Authors notes: I want to thank my BETAs Koorime and ChibiBecca. I would also like to appologise if people start craving cookies oo; Oh, and this Fic is set in Bath, Wiltshire, my hometown, so sorry if it sounds like a travel brochure at times ^^
“Hey, Potter. What are you doing sleeping in the middle of a field? Dingy little hotel room not good enough for you?” He favoured the other boy with one of his most dazzling smiles.
Harry laughed that light laugh of his and patted the ground near him, “Nah, this is much nicer. Siddown? View’s great.”
After a pause, Draco did so, lying near him, but not so close that they may accidentally touch hands or something, and looked up at the sky putting his hands behind his head, crossing his ankles.
Harry glanced over at him; Malfoy was wearing a turtle neck again, made of some material that clung to the contours of his torso rather fetchingly. He felt rather inadequate in the baggy jeans and t-shirt he had had to wear since early childhood.
“You’re right, it is a nice view. A little bright, but nice.”
He found it strange lying there looking at the view with Malfoy. Of course, a week ago he would have found the very thought of talking to him without even having a small argument very strange.
Looking Malfoy over again, a question occurred to him that he finally felt he could ask after years of wondering about it, “How the hell do you manage it?”
Malfoy raised an eyebrow, not taking his eyes off the sky, “How do I manage what?”
“How do you manage to look like, well, that?”
Malfoy grinned, “Natural style and impeccable grooming Potter, I’ll understand if you have problems with those words.”
Harry frowned and rolled his eyes at the sky, then looked at the other boy out of the corner of his eye, “It’s just the way you always manage to look like you’ve just stepped out of a boutique or something. You look like you’ve got your own bloody stylist.”
Malfoy grinned again and hoisted himself onto his elbows, giving Harry a quick head to toe look, “No offence Potter, but you look as if you get dressed in the dark, without your glasses.”
Harry wrinkled his nose and looked down at himself again. He scowled then looked at Malfoy, “Dudley’s hand-me-downs. I don’t have enough money to buy myself anything better.” He pointedly raised his eyebrows at the blonde.
Malfoy appeared to ignore the unspoken jibe at how well off his family was, “Not my fault my family’s rich. Anyway, surely you’ve got enough galleons to buy new wizarding clothes? Your parents weren’t exactly poor.”
Harry frowned a little, his comfortable mood dissipating slightly, “They left me enough, yes, but it’s all I’ve got and I need to conserve it.”
Malfoy’s forehead wrinkled, a little fetchingly, “Why?”
Harry raised his eyebrows, “Because it’s not going to last forever, and I’ll need some money to live off until I get a job. I suppose that’s something you never had to think about.”
Malfoy lowered himself to the ground again before answering, “Not exactly, but like I said, I can’t help it if I come from a rich family.”
Harry forced himself not to snort at that, and instead asked, “I suppose your father never let you want for anything either, for that matter.”
Harry noticed Malfoy tense slightly, “Again, not exactly. Even when my father was,” he paused, “home, he wasn’t particularly forthcoming when it came to money. Or anything else for that matter.”
“At least he was there,” Harry caught himself mumbling.
“Not at the moment, obviously,” Malfoy replied just as quietly.
Harry felt anger rise in him at the words. He didn’t intend to, but he found himself growling his next words at the blonde lying so close to him, “It’s his own fault and he deserves it after everything he’s done, or did you just conveniently forget that?”
Harry immediately regretted his words, but he couldn’t help himself, somehow the mild bickering had brought back his old feelings of hatred for the Malfoys. Of course, he knew he was the one who started it, by mentioning the elder Malfoy in the first place. He wished he hadn’t, but he had, and now he was riled, and the younger Malfoy was the one getting the full assault.
He saw Malfoy had tensed up slightly, as if he was about to speak, but he interrupted him, trying to make himself calm down. Sitting up he said, rather more harshly than he meant, “Forget it.”
Malfoy opened his mouth to speak again, but again he interrupted, much to the other boy’s obvious consternation, “I said forget it.”
Malfoy started tearing grass up and shredding it, then picked up a leaf and started systematically shredding that, letting the pieces fall onto his chest. They stayed like that for a while, in complete silence, just the noise of Malfoy ripping the leaf to pieces to be heard.
After a few minutes, Malfoy spoke, quietly and quickly, probably in case Harry tried to interrupt him again, “You’re acting as if I was in on it all. Loath as I am to admit it, I’ve never known what was going on until afterwards, when he would whine about your having survived.”
Harry glared at the grass in front of him, arms wrapped tightly round his raised knees, clutching the sleeves of his light and rather old grey jumper, trying, but failing, to ignore what Malfoy had just said. “Did you not hear me?” he muttered through clenched teeth.
“I’m selectively deaf.”
“I’m sure you bloody are.”
“It’s a Malfoy thing.”
Harry almost bit his tongue. “It’s always a bloody Malfoy thing.”
“Not true. Sometimes it’s a Potter thing.”
Malfoy grinned, “A Potter thing.”
“What the hells ‘A Potter Thing’?”
“Fuck this.” Harry tightened his grip on his sleeves and closed his eyes, not noticing the hurt look on Malfoy’s face.
They stayed silent for a long while, Malfoy still shredding leaves with an annoyed expression on his face, Harry ignoring everything around him, the noise of the methodical shredding grating through his nerves, mildly frustrated with the way his restive mood had been disrupted by his own temper.
He turned on Malfoy when he heard him pick up a new leaf, “Would you stop bloody doing that?” he shouted, startling the other boy and standing up. He wished he could keep his temper in check. In his fifth year, it had gotten him into a lot of trouble, and last year, well, last year he wasn’t sure what he had done, whether he had constantly lost his temper or just done the entire year in some sort of daze.
