a quill and parchment to take notes. "Tea would be lovely; I have a feeling itís going to be a very long night."

"Then keep him on a leash, Harry," Draco replied immediately, not even realizing that he and Potter were calling each other by their first names. "My temper is not at its best at the moment to begin with. Iím worried about him, and the Weasel has never been my favorite person. Itís rather taxing on my frayed nerves.

"Now, Granger, milk and sugar or lemon?" Draco asked, playing the perfect host as he poured Hermione a cup. "You can even let the Weasel taste it so he can be sure I didnít poison it."

"Harry, why did he call you Harry, and why did you call him Draco? Oh Merlyn, what is this world coming to?" Ron moaned.

"Lemon is fine, and Iím sure Ron doesnít need to taste it," Hermione replied, giving a strained smile as she accepted the cup and saucer, feeling a bit like Alice in the old book sheíd read.

"It could be coming to an end as we know it if we donít find a way to stop Voldemort," Harry said quietly. "Compared to that, inter-house rivalry doesnít mean much."

Draco sagged in his chair. "You have no idea, really you donít," he whispered. "I heard so much, so much of the planning the plotting, the what-would-happen-afters. Purges, death camps, breeding farms... it was beyond depraved; it was inhuman.

"Iíve seen him, have I told you that, Potter? What he looks like since heís come back, and itís not pretty, not by any stretch of the imagination. Tom Riddle was a very handsome young man, like one of those fallen angels in that Muggle book, the Babble? Voldemort is evil given form. The only thing holding what passes as flesh to his bones is the evil that lives within him."

"I think Iím going to be sick," Ron moaned, slumping down onto the floor. "Gryffindors working with Slytherins, itís the end of the world, it truly is!"

"Ron, shut up!" Harry and Hermione said in chorus.

"That might be the key to it all," Hermione murmured, digging into her satchel for a book and flipping through it furiously.

Dracoís eyebrow quirked, and his lip half curled. "You two do that rather well, been practicing a while now?" he asked innocently.

Resting a hand on Ronís shoulder before he could jump to his feet to try to throttle Draco, Harry shook his head warningly. "Donít push it, please."

Hermione, meanwhile, had been making a list and handed it over to Harry. "You and Ron go get these books for me."

"And leave you here alone with him?" Weasley squeaked, his voice breaking in distress.

Deciding heíd had enough, Draco got to his feet and prowled across the floor until he was right in front of Weasley. "Iím afraid Granger really does nothing for me, but if you were to stay and keep me company... Red hair is just ever so sexy," Draco purred, cocking his hip and tucking his hands under his chin, fluttering his eyes at Ron.

"Help, Harry!" Ron squeaked and crab scuttled back behind his best friend. "Heís... heís coming on to me!"

While Hermione tried to stifle her giggles behind her book, Harry sighed and shook his head, feeling an unexpected bolt of jealousy go through him. "Relax, Ron, I wonít let him get you. Draco, back off. Youíre making Ron nervous, and we all need our wits about us tonight." He knew heíd been staring at Malfoy when he put on his act; he just hoped no one else had noticed.

Blowing a kiss towards Ron, Draco cooed one last time. "You donít know what youíd be missing, big boy. Ah well, your loss is someone elseís gain," Draco continued, looking right at Harry, an expression of pure, unadulterated hunger on his face for the space of a heartbeat before it frosted over into the typical Malfoy condescension. "So why donít you both run along and fetch Granger her books while I fill her in on what weíre after and we look through the books Professor Snape keeps in his personal library. Shoo."

Harry grabbed Ron by the arm and dragged him off before he could have another fit, hoping he could straighten things out while he was gone.

Hermione marked her place in her book and looked up at Draco. "If you hurt Harry, I swear Iíll find something worse than the Avada Kedavra to use on you," she said mildly.

"Granger, I havenít so much as raised my wand to him in the past seven years of school outside of Dueling Club; doesnít that tell you anything? You, Iíve hexed; Weasel Iíve hexed; him Iíve left completely alone. Use the brain you were given, and do the arithmancy; Iím pretty sure the numbers will add up," Draco sighed.

"Címon, the rest of Professor Snapeís library is through here. Heís already given permission for you to look at it. To quote him, Iím to let Ďlet Granger do the actual research as sheís the one most likely to be able to actually do it correctly.í"

Standing, Hermione packed her books back into her bag and followed Draco into the other room. "Why do I think Professor Snape also said something along the line of Ďif you tell Granger that, Iíll give you a donkeyís tailí?

"Oh, and I didnít mean hurt him that way, and you very well know it. The numbers add up far too well for my liking."

"Actually it was Ďturn me into a ferretí if you must know," Draco smirked. "And while you can add, itís quite likely that Potter canít, so never fear, his virtue is safe until Cho Chang or some other perfect girl for the perfect Gryffindor comes along," he said quietly.

"You know, I had never even met someone who was Muggle born until I came to Hogwarts. My father... well, my fatherís opinions were quite widely known. I... apologize for calling you Mudblood. I was much younger and resented it greatly that I was being accused of having bought my way onto the team.

"Oh, no doubt my fatherís brooms did have a hand in it, but Iím a damn good seeker; Iím just not as good as the youngest seeker in a century. Had it been anyone else on the Gryffindor team, Slytherin would have kicked your arses time and again."

"You have no idea, do you..." she murmured, shaking her head. "You know, Draco, if you had shown this side of yourself sooner, a lot of the rubbish we went through the past seven years could have been avoided. Oh, I know you had your reasons, which I wonít hound you for, so donít fear."

"Youíve met my father, Granger; thereís no way any of it could have been avoided until the day he died, be honest," Draco replied. "But thank you for saying so. You really are a very kind lady. Weasleyís a lucky bloke, or he would be if he ever got his head out of his arse and realized what he had. Now, enough of this... Gryffindorish conversation. Letís get to work, shall we?"

Arms full of books, Harry and Ron made it back to the room and collapsed into separate chairs, the volumes tumbling to the floor around them.

"What on - those are fragile!" Hermione gasped, running from the back room to rescue several volumes. "Draco, a hand here please?"

"You see why Professor Snape only wanted you to touch his books, Hermione?" Draco remarked sotte voce, as he followed behind the harried Gryffindor at a more sedate pace. "Tch tch, youíre a witch and a bloody good one, there are easier ways than that," he murmured, stopping her with a hand under her elbow as she bent to retrieve them. "Werenít you the first one of us to master the Leviosa?" he asked, bringing his wand out from beneath his robe and murmuring the Leviosa charm "to cause the books to float up and float into the library, ready for use.

"Hermione? When did you start calling her Hermione, you blast ended skrewt!" Ron roared, diving off the chair and at Draco.

"Ron, donít you dare!" she shouted just before the redheadís fist connected with Dracoís jaw.

"Thatís it!" Harry yelled, jumping to his feet, his wand already in his hand. "Immobulous!" The other three froze, Draco with his fist cocked back to hit Ron and Hermione with her mouth open, ready to cast her own spell.

Feeling very tired and very old, Harry looked at the other three, his two best friends, and his... whatever Draco was; at this point he wasnít sure. "Voldemort has got to be loving this, us at each otherís throats. Itís what he lives for, what feeds him. If we canít work together, I am better off going it on my own, and yes, I know Iím being an idiot Gryffindor, Malfoy; donít remind me."

With a weary wave of his wand, he cancelled the spell and began to gather up the books, turning his back on the others.

Glaring at Weasley, Draco lowered his hand and walked over to and around Harry until he was looking the Gryffindor in the eye. "Iím sorry, I promised to behave, and I shall endeavor to do so. Now I ask a favor of my summoneo ," he said quite distinctly, ignoring Ronís exclamation and Hermioneís gasp.

Harry looked up, meeting Dracoís stormy eyes and feeling that strange clenching within himself again. "Itís not much of a secret if you tell everyone who holds it," he said quietly.

