Warning: Slash, gayness, whatever. Don't care. Am in bad mood. Will vent bad mood by writing. Hope this works. Grr. Page won't show me half my reviews. Damnit.
Disclaimer: Doesn't belong to me. Belongs to JK Rowling.
Summary: The final battle is approaching, and no one is under any illusions. This is, and always was, Harry Potter's fight. While he himself tries to prepare for what lies ahead, treated as though the fight is already lost, difficulties occur in the form of Draco Malfoy. Death Eater, spy of Voldemort, or the greatest love he'll ever have?
A Harry Potter Fanfiction
By Knowing Shadows
Hogwarts stood looming and dark on the cliff over the lake, its many lights twinkling, welcoming to those who had yet to enter its halls. The towers were too numerous to count, and anyone else would have missed it, but the students who had been there last year could see where there was a tower missing where it had collapsed. It struck at them painfully as they remembered. The mood was dampened by the memory of those who had died, and the thought that any of the poor first years would haunt Hogwarts as ghosts was too terrible to contemplate.
The new first years were being rowed over the black lake, lanterns bobbing with the waves and the golden reflections flickering in the water. If you looked hard enough, you could probably see the outline of Hagrid on the boat at the head of the little fleet. It was good to know some things never changed.
The rest of the school was being ferried to Hogwarts in carriages. Harry stared out of the window at Hogwarts as they were drawn closer. He was in need of a good feast. Maybe it would lift his mood a little. Malfoy's strange behaviour had been disturbing, and explanation after absurd explanation forced itself into Harry's head to try and solve the puzzle. In the end, the excuses he was coming up with were so ridiculous he turned it into a competition to see just how strange they could get. It was only when they all started involving feathers and a monkey that he decided to stop it before he was permanently scarred for life.
Professor McGonagall was watching him out of the corner of her eye. Harry could see her as he stared at the reflection in the window of the carriage. He watched the entrance of Hogwarts getting larger and larger as they drew closer, and felt (not for the first time) proud of being a member of the school. He was part of the main defence against Voldemort; a defence that was respected the world over.
"Professor, did you manage to get my books for me?" Harry asked, turning to his Head of House, pushing his glasses up his nose. He hadn't been allowed to Diagon Alley, so Professor McGonagall had said she would get them for him.
The straight-backed Professor nodded curtly. "They're in your dorm, Harry."
Harry smiled gratefully and jumped as thunder suddenly boomed loudly overhead. Hogwarts was lit up in a flash of lightning, and then the downpour came. Rain battered the carriage mercilessly, deafeningly loud. The students inside the carriage all looked round in surprise. Obviously a storm had not been expected, though there was rarely a week without several, these days.
Harry wondered how wet the first years would get crossing the lake.
Ron leaned over and whispered to Harry, "Maybe we should have given the first years the Canary Creams. I reckon feathers would've held off the rain better." Harry grinned at the mental image of a fleet of human-sized canaries crossing the lake.
The Grand Hall looked as towering and magnificent as it always did. The candles hung above the tables, suspended in mid-air, and lending the room the gothic touch it really needed to shine. The ceiling reflected the sky outside - black clouds with lightning forks lighting it, a brilliant display of colour. The only thing quite eerie about it was that it was silent - no cracks as the lightning struck, nor any rolls of thunder, and from inside you could not hear the storm outside.
The Sorting Hat, looking as ratty and ragged as ever, had currently engulfed the head and shoulders of a first year and the school were waiting for it to shout out its choice of house. Hermione was watching the little boys and girls starry-eyed, and every few seconds would nudge Ron and say, "Aww, aren't they cute? I can't believe we were that small once!" to which her boyfriend would nod, sigh and say, "Yes, Herm', I can't believe it either." Harry wondered whether he was referring to the first years or not. He caught the redhead's eye and winked. Ron grinned back and twined his fingers with Hermione's. For all he sometimes acted like he wondered why he was going out with her, Harry knew Ron really loved Hermione, and had done for a long time.
