Coveting Thy Enemy
Chapter One: Awakenings
The train was noisy. That's all Harry could think when he embarked the Hogwart's Express. It would seem that the new first year class was larger than ever. Children were talking animatedly, scarfing down sweets. Children. Harry could remember when he was such a child on the first ride to Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Everything was new, everything was astonishing, everything was . . . well, magical.
Walking down the aisle way, Harry was not surprised when the noisy atmosphere of the express hushed dramatically. Fingers were pointed, voices once at an ear deafening pitch changed to whispers, and the whispers all mentioned his name. He was Harry Potter. Yes, Harry Potter, The Boy Who Lived. He smiled amicably at every first year he passed until he reached the next to the last compartment. Before opening the compartment curtain, he knew right away that Ron and Hermione were in there.
"Ron, stop that. Harry will be here any minute," Hermione said rather breathlessly.
"Mmmmph 'at's at?" Ron asked.
"Harry mustn't know."
"Know what?" Harry asked as he pulled the curtain aside and slipped into the opposite seat. He cast a bemused glance at Hermione, who was straightening her robes and getting redder by the minute. Ron wore a glazed expression that was as transparent as glass.
"N-Nothing Harry," Hermione said, elbowing Ron.
"Uh - yeah," Ron said, blinking away the deer-caught-in-headlights look.
"Really, because it seems to me I heard the distinct sounds of snogging going on this compartment," Harry said, eyeing his two best friends up.
"Harry… We're sorry for not telling you. We didn't want you to feel left out," answered Hermione.
"Aw, Herm, this has been forthcoming for ages. I'm happy for you two, I really am, but how long has this been a secret?" Harry asked.
Ron eyed his best friend, possibly looking for hurt in Harry's eyes. Seeing none there, he replied, "It hasn't been a secret for long Harry, really. Hermione and I kind of told each other how we felt by owl all summer. This is really the first time we've seen each other since last school year."
"Speaking of romance," Hermione said, tactfully deflecting the heat from her and Ron, "how is Cho?" Cho Chang, the former seeker for the Ravenclaw House Quidditch team, had been Harry's girlfriend during his sixth year at Hogwart's. She had surprised him last year by asking him on a date to the first Hogsmeade weekend of the school year. He had accepted mostly out of gratitude since he had strongly believed she blamed him for her ex-boyfriend's death. Obviously she didn't. Being ahead of Harry a year, she would no longer be at Hogwart's.
"Fine. She's working her arse off at practice." Cho had been accepted as a Seeker for a minor Quidditch team. She had been away in training throughout the entire summer. "We've been doing pretty much the same as you and Ron, communicating by owl," Harry said.
"Ooh," breathed Hermione. "How romantic, a long-distance romance, just like the Brownings. 'How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. . '"
Harry frowned. If Hermione knew the true meaning behind he and Cho's relationship, she certainly wouldn't be spouting off Sonnets from the Portuguese.
"Oh yes Harry, please tell us all about your little Ravenclaw fling. Tell me, does she take it up the rear?" a silver-haired Slytherin who had just poked his head through the curtain asked.
Harry looked up to see none other than Draco Malfoy, his archrival. Malfoy stared down Harry's glower and continued as if his conversation was welcome. "Tell us all the lurid details, Potter."
"Sod off, Malfoy," said Harry, trying his hardest not to wipe the smirk off Malfoy's face with his fist.
"Aw, what's the matter? Ickle Harry doesn't want to admit he's still a virgin?" taunted the Slytherin. In less than nine tenths of a second, three wands were pointed at Malfoy, three hexes were muttered, and Malfoy dropped to the floor in an undignified heap.
"What hex did you two use?" asked Harry of his friends.
"Petrificus," they replied in synchronization.
"Yea, me too." Malfoy probably wouldn't be awake for the rest of the trip to Hogwart's. The three leaned back into their seats and laughed as they hadn't laughed in the three months they were apart. It would seem that the final year wouldn't be much different than the last six. This made Harry ecstatically happy.
Once the sorting ceremony was over, the Gryffindor's fell to the feast as if they hadn't eaten in years. Harry had stuffed himself fatter than a thanksgiving turkey and was now leaning back on the bench completely satiated. It would seem that a great majority of the first years were sorted into Gryffindor, much to the members' delight. The only one that seemed upset about this was Hermione. She was awarded the prestige of Head Girl that year, and she didn't seem happy about having to keep the large, rowdy bunch of members of her own house in line. Not to mention the other three houses.
Harry was proud of Hermione when she had owled him about her Head Girl status. He was proud yes, but not surprised. It seemed that the path to Prefect and ultimately head girl was a straight one from first year. Harry himself had turned down the Prefect badge his fifth year, so he was out of the running for Head Boy. He could never see himself as Prefect since he had happened to break about every rule of Hogwart's, so when he received the letter offering him the position, he had humbly reclined.
Unfortunately, Hermione had also felt the need to include in her letter who had received the honor of Head Boy. None other than Draco Malfoy. This had come as a shock. He always knew Malfoy was bright, but he didn't think he was bright enough to receive this honor. He glanced over at Malfoy at this moment and narrowed his eyes. This was really the first time he had a chance to appraise Malfoy this year since he had only seen his head on the express. Harry was shocked to see how much Malfoy had grown. He had always been quite a bit smaller than the other boys in his year, but it seemed that the summer had awarded Malfoy with a growth spurt. From a seated position, Malfoy seemed to be close to the same height as his cronies Crabbe and Goyle. But, where were dumb and dumber? It would seem that Malfoy and his brutes had had some sort of falling out because they were seated at the opposite end of the Slytherin table. In fact, had Malfoy had a falling out with his entire house? If the table had been a seesaw, Malfoy would have been catapulted across the room. In fact, the only one seated anywhere near him was Pansy Parkinson, the Slytherin house gossip, and she seemed to be at pains to ignore him.
Just then, Malfoy looked up and met Harry's confused gaze. Not a flicker of emotion registered on his face, not even a sneer. Despite the lack of character on Malfoy's visage at the moment, Harry was surprised to see how mature he had become in the last three months. Malfoy's once boyish, rounded face was much thinner and his eyes seemed to have changed from a steel-gray to a shade not unlike the sea in the midst of a storm. Malfoy had become quite a handsome man. At this realization, Harry's dinner did a nauseating flip-flop in his stomach. What am I thinking? Malfoy is a git and a ponce. I also hate every fiber of his being. What am I doing thinking of how attractive he is? Contorting his face in his most evil stare, Harry glared daggers at Malfoy. Malfoy responded with one of his most unbecoming smirks and Harry's stomach stopped somersaulting. That's better, thought Harry. That is as it should be.
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