"You trust them; it will have to be enough for me," Draco replied simply. "And my favor is this, summoneo , donít go and be St. Potter the Martyr just yet. Let us figure out a plan first. And when you do go, you take me with you."

"I..." Harryís jaw worked, and he looked away.

"Your word as a Gryffindor, Potter," Draco growled menacingly, crowding forward into Harryís personal space and pushing because he knew, he knew the idiot was already planning something. "Give it to me. Now!"

Harry was aware of a discussion going on between Ron and Hermione, but he couldnít understand a word of it as his whole being was suddenly attuned to Draco, who at the moment reminded him of some sort of avenging angel. That made him give an almost hysterical laugh because for all of his time at Hogwarts heíd thought of the other boy as the devil.

"I wonít go alone," he finally sighed, running his tongue out over his suddenly dry lips and trying to swallow.

"Thank you," Draco breathed, suddenly deflating and drawing in on himself. "Now, Hermione and I might have found something... shall we go back into the library?"

Harry nodded and got to his feet, following after the other two along with a remarkably subdued Ron.

Rubbing his eyes tiredly, Draco looked up at the clock on the mantle, which read Ďfar too late for a reasonable person to be awake,í and groaned. "You donít suppose Dumbledore will excuse us from class today, do you?" he asked hopefully, looking at Hermione and Harry. Ron had long since passed out on the floor of the small library and was snoring loudly enough to shake the foundations.

"Hellfires, Potter, how do you sleep with him in the bed next to yours? I donít think Iíve ever been more grateful to be a prefect and have a room of my own."

Harry shrugged, too tired to do anything more. "Seven years, you get used to it. ĎCourse, he has had his own room for the last three."

Shaking her head, Hermione waved her wand and murmured a a silencing spell, muffling the noise around the redhead and thus rendering Ron quiet. "What," she asked, looking at Harry and Draco, "havenít either of you ever heard of that charm?"

Draco snickered and tried to hide it behind his hand. "Never had the problem of a noisy roommate, so I never had any need for it, Hermione, but thank you for that."

Looking at the tired faces of his companions, Draco suddenly made an executive decision. Getting up, he went over to the library fireplace and, grabbing a handful of powder from a jar on the mantle, flung it into the fire. "Professor Dumbledore?" he asked softly, hoping that the headmaster was still awake even at this unholy hour of the morning.

"Yes, Draco, my boy, what can I do for you?" came the immediate and chipper reply of the headmaster.

"We, that is Potter, Weasley, Granger, and I, have been up all night researching our Ďspecial projectí. Could you please dismiss us from todayís classes if possible? And connect Professor Snapeís fireplace to the Gryffindor common room for three people to floo this once? I donít think Weasel-y will make the trek back across the school."

"Shall I set up one for you as well, my boy?"

"Thank you but no, I think Iíll wait here until Uncle Severus gets home safely," Draco replied, worried. "Youíve still not heard anything?"

Dumbledore shook his head slowly. "Try not to worry too much; heís been gone longer than this before. I will inform your... Professor McGonagall that the four of you have been excused from classes for the morning due to a late night study session authorized by me. Try and get some rest."

"Yes, sir," Harry said, pushing himself to his feet and helping Hermione up before moving over to nudge Ron awake.

"You two go on back. Iíll - thereís a few more things I need to do here."

"Whot? Youíre not staying are you? Címon, Harry mí tired," Ron mumbled, staggering to his feet and following after Hermione in a zombie-like state.

"You heard the Weasel, Potter. Go on," Draco chimed in, for once agreeing with the weasel as he waved them all along. "Iíll tidy up and curl up on the lounge, nothing to worry about. Off you go."

"No," Harry said stubbornly, catching Hermioneís eye in a plea for support. "Iíll be along in a while. I just donít think... Being alone with your thoughts isnít good. I know how I felt when Sirius was out of touch." He was proud that he managed a level tone as he said that, considering everything.

"Come on, Ron, "Hermione said, taking his arm and guiding him toward the fireplace. "Harry can take care of himself."

"Jusí doní let him ravish you, Ďkay?" Ron mumbled, following behind Hermione complacently. "Heís got tricky hands, he does."

Dracoís eyebrow quirked at that, "And just how would Weasley know my hands were tricky, I wonder?"

"No idea," Harry yawned, sitting on the floor once again and leaning back against the sofa. "Perhaps because youíre faster with a wand then he is."

"Potter, Goyle is faster with a wand than he is," Draco exaggerated. "Bloody hell, youíre dead on your feet. Címon, Uncle Sev has a spare room where I stay when I come and visit during summer months. We can share, and I promise to be the picture of gentlemanly behavior. No sense us losing more sleep while we wait. He... heíll wake me up when he gets back."

"Goyleís problem is he canít remember the spell once he gets the wand out," Harry muttered as he stood once again, rubbing at his head and pushing his hair even more askew. "Heíll be back soon, Draco; Professor Snape wouldnít be caught out that easily."

He wished he could say more to reassure Malfoy, but Harry knew as well as anyone and better than most that many times things you wished for never came true.

"Of course he wonít; heís not the head of Slytherin for nothing!" Draco boasted and then shook his head, "but Voldemort is Voldemort. He doesnít need a reason to dish out Ďpunishmentsí. All Uncle Sev has to do is look at him funny, and he could get hit with a Crucio or worse. And it wouldnít be the first time either. I just wish heíd get home."

Pulling himself together, Draco tried to shake it off. "Címon then, Iíll even lend you a pair of pajamas. Ever slept in silk before, Potter?"

"Donít need to do that, Iíll be fine." Harryís tired brain was having enough trouble seeing Snape as someone anyone would worry about, but he supposed if he could see Draco Malfoy as something other than a bastard, he could manage it.

"Oooh, do you sleep in the altogether? You mean I might get a show after all?" Draco purred, licking his lips hungrily.

"And here I thought you promised you wouldnít ravish me, guess I was wrong."

"Just because one looks in the window of Honeydukes doesnít mean one has to go in and buy the candy, Potter," Draco replied loftily. "However, if you want me to ravish you, all you have to do is say so. I could tolerate obliging you."

Harry sighed and pulled his jumper over his head, giving in to comfort that much. "Go to sleep, Malfoy, youíre talking crazy."

"And youíre being a stupid git. If youíre going to insist upon staying with me, you are not sleeping in your clothes. Itís bloody uncomfortable. Now stop arguing." That said, Draco led the way into the spare room, rummaged through a drawer and pulled out a pair of Slytherin green silk pajamas. Pointing at a door, he continued. "Washroom is through there. Give me a couple of minutes to get my own on," he requested as he pulled out a second pair, this time pewter grey. "Now go on, you prat."

"Fine... try to do the right thing and it bites me in the arse, as usual," Harry muttered, walking to the washroom. The thought of just what Snape would have to say about this when he got back... if he got back. That reminded Harry of why he was there in the first place, and he set aside his annoyance and changed, admitting to himself that the pajamas did feel good against his skin. Folding his clothes over his arm, he carried them out and stood, looking at the bed.

Draco was already curled up on his side of the bed, under the covers. Heíd even gone so far as to transfigure a couple of books into a few more pillows that he put down the center of the bed just to ensure that Potter would remain unravished in the night. "Come to bed, Potter," he murmured. "We have another fun, class and research-filled day ahead of us tomorrow, and then on the weekend we have to start making the potion."

And then they just had to find Voldemort and keep him from killing anyone and... Harryís head ached with it all, and he didnít feel like fighting any longer. "Get some sleep, Malfoy," he mumbled, climbing into the bed and pulling the sheet and blankets over him. "Youíre going to need it."

"We both are, Iím afraid. And will have very few chances to get it in the next while," Draco sighed. Because the fact was that even if Voldemort fell, there was still the army of Death Eaters to deal with, and after that there were the Dementors and those who supported but didnít actively participate and the trials and the searches and... what Draco wouldnít give to have been born in peaceful times. "Iíd even have accepted being born a muggle with no magical ability at all and never having to know about the wizarding world at all at this point," he sighed aloud, not realizing heíd spoken.