At that moment, only their regular teachers were sitting at the high table. Dumbledore, with his white beard, was beaming cheerfully round at everyone. McGonagall was with the first years and her little list of names to call out (which she did so well). Snape sat bad-tempered by Dumbledore, but his sharp gaze was searching the Slytherin table calmly. Harry couldn't see anyone there to replace their Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. Maybe they were arriving later, a la 'Mad Eye Moody'. Though preferably without the whole 'trying-to-get-Harry-killed' agenda.
The Sorting Hat suddenly opened its mouth and yelled out, "RAVENCLAW!" The little boy took off the hat to the cheering and clapping of the Ravenclaw table, put the hat on the stool and went to join his fellow housemates.
"Jenkins, Alice!" Professor McGonagall shouted, and a slender, blonde girl walked up and sat down, pulling the hat over her head. It took almost no time at all for the hat to yell out, "SLYTHERIN!" The Slytherin table broke out into clapping as the girl went to join them.
Harry's gaze followed the girl to the Slytherin table. He immediately (if subconsciously) searched for the familiar blond head of his arch nemesis, and was profoundly uneasy when he could not find it among his fellow Slytherins. Pansy Parkinson seemed nervous as well - and probably for the same reason. Crabbe and Goyle were enjoying the Sorting Ceremony and didn't seem to have noticed their friend had failed to turn up.
The Gryffindor table burst into applause and Harry joined in belatedly as a dark-haired boy joined their table. He was becoming far too preoccupied by the whereabouts and activities of Malfoy. Maybe he was just paranoid, looking for spies everywhere he went, and all his suspicions immediately went to his blond enemy. He doubted Malfoy was doing anything illegal or remotely Death Eater-related, but that didn't ease his troubled mind. Maybe he plotting an extra evil plan against Harry to make up for his missed insulting opportunities earlier on today. That would make sense.
"Harry, pay attention!" Hermione hissed, giving a hard poke in the side. Harry jumped and twisted away from her, but knew she was right. He was letting himself become too suspicious of things. He needed to lighten up.
The rest of the new students didn't take long to be Sorted, and then Dumbledore coughed. The whole hall went quiet as the old Headmaster stood. Dumbledore ran his hands down his beard, and then looked around the hall, seemingly at every student in turn. "Welcome," he said, "to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Good luck to you all this year, for not only will you be working hard for the end of year tests, but you are attending this school in a time of great peril. This year will probably be the hardest to get through for most of us, for a very long time. In your classes, remember this - every charm, spell or potion you learn will have to be used outside the classroom. Some will save your life."
There was a stunned, uncomfortable silence in the hall. Harry looked at Ron and Hermione. Dumbledore had never made a speech like that before at the beginning of year. But, then again, this year probably called for it. The first years fidgeted nervously in their seats, glancing at each other in wide-eyed terror.
"Also," Dumbledore continued, "there are several changes to Hogwarts. You will see several adults around the school who you will not recognise as staff. As Hogwarts is an obvious target for Voldemort," - several first years gasped at the use of Voldemort's name - "they have been hired for your protection. Two adults will be assigned to each House. You are to respect them the same way you respect me, and will follow their orders if they give you any. This year, we welcome back a Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher those of you in the fifth year and above will remember." At this point he seemed to look straight at Harry and wink. Harry frowned, not understanding. "He is also one of the protectors we have hired this year, and is assigned to the Gryffindor House."
The school attempted to digest this and Harry saw Snape slumping in his seat, obviously annoyed at failing to get the job yet again. Same old Potions Master. Harry, Ron and Hermione all suspected Snape would never get the job. He really was suited to being Potions Master, despite the fact he was "evil, evil, EVIL!" (according to Ron).