But it was proving all too hard these days to keep his temper in check. He was constantly reminded of the pain of losing Sirius, or the fate that awaited him when he eventually met Voldemort, even of the danger his very being represented to his friends and their families.
When Malfoy returned to shredding the leaf, studiously ignoring Harry’s last comment, he almost burst with annoyance and said something he would regret for the rest of the day.
“You’re just like your damn father!”
Malfoy stopped mid shred and finally looked up at Harry, their eyes locking for a moment. He realised what he had said, and then realised what he had said had touched on a nerve, and he wished he hadn’t said it. He silently cursed himself for loosing control of his temper again.
Malfoy dropped the leaf and brushed the shreds off his chest, Harry watching his every move, then said, “Take that back, Potter,” every word carefully articulated.
Before he could help it, Harry found himself angrily continuing on, though he knew he shouldn’t, “Going to follow in his footsteps? Join the Death Eaters? I’m sure he’d love that.”
Malfoy gracefully climbed to his feet, brushing grass and leaf shreds from his clothes. He had an air of calm about him that unnerved Harry, but his pale eyes were smouldering furiously. Before Harry knew what was happening, Malfoy had a hold of his jumper front, almost lifting him off the ground, tearing the old material slightly.
“I’m sure he would be pleased, Potter, but I have no intention, nor did I ever have any intention of genuflecting before that vile creature they dare call ‘Lord!’”
At this statement, full of unsuppressed rage, Harry stammered, trying to at least apologise for his words before the blonde did him any more damage.
“Shut up!” Malfoy actually lifted Harry from the ground for a second, and both were mildly surprised at the loud tearing sound as Harry’s jumper front tore, but Malfoy continued with barely a pause.
“You just don’t get it do you? You don’t know me; you don’t know who I am! You know nothing about me, or my family! Just hearsay! Rumour! That’s it! You walk around in your group of admirers, all high and mighty, judging me, when you.. when you..”
He finished with a growl of rage and Harry felt himself dropped, his light jumper now torn right down the chest, as Malfoy’s hand went slack. He stood, stunned and utterly ashamed, watching as Malfoy stalked away, angrily pushing aside a couple who had witnessed the entire confrontation.
Harry stood watching the other boy as he left, upset and weary and wishing that this afternoon had gone differently, that the argument hadn’t happened, that Malfoy hadn’t found him at all.
It seemed to him, now, that the tentative beginnings of a friendship had been torn asunder, never to be remade. And it was entirely his fault. He sighed, watching the now distant figure move back into the main city and sat down.
He didn’t know how long he sat there, contemplating what had happened, but when he looked up, rubbing his cold arms, it was getting dark. The sky was turning a darker shade of blue, and the people who had been sitting around the grassy area had dwindled down to only a few.
He looked around, realising he ought to get back, and slung his bag over his head and shoulder, clutching at the strap that crossed his chest. He stood for a moment, thinking back, wandering where Malfoy was, and then set off, following the same path the blonde had taken earlier.
Draco seethed. How dare Potter say that to him? Idiot! He knew nothing, absolutely nothing! He was nothing like his father, and he deplored the thought of anyone making the comparison. And how dare he accuse him of wanting to join the Death Eater’s? Nothing this side of eternal damnation in hell would convince him to do that. Not now. Not after-
He looked up. The sky was darkening, he’d been wondering through Bath for a while, without quite realising where he was going, just letting his feet take him, not caring where he went or who he bumped into.
Lost in red tinted thoughts, he literally did bump into someone. He didn’t apologise, and barely looked at whomever it had been, but he noticed it was a muggle boy maybe a year or two older than himself, with two others standing near him. He blinked, and continued on, oblivious to their angry shouts behind him.
‘Fucking Harry Potter.. What the hell was I thinking?’ He closed his eyes for a second, squeezing them shut, as if in pain, his brow wrinkling. He then opened them again and found himself walking down an unfamiliar alley.
He looked around, and then realised there were footsteps behind him, approaching rapidly. He turned, startled, just in time to realise that the boy he had walked into and his two friends had followed him here.
Before he knew it, he was caught in a scuffle with the boy he had bumped into.
“Get off me, muggle!” For a second he had his hands free and instinctively reached for his wand, but he remembered at the last second the rule about underage wizardry. “Shit!” and he right hooked the boy instead.
The older boy went down, but the other two took his place, and Draco found himself getting overwhelmed. He landed a few punches, and was sure he kicked the shorter of the two between the legs, but he knew he would eventually lose this fight if he didn’t have some help soon.
“Bloody grab him!” he heard one of them shout, but he wouldn’t let them. He felt his fists connect again and again, and he even bit someone’s hand as they tried to get a strangle hold.
He pushed one of the boys off, catching a fleeting glimpse of a bloody nose, and then attempted to wrestle off the remaining two, but with a gasp he felt his back suddenly crushed against a stone wall, his head connecting with it briefly.
With flashes of light shooting behind his eyes, he felt his arms pulled up his back as they pulled him away from the wall. He nearly bit his tongue with the pain in his arms, as they were pushed further and further up his back, two of the boys effectively rendering him immobile.
He looked up at the boy standing in front of him, looked at him through the continuing flashes of light. The boy was grinning, despite the black eye Draco had given him.
“So, let’s see what you have then.”
Draco suddenly felt the muggle boy’s hands searching his pockets, obviously looking for anything valuable. He cringed at the thought of them finding his wand and he looked up, searching anywhere for help.
His eyes rested on the alley mouth. Just as something connected once again with the back of his head, he saw a figure, silhouetted in the failing light.
He recognised Harry a second before the world went black.
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