Harry had closed his eyes but opened them again at that last comment. "I bet you still would have ended up from a Ďfamilyí."

"But I thought you lived with your mumís family?" Draco replied, turning over to look across the pillow barricade at Harry. "Thatís what weíd heard. You were living with Muggle relatives. Werenít you?"

Harry made a noise that was somewhere between a laugh and a sob. "I meant a well off family, Draco, not just any family. I live with my aunt and uncle, but there certainly isnít any family in that situation. Unwanted nuisance who was reminded of it every day of his life is more accurate."

"But youíre... no, they wouldnít give a ratís arse that youíre Harry Potter in the Muggle world, would they?" Draco replied thoughtfully. "Weíre a fine pair arenít we, one neglected, the other abused, one branded a savior, the other a traitor, and all by the time we were eleven years old. What a grand joke that is."

"If I wasnít so tired, Iíd suggest we make a run to Hogsmeade, get some firewhiskey and toast to having your life planned out before youíve even hit puberty, though youíve managed to turn yours around."

"And you havenít? Bloody hell, youíll have job offers by the dozens at the end of the year, and youíll come into the money your parents left you in their estate and wills. Itíll make sure you wonít have to snap up the first job that came along just so you can get by. And arenít you Blackís heir as well? Now that is a family as old and as powerful as the Malfoys. Hell, Black was my true blood uncle for Merlynís sake! I have a damned good idea of what he would have left you."

"Itís not about the money or any of that rot." Harry raised an arm to cover his eyes. "Iíll think about the future when it gets here. After... everything else."

"Donít go all melodramatic and saintly on me now, Potter. You promised me you wouldnít go off on a crusade without me, and Iím holding you to it. No martyring yourself on the Gryffindor altar of bravery and idiocy."

Harry refrained from saying heíd promised no such thing, which he very carefully hadnít. "Fine, Iíll make an effort to curb my self-destructive tendencies if we can get some sleep. Do you think thatís possible?"

"My, a Gryffindor being reasonable," Draco teased. What is this world coming to?"

Chapter 4

"Dragon, what is Potter doing in your bed?" came the soft whisper next to him a few hours later. Always a light sleeper, Dracoís eyes sprang instantly open.

"Uncle Sev? Are you okay?" One look at his godfather, however, revealed he was anything but. "Crucio?" he whispered quietly. "How many times?"

"Enough that I probably shanít be teaching today. Thank the merciful stars itís Friday. But enough..."

"Have you taken a potion yet? Iíll go run you a bath. You strip off and get in, and Iíll bring you one as well as a drink. Then Iíll explain. Let him sleep; he needs it," Draco replied softly, head motioning to Harry.

Harry woke to a blinding headache centered on his scar and groaned as he sat up, reaching for his glasses, then frowning when they werenít on the stand next to his bed... This wasnít his bed. Trying to make some kind of sense of the dreams heíd had the night before, he squinted, looking around until he finally found his glasses and put them on. He heard low voices coming out of the washroom and breathed a sigh of relief that Snape had apparently gotten back safely.

Of course, that led to the question as to whether there was any chance he could get changed and out of here without anyone seeing, especially since his cloak was in the outer room.

Draco closed the bathroom door behind him with a soft sigh. Now that Snape had drunk the potion and had relaxed some, he could relax as well. Heading back into the bedroom, he saw Harry with his hands on the buttons of the pajamas heíd reluctantly borrowed.

"Donít even think of it, Potter. Get your arse back into bed and go to sleep. You look like shite," Draco replied mildly, his hands crossing his chest as he leaned on the doorjamb, blocking it.

"Actually, you look like you need a potion too, dreamless sleep, perhaps. And why does your scar look inflamed all of a sudden? It wasnít like that earlier."

Growling under his breath, Harry glared at Draco. "They donít help, since itís not dreams exactly. Sometimes I get to see what Voldemortís doing and feel what heís feeling; last night was one of those times."

"You saw what happened to Uncle Sev?" Draco replied quietly, moving into the room and shutting the door behind him. "If you did, donít tell him. He hates for people to know, for him to appear weak. His pride is one of the few things heís got left that not even bigoted Ministry officials can take away from him.

"And Iím serious, Potter, get your arse back into bed," Draco continued, giving the Gryffindor a rather impressive glare of his own. "We were both up late, and weíll probably be up late again tonight. I doubt either Hermione or the Weasel will be seen before lunch time, and you looking like death warmed over is only going to arouse suspicions."

Unable to think of a good argument for that line of reasoning, Harry sat back on the bed. "Youíre just loving this, arenít you?" he asked. "Getting to boss me around like this. And no, I wonít say anything to Professor Snape. I get reamed out enough by him without adding that to the list of why he hates me. Oh, and one more thing, get your own arse back into bed as well; youíre giving me a run for the galleons in the Ďlooks like shiteí competition."

"Why, Potter, I didnít know you cared," Draco replied with a flutter of long, silver white eyelashes. "And for the record, Uncle Sev doesnít hate you. Your father and your godfather, now thatís another story. The werewolf he tolerated, but the man did try to rip his throat out after all. He actually respected your mum underneath all that ĎI hate Mugglesí attitude of his earlier in life. But you, well, heís certainly not going to rush over and ask for your autograph, but heís never really hated you.

"I wasnít the only one whoís been forced to wear a mask these past six years, Potter. He had to wear one as well. Did you know one of the things my father expected of me was to spy on him and make sure he was actually on Voldemortís side and not a traitor? And Iím sure Iím not the only Slytherin who had to do it, too. I just did it incredibly badly is all."

"So glad to hear it," Harry said dryly. Somehow, knowing that didnít make up for years of abuse at Snapeís hands. "So, is he going to be all right? I remember..." he trailed off, not wanting to describe Voldemortís pleasure at casting Crucio on Snape and others of his backers, just to keep them in line.

"As Dumbledore said, heís survived worse and lived to tell about it; heíll survive this too. Who knows, maybe once this is all over he can start taking care of himself again. He didnít used to be so sallow or skinny or... well, greasy," Draco sighed, moving over to his side of the bed and sagging down on it.

"Oh, heís never been the looker Black or your father were, but he wasnít this bad either. He used to be healthy, before the years of spying and lying and... my father... began to take their toll. Iíd like to see him smile again one day, really smile, not sneer, not smirk, just... be happy again," Draco continued, his voice going wistful with memory. "That would be nice. To be happy again and not consider death a happy alternative to living."

Harry was silent, trying to see Snape the way Draco did but utterly failing, though he did have a thought. "I could say the same for someone else in the room, and it isnít me," he commented, raising one knee to rest his arms on it.

Draco looked over his shoulder at the Gryffindor, one eyebrow quirked in a very ĎSnape-ishí manner. "Ah, but where would the fun be in that? Besides, I have a strong suspicion that the only way I could ever be happy is if Draco Malfoy were to die. Youíre not the only one who has to live up, or down, to the reputation their name has. Maybe itís just time for the Malfoys to take their curtain call and fade out of existence."

Settling back down onto the bed, facing away from Harry once more, Draco pulled the covers up to chest level before continuing. "Happily ever afters are for silly Gryffindors who save the damsels, not for the dragons that the Gryffindors have to slay in order to do so. Itís just not the way the world works."

Frowning and reaching over the pillows that were still heaped between them, Harry caught Draco by the shoulder and rolled him to his back. "That sounds remarkably like a defeatist attitude, and from what I know about you, you never give up. Why are you starting now?"

"After a night of dealing with Gryffindor optimism?" Draco asked, a wry smile twisting on his face. "Youíre lucky I didnít go out and slit my wrists. Now donít get that look on your face, Potter; Iím not going to do anything that daft. Iím just tired and... tired, okay?" he muttered, rolling back over onto his side. Tired of living and depressed that I know Iíll never get what I want in life is more like it, Draco sighed to himself.