"And, without further ado, enjoy the meal!" Dumbledore grinned brightly, clapped his hands, and the feast was officially opened. The conversation started quite hesitantly after the Headmaster's surprising speech, but then the noise was at full pitch and everyone seemed to have forgotten. Ron was helping himself to some chicken, heaping it on his plate while Hermione watched him in horror as she helped herself to some potatoes. Harry waited for Ron to finish with the chicken, glancing over at the Slytherin table. No blond head.
"I wonder where Malfoy went," Harry wondered aloud. Seamus Finnigan, his Head Boy badge half-hidden in a fold in his robes, raised an eyebrow at him.
"What d'you want Malfoy for? The less I see him the better," the Irish teenager told him, searching for some gravy, which had disappeared up the far end of the table. "Probably gone to sabotage our common room or something. Sounds like him."
"Ah, but we have our mysterious protectors in our common room, do we not?" Ron pointed out with a wave of his fork. "He'll have them to deal with! Would serve him right, I tell you!"
"Who could it be?" Hermione asked, scowling at Ron for speaking with his mouth full. "They said we should remember them. If the fifth years were in the first year then, we would have been in the third year..."
They all looked at each other in surprise as the name of one person crossed their minds. Ron looked like he was about to spit out his food. "They wouldn't have-" he said, with his mouth full again.
"But he said he couldn't stay!" Harry exclaimed, but at the same time hope was lifting his spirits to incredible proportions. "I mean, we all begged him to stay, but he said he couldn't!"
"Maybe /that's/ why Snape doesn't look so happy," Ron pointed out. "His job got stolen by the same person twice."
Harry began to silently pray that their suspicions were right, and their new teacher for Defence Against the Dark Arts was who they hoped it was. He looked over at Snape again, as if that would give him confirmation, but the Potions teacher had his glare pointed at the back of the hall. Harry turned to look, and could see a familiar figure peering round the slightly opened door, searching for a way to sneak in. "Why, hello Malfoy," he murmured under his breath. "What have you been up to today?"
Of course, the blond Slytherin couldn't hear him from his position across the hall. Harry continued to watch him, suspicions high again. He couldn't help it. He was trained to be this way, and it had been drilled into him for the last two years that every suspicion, however small, might one day save lives. And he had plenty of reason to suspect Draco Malfoy. He was still waiting to hear about Arthur Weasley's proposed enquiry into the Malfoy family.
Malfoy looked around again, then crouched down low and crept round the door, hidden from the sight of the teachers by students and tables. He pushed the door closed very slowly so as not to grab attention, and then crawled over to the Slytherin table, along the back side, and appeared in his seat between Crabbe and Goyle, looking pleased with himself.
//What /has/ he been up to?//
Immediately, Malfoy was the centre of discussion, with the others no doubt asking where he was and what he'd been doing. Malfoy grinned and started to talk to them in a low voice. Very soon he had the attention of almost every Slytherin at his end of the table.
"Who's that?" asked a small voice, and Harry turned to see a first year had asked this question of Ron. "The Slytherin who just came in?"
//Ron'll give the poor kid nightmares with his tales about Malfoy.//
"Him?" Ron quickly swallowed his food. "That's Draco Malfoy. You want to steer clear of him and his gang. They like causing trouble for Gryffindors. Harry and Malfoy are arch enemies."
"Harry? Harry...Potter?" The first year, a small boy with brown hair, seemed extremely nervous sitting near seventh years. "I heard he came to the school..."
"Yup." Ron grinned at Harry, and then pointed at him. The first year stared at Harry in awe and admiration. "That's Harry. He's my best mate. And he hates Malfoy, which is always a good thing."
Harry smiled faintly, then looked back across at the Slytherin in question. He still had the others enthralled by whatever he was saying. The bad thing about people like him was that they were charismatic, and that instantly drew people to his side. Harry knew plenty of people outside the Slytherin house who actually had crushes on him, which he couldn't really understand, having disliked Malfoy intensely for the last six years.