"Donít worry your pretty little Gryffindor head about me. Iíll be right as rain come tea time and probably snarking at you and Granger and hexing Weaselís arse for good measure. Itís just the lack of sleep talking is all."

Raising a hand to rub absently at his scar which still held a residual ache from the dreams, Harry rolled his eyes. "Itís too late for that. youíre stuck with me as your summoneo and worrying about you; I suppose youíll have to live with it."

"I suppose I shall at that. Dumbledore really is the meddling old fruitcake Uncle Sev always intimated he was, crazy as a loon! Anyhow, we both need to get some sleep," Draco murmured rolling over to peer over the pillows at Harry. "Will you be all right with that," he asked, indicating Harryís scar, "or would you like me to get something for it? I promise it wonít be poison."

Not rising to the bait as he once might have, Harry shook his head and lay back down, sighing in relief as his head was cradled in the pillow beneath it. "Thanks, but no. Itíll go away eventually; Iím used to it now."

"Bloody stubborn Gryffindor," Malfoy grumbled, tossing their pillow wall out of the way so he could get closer to Potter. "Always playing noble and self-sacrificing. Donít you ever get tired of it?" he continued to grumble as he moved around so that he was sitting with his back against the headboard right next to Harryís head.

"Mum used to get magical migraines that would knock her into next month. Sheíd always have her temple massaged, said it helped stimulate blood flow and loosen tensed muscles," Draco muttered as he began to give Harry the same sort of temple massage.

"Donít do it on purpose," Harry grumbled before sighing as his headache almost instantly lessened. "Oh, God, that feels good." Closing his eyes, he relaxed under Dracoís hands, tilting his head back to allow the other boy more access.

Biting down on his lower lip hard enough that he actually drew blood, Draco managed to suppress the whimper of lust that threatened to burst forward. Great bloody demons and devils, if he didnít know that Potter was completely oblivious to anyone but the Cho Changs of the universe, heíd swear the other boy was being a cock tease, but Potter was the poster boy for heterosexual relations, so there was no way that heíd ever do something so...

Bloody hell, all Draco wanted to do was bend down and lick his way along that exposed column of golden flesh and then slowly unbutton the green silk that made Potterís eyes glow like a killing curse, making sure to taste every inch of the skin heíd exposed and then... God, then heíd take Potter out, take him in his mouth and give him the blow job of the century, the one thing Draco was fairly certain that he was better than Potter at.

"Draco?" Feeling the other boyís hands still on his forehead, Harry opened his eyes, frowning when he saw an expression of what looked like pain on Malfoyís face. "Donít tell me youíre empathetic and picked up on what Iím feeling!" He reached up, catching Dracoís hands in his to move them from his temples.

"Unh, no, it was a... leg cramp is all; itís gone now," Draco prevaricated. "Now lie back down, will you; the sooner you relax, the sooner we both can get some... sleep," he choked out, snatching his hands out of Harryís. Potter was trying to kill him, Draco just knew it.

The frantic pulse Harry had felt beating under the skin of Dracoís wrists combined with his hugely dilated pupils to make Harry think. "Well, shift over behind me if youíre determined to do this," he finally said, sitting up and scooting farther down the bed to give Draco room. "Itís not relaxing in the least, listening to you moan like that, and the charley horse will just come back if you stay that way."

Great hairy troll bollocks! He really is trying to kill me! Draco thought desperately, praying that his bottoms hadnít popped up like a circus tent. Gritting his teeth into a semblance of the Malfoy smirk, he slid down, silently groaning as silk caressed his naked skin. Why oh why hadnít he thought ahead and actually worn knickers under his bottoms? Just because the only time he ever slept clothed was when he was at Uncle Sevís anymore and because he was used to sleeping starkers. He really should have known better this time.

Never mind Voldemort or the other Death Eaters hunting him down and killing him for the traitor he was, he was going to expire of unrequited lust right here in bed next to Harry Cock tease Potter!

There! Heíd made it down. Now all he had to do was wait for Harry to get comfortable and then...

"Mmm, better," Harry sighed, on the verge of laughing at himself because heíd never imagined anything stranger than this - himself and Draco Malfoy together in bed with his greatest rival giving him a massage.

Any other time and heíd probably have run screaming, but he was just so relaxed, he couldnít, and, to be honest, he was enjoying the feeling of being taken care of.

Draco gritted his teeth and made his hands as gentle and soft as down. Potter had been through enough today what with his prat of a best friend and so on and so forth; the last thing he needed was to be reminded of the Weaselís parting remarks about not getting ravished. Now if only Potter would be a good little Gryffindor and fall asleep, Draco could go and wank in the bathroom so he could possibly get some sleep himself.

Half asleep, Harry turned his face into the gentle pressure of Dracoís fingertips. He knew he shouldnít do this, that it would open up a whole new world of things for Draco to torment him over, but, he couldnít help it.

"Ron was right," he murmured, "you do have tricky hands."

"Talented hands. I have talented hands, Potter," Draco sighed. Not that Potter would ever appreciate them the way heíd have liked the Gryffindor to but... "Go to sleep, will you? You need to rest."

Harry slowly opened his eyes to look up at Draco. "Havenít seen that part of them yet."

"Be thankful you havenít," Draco murmured dryly. "Stick to Chang, Potter. Sheís a nice, safe girl. Now, do you think you can sleep now? I need to take a whiz."

Now Harry began to laugh as he sat up and turned around to face Draco across a short expanse of bed linens. "So sure you know everything about me, eh, Malfoy? Choís nice, and we had a lovely time when we were together, but it didnít last; I suppose I knew all along it wouldnít, not when..." He stopped talking; amazed heíd admitted this much.

"Not when...what? Oh, come now, Harry, you canít say something provocative like that and leave me dangling unfulfilled. Itís cruel and torturous, and we both know that torture and cruelty are more my style not yours," Draco replied a predatory smile spreading over his face. "Now, you really must complete the sentence, or I might have to... get it out of you."

Harry was tempted to tell Draco to sod off, but heíd gotten himself into this mess by opening his big mouth in the first place, so he just couldnít walk away. "When she didnít turn me on," he finally answered. "Oh, sheís nice and sweet, and I enjoyed being with her, but when it came to more, I just... couldnít." He felt a dull flush rise up the back of his neck and waited for Malfoyís derisive laughter to strike like a blow. "Didnít have that problem with the next person I went out with."

"And who was the next person you went out with?" Draco purred, watching Potter very carefully. This was getting curiouser and curiouser.

Praying he didnít open both himself and the other boy up to a world of hurt, Harry met Dracoís gaze squarely. "Terry Boot from Ravenclaw."

"Well, I canít fault you for your taste. He is rather nice to look at, if you like the wholesome, boy-next-door sort. Not my cup of tea but acceptable," Draco mused. "So who was the top and who was the bottom, or did you even get that far?"

Harry stared, open-mouthed. "Iím not - if you think - itís enough I told you that; Iím not giving you details to chortle over, Malfoy!"

"Do I look like Iím chortling?" Draco asked calmly, studying his fingernails. "You know, if you need any explanations on the proper techniques of both positions, I could answer your questions having been in both positions myself. Well, I donít know all that much about the bottom position; that only happened once, and it was... unpleasant," Draco continued with a slight pained look on his face. "I suppose not consenting did make it rather less pleasant, but I can still give you the basics on how itís done."

Instantly, all of Harryís bluster and bravado faded, and he looked at a loss for something to do or say before finally reaching out and taking Dracoís hand in his.

"Oh, for Salazarís sake, Potter, itís not the end of the world," Draco replied, exasperated. "It happened, I got over it and grew stronger for it. Iím not an invalid nor do I need to be pitied," he continued, his voice frosting over. There were many things he wanted from Harry Potter, but pity was definitely not one of them. Snatching his hand back, Draco made to get off the bed.

"I thought you said you needed to get some sleep?" he asked waspishly, wanting to be back in his own room in Slytherin all of a sudden. "Weíll just forget this conversation ever happened, shall we?"

Catching Draco before he could swing his feet over the side of the bed, Harry held on tightly. "No, you said I needed some sleep; I said you needed some sleep, and thereís no way in hell youíre leaving me here alone, got it?"

"Potter, I need to go take a leak. Now youíre more than welcome to come and watch me shake my willie if youíd like, but I didnít think I was your type." Draco sighed and turned to look at Potter. "Late nights are notoriously bad for making confessions. Iím not going anywhere but to the washroom. Let it go, will you?"

Releasing the other boy, Harry sighed, wondering why he even tried. There was no breaking through the walls Draco had erected around his innermost feelings. "Go ahead and go; Snape would have a fit if you wet the bed," he said, before adding in a quieter voice, "And I never said that."

Feeling strangely disconsolate, he lay back down in the bed and took his glasses off, doubting heíd get any more sleep that night, even with his headache gone.

In the loo Draco splashed his face with cold water and stared morosely in the mirror. Why, oh why had he brought up the incident with Flint? It had happened in second year and was long over and buried. He seemed to be suffering from a rather virulent strain of foot in mouth.

Whoever said that confession was good for the soul had to have been a Gryffindor. No self respecting Slytherin would ever have said such an asinine thing. Confession was bloody humiliating. Sighing, Draco dried his face off, flushed the toilet and made his way back into the bedroom.

"Look, Potter, Iím sorry I dumped on you. You have enough on your plate, and I doubt thatís what Dumbledore meant by being my summoneo . Youíre supposed to be the one whoís guarding my back in my role as a spy, not playing at being my father confessor. Iíll try and refrain from opening my mouth and inserting my foot again," Draco mumbled after getting settled in the bed, yet again facing away from the Gryffindor.

"And donít worry, no one will ever hear from me that you swing both ways and you did so with Boot. Both of you are safe from that sort of gossip, at least from me."

"Fine. Good night, Malfoy," Harry answered, turning to his own side and facing away from Draco, trying to will himself to sleep.

Draco waited until he heard Harryís breathing even out and then waited another half hour before turning over and cuddling up behind the Gryffindor, giving in to his darkest and most secret desire, being with Harry Potter. Heíd been aching to hold Harry all night long, and with the other boy sound asleep he could do it now and blame it on sleep in the morning.

Easing his arm over Harryís waist, Draco tucked his head behind the Gryffindor golden boyís. "I wonít let anything happen to you, Harry. I swear on the Malfoy name. No matter what it takes, I wonít let you die. You deserve a chance at happiness and so much more," he whispered, pressing his lips to the nape of Harryís neck. "Whatever it takes."

Chapter 5

"What happened last night, Harry? You never came back to the dorm."

Harry looked up from his lunch and shrugged. "Fell asleep and amazingly Malfoy and Snape didnít kick me to the curb." That didnít come near to describing what had happened, especially when Harry had woken in the morning to find himself with an armful of Draco Malfoy. Amazingly, heíd managed to extricate himself without waking the other boy and had changed and fled, thanking providence that he was able to floo out and back to the Tower before anyone else stirred. Facing Snape that early in the morning might just have done him in.

"He didnít... try anything, did he?" Ron asked suspiciously, looking at Harryís flushed face. "íCause if he did, I donít care what Dumbledoreís making you do, Iíll break every bone in his scrawny body, I will!"

"He didnít do anything, Ron," Harry sighed, feeling amazingly stupid for regretting that fact. "He was upset about Snape, and I - I suppose I didnít think it was right to leave him alone."

"Hunh," Ron snorted, still eyeing Harry suspiciously despite Hermioneís elbow in the ribs. "Itís Hogsmeade weekend this weekend. You want to go to Honeydukes and get some chocolate frogs and a butterbeer?" he asked after long moments. "Thereís a new Chudley Cannons poster thatís come out, and I want to catch a look at it."

Draco strolled into the great hall, flanked by Crabbe and Goyle, looking for all the world like the Slytherin Prince he was. Nodding once to Snape, he completely ignored the Gryffindor side of the room and made his way over to his usual spot. If one didnít know better, he was the same Draco Malfoy heíd been for the past six years. He was cruel in his comments about Gryffindors, boorish, arrogant and a complete prat. The Slytherins ate it up. Their fearless leader was back in full force after his brief mourning period.

Letting his hair fall forward over his eyes to hide his gaze, Harry watched Draco stride toward his House table, once again the prince of Slytherin. He supposed he knew it was an act, but part of him wondered, even now.

"Sure," he nodded absently, "a butterbeer sounds grand though youíd better ask Hermione as well, or she might take Justin up on his offer to accompany her."

"What? Since when?" Ron asked, breaking off his glare at Draco to look first at Harry and then Hermione. "Hermione, you wouldnít want to go with Justin instead of us, me I mean?" he asked nervously.

"Well, if he asked me and no one else had..." she began, catching Harryís eye and shaking her finger at him behind Ronís back.

"But, Ďmione, you always go with me," Ron replied, confused. "Why would that ever change?"

Across the hall, Draco watched the three friends surreptitiously for as long as he could. However, when Blaise Zabini told Goyle to shove down and all but crawled into his onetime loverís lap, Draco found his attention redirected to the Slytherin table. "Zabini," he hissed. "This is not the sort of thing one does in public. Are you looking to get points taken off of Slytherin for your shameless behavior?"

Ron happened to glance over at the Slytherin table at just that moment and began to make retching noises. "Figures a tosser like Malfoy would go for Zabini. The poofter is so pretty he might as well be a girl for heavenís sake. No doubt about it who wears the pants in that pair."

Fighting down the anger he felt at seeing Zabini crawling all over Draco, Harry shot to his feet. "See you all at the greenhouse," he snarled, stomping out of the hall, needing to get away from everyone and everything.

"Oh, Ron," Hermione sighed. "Iíve a good mind to go with Justin after that."

"What? What did I do?" Ron asked, completely clueless.

Herbology passed as every other herbology class ever had. Draco crucified Neville and smirked when the Gryffindor sniveled and actually had the gall to snarl at Hermione when she accidentally got in his way.

"Get out of my way, filthy Mudblood, Iíve got better things to do than take another shower because of you!" he growled, silently praying that Hermione wouldnít be offended but knowing that he had to walk very carefully with the Slytherins.

Heíd come back to the Slytherin common room to find Parkinson waiting for him when heíd woken up this morning. "And just where have you been all night, Dray?" she purred. "You missed all the excitement. The dark mark appeared in the sky last night over a Muggle town not too far from here. One would think you would have been here to show support and loyalty to the cause."

Draco had muttered something about bloody Gryffindors getting him in hot water and having to go to see the Headmaster, knowing that Dumbledore would back him up if asked and then mentioned something about wanting to talk to his godfather about certain matters that couldnít be discussed anywhere but in his quarters.

Luckily, Severus had informed him of what had taken place last night, so heíd had enough information to get Parkinson to back off but... it had been far too close for comfort.

While Ron muttered vile plans for what heíd do if he ever caught Draco alone and Hermione tried to calm him down, much to the surprise of the other Gryffindors, Harry pushed past the group, fighting to remind himself what he knew to be the truth and biting back the insults that he wanted to hurl at the other boy.

Draco fought the wave of despair as he watched Harry push by and lowered his eyes quickly. Parkinson wouldnít be the only one watching him now, not if there was suspicion in the ranks. He had to get through this afternoonís classes; that was all he could concentrate on. One thing at a time. One crisis at a time.

"Draco, are you going into Hogsmeade this weekend?" Crabbe asked, excited at the prospect of what Malfoy money could get him.

"Iíve been asked to assist Professor Snape with something he is researching," Draco replied haughtily, showing off his own importance for all to see "So Iím afraid I wonít have time for such nonsense. But you can pick some things up for me, Crabbe, and I suppose you and Goyle can get a few baubles for yourself as well."