At that moment, Malfoy's grey eyes met Harry's green, and for a moment they just stared at each other. Harry was determined not to look away, not to back down. He backed down from Malfoy far too much. The blond boy just stared back, then smirked and said something to the Slytherins, still staring at Harry. Pansy Parkinson looked over and pulled a face at him. Malfoy mouthed "What do you want, Potter?"
Harry mouthed back, "I saw you come in late," saying the words slowly so hopefully Malfoy would understand.
Malfoy raised an eyebrow, giving him the patronising look he had come to expect over the years. "So?" he mouthed with a small shrug.
"What were you doing?" Harry didn't expect him to answer, but thought it was worth a try anyway.
Malfoy's smiled brilliantly, and Harry did a double take. Had he ever seen Malfoy smile like that before? He didn't think he had, which was probably why he couldn't see why people fancied Malfoy before-
//Wait a minute, where did that come from?//
Malfoy seemed not to have seen Harry's expression, for he then tapped the side of his nose, indicating it was his secret. Harry glared across at him, and Malfoy offered another smile in return. Harry felt it from his fingers to his toes. A sinking feeling settled in his stomach after the rush had gone, leaving him feel cold.
//I'm going insane, I swear.//
"What was that all about?" Hermione asked in a small voice at his side, and when he looked over, he could see a worried expression on her face. "You just shivered. It's not cold..."
Great, so Hermione had noticed. Thank God she hadn't seen Malfoy smiling at him. Because then the ideas would have been flying and Harry wouldn't have heard the end of it from her, and then she'd tell Ron, who'd laugh himself silly.
"Felt cold for a second," Harry told her, with what he hoped was a reassuring smile. "It's gone now."
How he hoped it had gone.
The new password turned out to be "Bertie Bott", which reminded Ron of how he'd thrashed Hermione at Exploding Snap and he had eaten all her Every Flavour Beans. Hermione just glared darkly at him, making the redhead shut up, looking cowed. Harry snickered. It took a while for them to get in, since the first years (and all the other Gryffindors) had to go in first. Hermione and Seamus were expected to be at the rear, so they were, and Ron and Harry stayed with them.
Harry just wanted to collapse in his bed, he wanted to go to sleep. Today had been too strange for his liking. As he clambered in through the portrait hole, he noticed that all the others had stopped in front of him. "What's going on?" he asked, curious. Was something in the common room? Maybe Malfoy /had/ done something.
No one answered him. Hermione was calling from behind, trying to get people moving as she couldn't get in with everyone standing there. Harry started trying to push his way through to the front. The Gryffindors reluctantly parted for him when they realised he was there, and Harry eventually managed to get into the common room itself.
And stopped dead.
Sitting in two of the chairs, arranged so a table was between them where a game of wizards chess was set up, were the two men whom Harry presumed were the Gryffindors' designated 'protectors'. Both men he knew very well. One had black hair that fell to his shoulders, and piercing eyes that rested sharply on him. The other had light brown hair, with wisps of grey in it, with one larger streak of it at the front, framing the left side of his thin face. They all stared at each other, Harry in shock, and the two men looked only slightly uncomfortable.
Harry's voice caught in his throat. "Sirius?" he choked out eventually. "Is that really you?"
The black-haired man grinned wolfishly. "Hallo there, Harry. Nice to see you again."
Harry couldn't believe his eyes. He blinked furiously. "But, what are you doing here? I know you had a pardon from Azkaban last year, but I didn't think-"
"Your old Headmaster reckons I'm worth investing in," was the reply, with a wider grin. "Come on then, boy, get the poor kids in. We won't bite." Sirius then turned his dazzling smile on his companion, who jumped and stared blankly at Sirius, refusing to rise to the bait. "Will we, Remus?"
Remus Lupin continued to stare at Sirius, as if daring him to go further. "I might," he said darkly, and Sirius raised a disbelieving eyebrow at him.
"Are..." Harry didn't even want to ask, in case the answer was no. "Are you are new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Lupin?" He didn't know how Dumbledore had managed to get Professor Lupin past the Ministry of Magic, after Snape had 'accidentally' let slip about the fact the teacher was a werewolf. Harry thought he was in shock. They'd suspected it might have been Lupin, but he didn't think any of them had really believed it might be true.
Lupin turned his glare from Sirius, and transformed it into the friendly expression Harry was used to seeing there. "That I am. Apparently Dumbledore also saw me as an investment worth having."
Harry wanted to whoop for joy. He grinned at the old friends, and then turned to coax the students in. It took a while, but eventually everyone was inside and settling down. Hermione looked about to faint, and Ron was full of questions for how they both managed to get hired. Harry just sat with them and enjoyed their company, feeling happy for the first time today.
Later that night, Harry lay drowsily in his bed, staring up at the drapes. This felt oddly familiar. Why was it that he couldn't sleep? Maybe the nerves were getting to him after all. He always said that they weren't, that he didn't care. Maybe it was all a lie.
The Malfoy incidences were slowly and surely getting to him. He couldn't understand it. He'd always counted on Malfoy being the one constant in his life, that one thing he could deal with because he'd dealt with it before. But no, he should have guessed Malfoy would have changed his attitude just to be difficult. He was probably laughing at him right now.
He tried to recall the Ferret incidence to lighten his mood again. Malfoy had gone to attack him, he remembered, but what he'd said to make the blond boy resort to physical violence eluded his memory. Malfoy was one for verbal assault, usually. And then he remembered Mad Eye Moody (he still remembered Crouch as Moody, even though he knew they weren't the same) shouting something, and he had turned around to find a white ferret shivering on the cobblestones.
Ron had been in hysterics. But now he thought about it, he couldn't remember laughing. In fact, there wasn't really anything funny about it at all. And then Moody had gone one step further when Malfoy had attempted to make a dash for it, and started bouncing the ferret. Harry remembered the dull thud with which the ferret would hit the ceiling, and then another thud as he hit the floor. It made him sick to the stomach. How easy it would have been for Moody to bounce him slightly too hard, and break his back.
Not even Harry would have wished that on Malfoy.
He realised now that he had been grateful when Professor McGonagall had arrived to stop it. And he remembered the mussed up Malfoy climbing painfully to his feet. He had been /hurt/, how badly Harry didn't know. However much Malfoy annoyed him, and picked on him, he didn't want /anyone/ to get hurt, and that included the Slytherin. Thinking about the consequences of that, he could think about how harsh it had actually been. If that had been him, the bruising he would have received would probably have been enough to keep him bedridden for a week.
//My God, I really am going crazy. I'm feeling sorry for /Malfoy/.//
It was just the tiredness, he thought, eyes still open. Though, if he was tired, shouldn't he be able to sleep? And if he kept thinking like this, he was going to drive himself mad by the time morning came. Maybe a walk would do him good.
Decided on that, Harry got to his feet and pulled out his Invisibility Cloak from his trunk, and pulled it on. He could hear the slight snores of some of the others in his dorm room, and quietly slipped out. The common room was empty, and then he slid out of the portrait hole, the Fat Lady jerking out of a deep sleep with a little cry, and then looking extremely confused when she could see nothing.
He crept quietly along the corridors, knowing that if he was careful enough he didn't need the Marauder's Map. He could feel the cold of the stones through his shoes, and as he wandered, he realised how tense this year would be, with Lupin and Sirius on the scene, and Snape being able to hold a grudge for however long he needed to get revenge. And Snape hated Harry enough as it was, without him now having his godfather and a friend who would die rather than betray them now at Hogwarts as well.
As he peered round a corner, he saw the gargoyle that hid the entrance to Dumbledore's office. Had he really wandered this far already? It didn't seem more than ten minutes since he'd left the Gryffindor tower. Maybe he wasn't going insane, but going senile.