As he left, Harry heard that last remark and mulled over the circumstances in his mind.

"You two go on, Iíve got make up work to finish, so I canít stay all day. Iíll be fine. Iíve got butterbeer and some fizzing whisbees, so I wonít be missing anything." Harry held up his satchel and waved goodbye to Ron and Hermione before heading back to school and toward Professor Snapeís classroom, wondering if heíd gone insane some time over the last week.

Knocking politely on the door, he braced himself for what he was sure was going to be a rant of epic proportions on Snapeís part.

Draco sagged with relief as the door to the classroom banged shut behind him. Looking at his godfather, he waited until Snape nodded that it was safe and slumped into his seat. Now all they had to do was wait for Potter to show up.

"How are you holding up, Dragon?" Snape asked quietly, coming over to put an arm around his godsonís shoulders.

"You could have at least warned me how hard this spying thing is," Draco sniffled, burying his face in Snapeís robes, which smelled like of the unlikely combination of lavender and asphodel.

"It is not something I could discuss with you until you were free of your father. You know you might very well have had to..."

"No! I wouldnít have," Draco interrupted vehemently. "Even if it meant being disowned and penniless. I... I saw too much, Uncle, knew too much. I might be a selfish, childish, spoiled little git, but I couldnít do those things, those unspeakably evil things that I saw my father do. I just couldnít."

"I know, Dragon. But I had to be sure; too much was at stake."

Neither heard the door creak open, a door that only one other person could get through at the moment as Snape had set his wards to allow only Potter to enter the room in light of the potion they had to work on today.

"Do you know I actually had to shag Zabini again last night?" Draco sniffed. "Itís like shagging a girl, I swear. Iím just grateful that Parkinson didnít want me to do her too to prove my loyalty. Salazar, she still expects me to marry her once we graduate and fulfill the contract our fathers made. Iíd marry Longbottom before her; hell, Iíd marry Weasel before her!"

Hearing that, Harry fisted his hand on the strap to the bag he was carrying, causing the bottles inside it to clink together. The two Slytherins looked up at him, but he managed to keep a bland expression, telling himself he didnít care who Malfoy shagged.

Feeling suddenly stupid for bringing the things from Hogsmeade, he set the satchel down and stiffened his spine. "So, are we going to do this or what?"

Snapeís eyebrow quirked, and he looked down his long nose. "Are you sure you want to assist us, Mr. Potter? Draco and I can manage the potion quite well on our own. After all, we wouldnít want to inconvenience our local celebrity, now would we?"

"Ease off, Uncle Sev," Draco butted in. "He said he wanted to help, and he does."

Looking over at Harry, Draco had to ask, "Weasel probably wants to kill me, so I wonít ask how heís doing, but... Granger knew I didnít mean it, didnít she? I had to put on a good show; Iím being watched rather closely now. It was the most obvious and quickest way that the others would approve of. I didnít want to call her that but... well, letís face it, the Draco Malfoy that everyone knows and loves to despise would do just that. Had to stay in character."

"Draco," Snape interrupted quietly. "At least it was only some spiteful name calling. Youíve never had to take a life in order to keep from being discovered. Merlynís protection that you never do. Sheíll survive and grow stronger for it; they all will, or theyíll just be fodder for the war that is inevitable. You canít mollycoddle the world; itís not a nice place to be right now.

"That said, Potter, you prepare the cauldron and cutting table. Draco, fetch the more common ingredients we will need, and Iíll go into my personal stores to get the rarer ones. We havenít all day."

"Youíd have to ask Hermione how she feels," Harry said quietly. "She didnít tell me." Not wanting to discuss it further, he walked to the storage room to get the working cauldron and the much scarred table, feeling like a work horse.

Eyeing Potter uncomfortably, Draco went over to the cabinets and began to take out the ingredients that the potion theyíd uncovered needed and began laying them out neatly on the worktable. "Have... have you been sleeping all right, since the other night?" Draco asked him as he worked quietly by Harryís side.

Harry shrugged. "Better than you it would seem," he answered, thumping the table into place and backing up so Draco could set the items he was carrying down on it.

"Why do you say that? Do I look like I havenít been sleeping?"

"Sounded like it."

"What are you talking about, Potter? You mean about me and Zabini? Bollocks, that was over in less than an hour, and I kicked him out. No way Iíd ever actually sleep in the same bed as another Slytherin. I value my life far too much for that, thank you all the same." Draco replied with a snort. "Besides, itís not like it meant anything. Just another performance by Draco the spy. Maybe I should be nominated for a Golden Witch Ball award or something."

Harry frowned, still not liking the fact that Zabini had had his hands and mouth and dick all over Draco. "Order of Merlyn First Class is more fitting."

"HA!" the sound came out harsh and bitter, more bitter than Draco intended. Snape poked his head out of the storeroom and watched his godson carefully. "The Order of Merlyn First Class? Thatís for anyone but a Slytherin, Potter. Be realistic. Uncle Sev will never see it for all heís sacrificed for the cause. Oh sure, theyíll give him the Order second class, but first class? And I sure as hell wonít for sleeping with a snot-nosed, poncy boy just because his daddy wants to make sure ickle bitty Draco Malfoy is still in the Ďgameí. Get real. Iíll be lucky to get out of this with all my body parts intact."

Spinning on his heel, he marched over to the supply cabinet and began to pull out the next set of ingredients with a little more force than necessary. Snape sighed and returned to his storeroom, disheartened to see that his godson was quite rapidly turning into the spitting image of the man he had become over the years - bitter and unhappy.

At that point, Harry swore to himself that if he made it through this alive, both Malfoy and Snape would get the awards they deserved. Of course, getting out of it alive was a very large if, but maybe he could talk to Dumbledore about it and make some kind of recommendation...

Of course, neither Malfoy nor Snape would welcome pity or even sympathy, so Harry snorted out a laugh. "Have some cheese with that whine, why donít you." It was an expression heíd learned at the Dursleysí, so he doubted Draco had ever heard it before, but he was smart; heíd get the meaning.

"What are you..." Draco began and then cocked his head slightly. "Muggle?" he guessed. "They just get more and more peculiar as I learn more about them. What an odd sort of thing to say. Having cheese with oneís wine is very... plebian, unless of course itís the correct wine and the cheese is either a dessert cheese or an appetizer... oh, did you mean whine as in whinge?"

Harry applauded sarcastically. "Five points to Slytherin for knowledge of Muggle Studies."

"Having never taken Muggle Studies, youíre lucky I guessed it at all," Draco replied with a haughty sniff. "My father wouldnít allow it. He said, and I quote, ĎThe only thing you will ever need to know about Muggles is that they scream before they die.í End quote. Charming fellow, my father," he continued, his voice quavering slightly before hardening once more. He would not let Lucius do this to him; he would not let the pain of a fatherís betrayal destroy him.

"Amazingly, they sound just like wizards and witches. I suppose he never took notice of that."

"Apparently not, well, either that or he would use a silencing spell on wizarding folk. Apparently he had some small modicum of a conscience after all, not much and it was more to spare himself from the noise, no doubt, but he had it." Draco shrugged and pulled out the potions book that contained the concoction they were to create, rereading it one last time so that he had the ingredients memorized exactly.

"He may have, but Voldemort doesnít," Harry murmured, neatening piles of herbs that were already meticulously spaced out.

"Quite true, Potter. Now if you both would be so kind as to begin with the herbs," Snape said, whirling into the lab, robe flaring behind him. "These and these need to be chopped, those minced, those ones simply stripped off their stems, and those diced. We will need fresh chopped shrivelfig as well as one ashwinder egg and some essence of lavender to start. Now hop to it, both of you, we havenít all day!"

Harry blinked in surprise. "You actually want me to work on this?" he asked.