The urge to go and find Dumbledore and pour out his worries suddenly overwhelmed him at full force. He was too young for this, too young to stand up to Voldemort, too weak a wizard, and no one understood. How was he supposed to kill someone that powerful, when their wands wouldn't even go against each other? And Voldemort had all those followers who would do anything to gain favour in their Master's eyes, and would kill him with no regret. Who did he have? Ron and Hermione and Crookshanks the cat.
The idea of running to Dumbledore made him feel childish. He was seventeen, couldn’t he stand up for himself now? He didn't need to go and find an old man who had enough worries for himself. Did he really think he was the only one against Voldemort? Dumbledore was probably spending most of his energy setting up defences or finding out how to destroy the Dark Wizard. He didn't need to listen to the petty worries of a young boy.
He walked along to the gargoyle and lay on invisible hand on its smooth stone arm, as if that would make him feel better. Strangely enough, it did. He smiled a little. He knew Dumbledore was always there, and would always help him out. He didn't need to worry.
Just as he was feeling better, something solid walked straight into him. "Ow!" he cried, falling sideways. He heard an echoing "Ow!" from whoever had rammed into him. He tripped over the gargoyle's foot and fell backwards, landing on his back, the wind knocked out of him. He stared up at the ceiling, wondering how many times he'd be doing this today.
The Invisibility Cloak had slipped from around him, and he pulled himself upright to find himself looking up at a very familiar face. He inwardly groaned.
"What are you doing here, Potter?"
Draco Malfoy. Again.
Harry got up, pulling the shimmering silver cloak into his hands. "I should be asking you the same thing."
"I'm not the one sneaking around with an Invisibility Cloak," Malfoy sneered, giving the item in question a scathing glance. He put one fist on a slender hip, and then raised his grey eyes to Harry's face and gave him a long look. "So?"
"So what?" Harry asked, confused.
"Why /are/ you here?"
"Planning on running to dear old Snape?" Harry countered. "Oh dear, Harry Potter's on the loose!"
"You're such a pain in the arse, you know that, Potter?"
"I'm so glad."
"One of my best qualities, I assure you."
"I'll bet it is. I reckon that's the only reason you're alive. You Know Who will give up trying to kill you if you keep this up. I know I would."
"Oh, so you've thought of getting me killed before?"
"Plenty of times." Malfoy crossed his arms over his chest, the smirk reappearing. "Why, don't tell me you haven't thought the same of myself. I know I'm not your favourite person."
"I've never thought of killing anyone but Voldemort," Harry said truthfully, thoroughly confused as to the point of this conversation.
//As long as he doesn't smile again, I'm okay.//
At this, Malfoy looked genuinely surprised, which Harry found even more unnerving. This year might turn out to be more interesting than he'd anticipated.
"Oh really?" Malfoy looked at him suspiciously. "Well then, Harry Potter must be as noble as they all say."
"I'm not the only one full of surprises today," Harry said, looking Malfoy up and down. He could see black silk pyjamas beneath the cloak the other boy was wearing as protection against the cold.
Malfoy snorted. "What on earth are you talking about?"
"The fact that you're being awfully civil to me today."
"I was? Gosh, I must be losing my touch. My bad," Malfoy said, sarcasm heavy in his voice and a small smile lighting his pale face. "Guess I'll have to correct it, won't I?"
Harry sighed softly, running a hand through his unruly hair. "Why do we have to fight, Malfoy? There's no point. Can't you just stay being nice to me?"
"I'm a Malfoy," came the immediate reply, and Draco drew himself up to full height, where he was about the same height as Harry. There was a defensive glint in his eyes. "And you're the famous, great, wonderful Harry Potter." He dropped his voice, and his tone was fierce. "You're everything my family stands against, Harry."
The sound of his first name rolled off the tongue of Draco Malfoy made it sound forbidden, wanted but never touched. Harry felt the tingling at the base of his spine and forced himself to ignore it.
"But what do you stand against?" Harry asked, voice just as hushed and harsh. "You say your family stands against what I embody, but are you included in that, Draco?" He saw the startled look in Malfoy's eyes at the same use of his name, but it was gone in a flash.
"I am," Malfoy hissed. "I will always be, whether I want to or not. I cannot escape my family."
"You could try."
Malfoy's laugh was bitter and nearing hysterical in its quality. Harry shivered and involuntarily backed up a step. Malfoy gave him a lop-sided smile, as bitter as his laugh. "Have you ever met my father, Potter?" So it was back to last names again.
"Yes," Harry replied. Whenever Malfoy had spoken of his father, it had always been to defend him. "I've seen him several times."
"What did you think of him?" It was an honest question.
Harry didn't think Malfoy wanted a sugarcoated version of his opinion. "He's a nasty man. He's selfish, domineering and horrid."
"Then you know how I feel, somewhat." Malfoy chuckled darkly, though Harry didn't know what was funny. Malfoy stared down at the floor for a moment, then looked back up. His eyes were blazing, and Harry's breath caught in his throat at the intensity of the gaze. "I cannot disobey my father, Potter. He'd kill me."
Harry didn't think Malfoy was joking. "Can't you run away? Ask Dumbledore for protection?"
"If you think that is an option for me," Malfoy told him, "then you have no idea of the power my father possesses."
"Enough power to take you away from Dumbledore's protection?" Harry asked in disbelief. Looking down, he realised he was twisting the Invisibility Cloak in his hands. He forced himself to stop.
"You'd be surprised." Malfoy shrugged, gaze sliding from Harry to the gargoyle, as if it could offer him help instead. Suddenly he took what looked like a pocket watch from a fold in his robes. He stared at it for a minute. "It's late. One of the teachers will probably be along soon, if they haven't heard us already." The smirk plastered itself easily across Malfoy's features. Harry felt like a door had been closed on a side of Draco Malfoy he felt he would have liked. "Can't be seen conversing nicely with Potter, can I?"
Harry bristled, feeling like something had been taken from him unfairly. "Of course. Couldn't let that ruin your reputation, Malfoy."
"Reputation is everything," was the cryptic response. "Image can be the one thing between life and death." He grinned, a predatory expression, knowing he had Harry at the disadvantage. Then he turned and left, striding down the corridor without a care. Harry glared at his back and then turned to stalk back to the Gryffindor tower. He forgot to put the Invisibility Cloak back on.
Just what had happened back there? Draco Malfoy, the seemingly impenetrable enemy, had let down his defences for two minutes, and let Harry see something he wouldn't soon forget. And then the walls had gone back up, leaving him confused and with plenty to think about.
The Fat Lady seemed to have sensed his preoccupation and let him through without question, but Harry knew he was only lucky that far when he entered the common room and saw Sirius Black sitting in a chair by the fire, waiting for him.
"I heard you leave," Sirius said softly, regarding his godson with a tired look. "You shouldn't be out at night."
"It was worth it," Harry replied quietly.
"Oh?" Sirius stood up and faced him, expression worried, dark eyes clouded. "Meet anyone interesting on your travels?"
"I...don't want to talk about it." Harry lowered his gaze, then, after a silence which neither tried to break, he said goodnight and disappeared into the dorm room to finally get some sleep.
Thank you so much for the reviews! Wow, I didn't think I'd get that many, to be honest. And I was so pleased when several people commented that I had them in character ^_^ I loved it. I once got told in English that I write nice essays because I have "a feel for the writing" (Mrs Hepburn's words, not mine). I was so pleased! So thank you, that is the greatest compliment you can give me, in my opinion.
All the time I've been writing this I've had a little picture of Tom Felton up to inspire my Draco moments. Doesn't he look /perfect/ as Draco? ::more gushing:: I think he looks wonderful. I think he'll do brilliantly! ::waves Tom Felton banner::
Please review! Pretty please? Pretty pretty please? I'll love you forever and ever and ever!
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