"Would I have requested your presence here otherwise, Potter?" Snape sneered and then relented after a look from Draco. "Very well, yes, I want you to work on this potion with us, Potter," Snape said as politely as he could before turning to Draco. "Youíre developing some rather unsettling Gryffindor-like tendencies, Dragon, not letting me have any fun like that."

Draco smiled. "Well, itís rather hard not to, having been surrounded by the three worst culprits for some time now. Rather like you act strangely after having spent too much time with Dumbledore and McGonagall."

Harry managed to swallow back a laugh that surely would have lost Gryffindor half their points. "So, so we just need to get Crabbe and Goyle to drink a bit of this potion, and weíll be able to know where they are at all times, right?" He was pretty sure that was how Hermione explained it to him and wasnít she going to be brassed off that theyíd made it without her.

"Pretty much," Draco agreed, casting a glance at his godfather. Truth be told the real reason why Potter was here was so that Snape could insist that he test the potion out on Potter first. Which in turn meant that Draco would be able to track Potter if he were to go and do something ĎGryffindorishí. Even Dumbledore agreed to this particular course of action, so it was pretty obvious that Draco wasnít the only one who suspected Harry might go off on his own and get himself blown up or something.

As Harry chopped the shrivelfig, he nodded. "So weíll all be able to tell where they are, or is it keyed to one person?"

"There has to be a Ďcontributioní from each target, much the same way as with the polyjuice potion. A potion Iím quite sure youíre somewhat familiar with, Mr. Potter, hmmm?" Snape smirked as he reached over and plucked a few hairs right from the top of Harryís head, ignoring the sound of protest.

"Now this is a rather ingenious spell. It lasts for up to a month, and it cannot be flushed from the system by any means, nor is it detectable. This potion is, in fact, borderline dark magic. There is a component spell to it, but that spell is cast upon the Ďtrackerí so that they can follow their target and be constantly aware of what said target is doing. Iím somewhat surprised that Ms. Granger would willingly consider using such a potion," Snape continued, a new sort of respect in his voice.

"Potter, you will be our guinea pig for this demonstration. Draco, you shall be the hunter. Now, back to work."

Having flushed at Snapeís reminder of the whole fiasco with the polyjuice potion, Harry almost missed what he said afterward, but at the last he balked. "What? Shouldnít we try it on someone we really want to track?"

"Because, Mr. Potter, you are here, and as Draco is going to be the one casting the tracking spell on Crabbe and Goyle, he will need to learn how to do so. And I wish to observe a controlled experiment to make sure it works before field testing it. Are you arguing with my methods?" Snape growled menacingly. "Five points from Gryffindor for impertinence!"

"But..." Harry figuratively bit his tongue. "Fine."

"So nice to know you agree with me, Potter," Snape replied dryly as he began to mix the base for the potion.

Draco calmly continued chopping his portion of the ingredients, making sure his face remained carefully neutral. The last thing he wanted was for Potter to suspect that he had been the one to instigate this little controlled test. "All done, Uncle Sev, what do I do next?"

Barely acknowledging the others, Harry continued to chop, mince, mix and do whatever else he was instructed to do, his mind whirling as he tried to find a way around having Draco know his whereabouts every second of the day. No one was going to get hurt because of him again, and for certain, no one was going to die.

When Snape at last judged the potion ready, he poured out the proper measure and handed it to Potter. "Down the hatch, Potter. It needs about half an hour to work into your system. Well, what are you waiting for, boy?"

Knowing he couldnít stall any longer, Harry took the mug and gulped its contents down, relieved to find that the liquid didnít taste quite as horrific as many others heíd tasted. "So do I need to stay here until it takes effect?" he asked.

"I would prefer it, yes, so I can monitor you. I will need to know if there are any side effects that can be detected by the one ingesting the potion. Though in the case of Crabbe and Goyle that is very unlikely, the amount of rubbish those two consume," Snape replied derisively, "so if you have homework, which I know you do - potions at least - now would be the ideal time to do it."

Groaning, Draco dutifully pulled out his potions book and parchment. A ten-inch essay on the various applications and uses for bubotubor pus, not including the cure for acne, how delightful! Glancing at Harry, he gave the other boy a wan smile. "Well, think of it this way, at least youíll be able to shock Granger by having it done and wonít have to listen to her nag you to finish in time," he offered.

"No," Harry sighed, knowing Draco wasnít at fault in this matter and trying not to take his annoyance out on him, "Iíll just have to listen to her quiz me on what we did here. Maybe you can explain it, youíll do a hell of a lot better then I will."

Looking around, he realized he hadnít brought anything to write with or on. "Have a spare quill and parchment I can borrow? Mine are all back in the dorm."

Reaching silently into his book bag, Draco pulled out another sheet of parchment and another sugarquill, one of his personal weaknesses, as he liked to suck on the tip of his quill between writing. Moving the ink well between them, he flashed Harry a quick grin before beginning to write.

Snape watched all of this with mild curiosity. Draco wouldnít be stupid enough to fall in love with Potter, would he?"

"Thanks," Harry murmured, looking down at the blank sheet but finding himself distracted by the way Draco was sucking on his quill. Tearing his gaze away, he thought of anything he could to dispel the sudden and painful erection heíd developed from the sight of Dracoís thin, aristocratic lips wrapped around the writing implement. Dementors, Voldemort, Snape in a dress... Thankfully that combination did the trick, and he vowed to keep from looking back at Draco no matter what.

Murmuring softly to himself, Draco shifted slightly in his seat, his arm brushing against Harryís. Nibbling on the tip of his sugarquill for a moment, he began to jot down the first part of his essay in his elegant script, intent on getting the words correct.

Dipping the sugarquill back into the ink, he continued until the first flow of words was complete. With a satisfied smile, he laid the quill down and stretched massively, his back arching over the back of the chair and his shirt riding up to expose a thin patch of taut stomach.

Donít look, donít look, donít... Harry canted a glance to the side and bit back a moan at the sight of Dracoís exposed stomach. Setting the quill down rather more carefully than he would have one of his own, he stood and moved away to pace restlessly around the room.

"Is something the matter, Potter?" Snape asked, having witnessed the whole scene with a resigned sort of amusement. "A side effect of the potion perhaps? Agitation, the flushed features and the nervous energy, perhaps? Or is that a condition of some other... stimulus?"

Harry turned, glaring darkly at Snape. "Potter in a tizzy, itís quite amusing, isnít it? Iím surprised something wasnít included about having no brain as Iím not able to sit still for any length of time. You know what, letís really test this thing out, yes? If it works, you come find me, if not, then I suppose weíre back to square one. Oh, and enjoy the butterbeer." Saying that, he slammed out of the workroom, neither knowing or caring how many points Snape docked Gryffindor for his outburst.

Snape waited a few heartbeats then burst out into rusty laughter. He hadnít been this amused in... in almost a lifetime. "Best go after him, Dragon, use the locator spell. Iíll take care of cleaning up the mess and make sure your homework is sent back. Oh, and take the butterbeer with you, canít stand the stuff."

Looking at his godfather as if the man had finally qualified for a room at St. Mungoís, Draco pulled his wand out and pointed it at himself, muttering the spell. Picking up the satchel, he followed Harry out the door, letting the spell guide him outside, past the whomping willow and all the way to the quidditch pitch where he found Harry sitting in one of the stands, hurling stones with all his might.

Sitting down next to him, he muttered a cooling charm on the satchel and then took the two bottles out. "Butterbeer?" he asked mildly.

"So we can toast your successful leash?" Harry shot back.

"Actually I was thinking more along the lines of being the first Gryffindor in recent memory to actually have the nerve to tell Snape off and live to tell about it," Draco replied in the same mild tone. "I stand corrected, I donít deserve the Golden Witch Ball, you do. That was quite the performance!"

"Iím sure next time I look at the House point tally, Gryffindor will be in the negative numbers," Harry answered, holding out his hand for the drink and talking a long swig of it. "So, was it easy to track me with that?"

"Actually, and if you ever tell another living soul, he will remove enough house points that your Gryffindor great-grandchildren will be in negative points, he laughed his arse off. I canít remember the last time I saw him do that. Thank you," Draco replied with a fond smile.

He paused to consider his next answer. The very fact that Harry was asking about the ease of the tracking potion tipped him off that perhaps Hogwartsí resident celebrity was more interested in how it would track him as opposed to how it would track Crabbe and Goyle.

So Draco did what he did best, he lied. "Actually it was much easier tracking you by sound. Really, Potter, how have you managed to do all those illegal things you have when you sound like a herd of erumpents stampeding? You really need to master the art of walking silently.

"As for the potion, Uncle Sev feels that Crabbe and Goyle will need a stronger dose for it to be really effective." But thatís because theyíre behemoths and youíve got the deliciously sleek and slender body of a seeker, Draco thought with no little appreciation for Harryís physique. Not that Harry needed to know that little detail; chances were heíd think the potion less effective if he thought the dose needed to be increased.

Unable to stop himself from giving a small chuckle at the unbelievable thought of Snape hysterical with laughter, Harry took another drink from his bottle. "So youíre telling me you heard me here on the pitch from Snapeís lab? You are hanging around with us too much if your lying is getting that bad."

"Potter, I heard you stampeding up the dungeon stairs when I left the potions lab, clattering across the main foyer when I reached the top of the stairs, stomping down the front steps as I crossed the main hall, and from there it was easy. Kind of hard to miss the Gryffindor red and gold scarf waving like a banner in the breeze as you trekked out here, you know. Besides, where else would the youngest seeker in a century go to mope other than the quidditch pitch, while outside that is? If youíd remained indoors, youíd have ended up in either the Astronomy tower or Gryffindor tower. Am I right?" Draco queried.

Harry glowered. "Sorry to be so predictable. Would you care to try again to see if I can provide some kind of challenge for your other-worldly Slytherin intellect?"

Draco quirked one silvery eyebrow. "Well, if you feel so intimidated by Slytherin intellect, perhaps we should try and communicate the Gryffindor way. Physically." And with that Draco finally gave in and pressed his lips against Harryís hungrily, wanting to taste the Gryffindor Golden Boy and his own personal raison díetre.

Stunned by this turn of events, Harry sat stock still for a moment before instincts kicked in and he reacted. The bottle of butterbeer fell to the ground below the stands as his hands rose to grab at Dracoís robe, holding the other boy into a kiss that had started out taunting but now changed to something animal and wild.

Groaning at the unleashed passion in Potterís delicious assault, Draco wondered distractedly if heíd let loose a demon upon his person, not that he was complaining; Potter could maul him any day of the week and every bloody weekend too!

Deciding that surrendering was what he wanted to do at the moment, Draco softened his lips and wrapped his arms around Harryís neck, fingers finally getting to card through the black silk of the other teenís hair.

Taking control of the kiss, Draco pulled Harry closer and all but crawled into Potterís lap. He straddled the Gryffindor, his knees braced on the bench on either side of Harryís hips, taking the dominant position in the kiss. This allowed for Draco to make Harryís head tilt back as well as caused the rest of Potterís body to lean back against the bleacher seat behind them.

Using gravity and the placement of their bodies to his advantage, Draco began to grind down on Harryís prick, feeling it thicken and lengthen within the confines of his regulation school trousers. Nipping and sucking on Harryís lower lip, Draco peeled Harryís glasses off and let them drop. Draco wondered, his brain swirling with a fugue of lust and need, if he had ever wanted this badly before in his life. The need was a sharp ache, almost like being the recipient of a Crucio. He didnít realize he had begun to whimper with frustrated hunger as he tried to get closer, delve deeper, taste more, feel everything.

Harry moaned, lust burning along his nerves like a lightning strike. He could feel Draco on top of him, pressing down onto him as if trying to melt into him. A frantic thought that he was making out with Draco Malfoy skittered across Harryís brain, only to be replaced by the terrifying knowledge that there was no one else heíd rather be with.

Frustrated by the layers between them, Harry released Dracoís robe and shoved his hands beneath that and the other boyís jumper and shirt, finding cool, silky flesh covering taut muscle. Draco groaned at that touch, and Harry took advantage of the slight reprieve from his voracious kiss to launch an assault of his own, probing Malfoyís mouth, learning his taste and the texture of his tongue and teeth.

This is what it is to truly fly, Draco thought vaguely as his mouth fell open to Harryís attack. It was like executing the perfect Wronski Feint or catching the Snitch, that flash of victory, the knowledge that nothing could ever replace this moment and this feeling.

Fast on the heels of that thought came another one; he, Draco Malfoy, was out with Harry Potter. In public. And students would be coming back from Hogsmeade soon. Damnation!

Reluctantly Draco peeled his lips off of Harryís and looked down into the lust-flushed face beneath his. "You are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my entire life," Draco whispered, his voice rough from the strain of denying himself what he wanted and his lips swollen and bee stung. "I never want this to end; I want to touch you everywhere, taste you. I want to hear you cry out when I swallow your prick down my throat and suck you off. I want to eat you alive," Draco growled.

"But we have to stop, Merlyn protect me from going mad, we have to, before someone sees us," Draco moaned, writhing against the other teen. "Too Ď much is at stake much I want younow to take these risks.

"But make no mistake, this isnít over, Potter. I will have you - hard, aching and hungry beneath me, calling out my name as if it were the only thing to save you from going mad with need. And I will be the only thing to save you."í

"And then, Harry, you will have me. Any and every way you want. I want you to... Iíve never wanted anyone to have me, not since Flint and that night in the broomshed, but I want you to have me. I want to give myself to you, if youíll take me."

It took a long moment for Harry to focus, first on Dracoís face, then on his words. He swallowed a hysterical laugh as he listened to the other boyís heated explanation, wondering for a brief instant if this was all some complicated plot to drive him starkers.

"If?" he finally managed to get out. "If? My god, Malfoy, if you havenít figured that out by now, youíre blind." He bucked upward enough to rub his aching erection against Dracoís, cursing the layers between them.

"Far be it from me to assume that the eminently shaggable Harry Potter would deign to actually want humble Slytherin me," Draco moaned, still able to maintain his sarcasm, biting his lip hard in response to the wave of lust that coursed through his veins like the most potent of poisons.

"And for Merlynís sake, my name is Draco, you git, at least when weíre alone or around Granger and the Weasel. Any other time itís better I remain Malfoy until... well until," the Slytherin continued, reluctantly climbing off of Harryís lap and beginning to right himself while glancing about to see if theyíd been spotted yet.

When he was at last looking close to his normal cool self (apart from the ravaged lips), he glanced sardonically at Harry. "If you stay there like that long enough, Granger and Weasley are going to come looking for you, and then after getting a proper bellowing at from Weasley about protecting your virtue from a slimy Slytherin with tricky hands, youíll get a lecture from Hermione while the Weasel hunts me down and tries to do heinous things to my person. Not that I mind knowing that I made you looked that debauched and luscious."

Picking up his bottle of butterbeer and draining half of it, he offered the other half to Harry. "Oh and Potter, you still have your invisibility cloak, correct? And you know how to get into Slytherin? And, I assume, you know where the prefectís rooms are located? The password to get into mine is Patronus." And with that Draco ambled off, making his way back to Slytherin House.

Harry sat where he was, unable to catch his breath, wondering if his legs would support him when he stood or if heíd fall flat over on his face. Draco had vanished from sight before Harry finally realized his glasses were missing and that he probably looked totally debauched - but not debauched enough, damnit!

Groaning, he sat up and felt around for his glasses, finally finding them farther down the bench. Setting them on his face, he raked his hands through his hair then touched his swollen lips, still tasting Draco in his mouth.

"God, what am I doing?" he murmured, looking up at the reddening sky, then laughing. Oh, he knew what he was doing, and what he was going to do, that was what terrified him.

  since 02-04-07

 

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