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 ^^


Chapter Nine

By Whisper


Draco slowly drifted into consciousness.

For some reason he was amazingly comfortable and there was a slight pressure over his chest. He opened his eyes and looked down.

Harry was lying on his front, right arm hooked behind him, elbow pointed at the ceiling, left arm slung over Draco’s chest.

Draco smiled to himself as he remembered last night. He always had a perfect memory, even when drunk, so he wasn’t surprised. For a moment he lay there, thinking about the feel of Harry’s lips on his, trying to figure out what had possessed him and then wondered what had woken him.

There was an insistent tapping on the window. Ah.

He gently moved Harry’s arm from his chest and sat up, as he did so Harry gave a gentle sigh and rolled over onto his side, Draco watched as a slight frown marred his normally smooth forehead, but it soon disappeared again to be replaced by that innocence Draco had witnessed the night before.

He looked at the window as the owl began tapping more insistently and loudly.

He climbed to his feet and crossed to the window, letting the owl in. He dropped the required amount into its money pouch and then dropped the Daily Prophet on the bed as he headed for the mirror.

The muggle clock on the dressing table stated it was past nine. He wrinkled his nose slightly and glared at his reflection. His jaw line, chin and upper lip were lightly covered in his pale over night stubble. Muttering to himself he cast a simple shaving spell and then inspected his reflection again before turning back to the bed and the news paper.

He lifted an eyebrow at Harry’s face. ‘Just great, I get lumped with downy fluff on my face every morning while Harry gets a proper beard. Bloody typical,’ but he couldn’t help smiling at the boy on his bed.

He dropped down on the foot, careful not to wake the other boy up and opened the paper with a flick of his wrist.

His mouth dropped open in surprise.

“Oh, bollocks.”

Half of the front page was taken up by a photo of Harry and himself leaving the club last night. He read the title in consternation.

‘Potter And Malfoy Friends?’

He quickly looked for the page numbers and flicked through the pages to the actual article. He was faced with two more pictures, one of Harry and one of himself, both from their last school photos. Harry’s image looked a little shy; his eyes kept darting around, as if looking for a way out of the situation, his own picture rather smug and slightly preening.

He briefly wondered how the paper had gotten hold of their photographs, but then he dismissed the pictures and read.

‘Potter and Malfoy spotted together in Black Rose nightclub.’

‘Last night, after the despicable happenings in Bath Abbey earlier in the day, full story on page 2, people were unready for a second shock. It was given in the form of Harry Potter, The Boy Who Lived, being seen with the son of Luscious Malfoy, a convicted Death Eater.

‘The two boys were spotted together late in the evening in The Black Rose, a popular haunting ground for many of our sons and daughters in the Avon Wiltshire area. The nightclub itself is a respectable establishment, and on any ordinary occasion we should not be surprised to see the young Mister Potter within its walls.

‘The fact that many witnesses reported seeing Potter and Malfoy at the club, enjoying both its music and each others’ company beggars the question; have Potter and Malfoy put aside the animosity of previous years?

‘For it is well known that the two boys have not been friends, either because of the deep rooted enmity between their respective houses or because of the feelings held on the elder Malfoys part, it is not known, but last nights activities appear to prove that the two boys are no longer on disagreeable terms.

‘They even bought each other drinks, and at one point I saw them dancing. It was weird,’ says local apprentice book keeper, Lawrence Arkwright. Madam Presley, of Thickwood, Colerne, agrees, ‘They both looked pretty relaxed around each other, as if they were great friends and didn’t care who saw them.’

‘Young Potter has often surprised the magical world over the years. Memorable instances being the disclosure of his ability to speak Parseltongue, his participation in the Tri Wizard Tournament,   his acquittal at a full Ministry court when he used magic, underage, to defend himself and his cousin from an attack by two Dementors and his involvement in the capture of Luscious Malfoy and other Death Eaters during the attack on Ministry headquarters two years ago.

So, should we be at all surprised by this sudden turn of events? Harry Potter is a remarkable young man after all, so is it at all surprising that he should want to try and stop any ill will between himself and another young man, simply because said teen’s father chose the Dark?

‘Potter lived a lonely life until he began his schooling at Hogwarts. He had a surprisingly harsh time, while living with his muggle relatives,  for someone so well known, and this seems to have given him the desire to create friendships wherever he goes,’ says renowned psychiatrist, Dr Sharon Nollette, ‘This desire becomes more apparent when we bring to light his continued encounters with He Who Must Not Be Named. As a result, Harry shows an inclination to bring as many people as he can to the Light. This may be the reason for his recent attachment to Draco Malfoy.’

It is obviously apparent that Harry, after years of hostility between the two of them, has grown tired of it and taken steps to bring the younger Malfoy out of the shadow of his father’s actions. To all concerned, this must be a joyous event, as another young wizard, on the brink of The Dark has been saved and will continue to live in the Light, helping in the fight against The Dark Lord.’

Draco scowled at the pompousness of the author, Rowena Goodensnake, but found himself rereading the short list of ‘memorable instances.’ He hadn’t known Harry had been taken to full wizarding court because of a simple bit of underage magic, and in the defence of his own and his cousin’s life at that.

He rolled his eyes as he rescanned the entire article, seething slightly at the sheer ignominiousness of the way in which he had been portrayed. And then it dawned on him. This was the bloody Daily Prophet; every damn wizarding family in the country would be reading this.

“Oh shit, oh shit, Harry!”

Harry jerked awake, his eyes snapping open. Draco swiftly handed him his glasses and waited slightly impatiently for him to wake up properly.

“Wha’s going on?” Harry rubbed his eyes with the thumb and forefinger of his right hand, holding his glasses with the left as he pushed himself up on to his elbows. Draco watched, urgency radiating from every pore as Harry slipped his glasses on and looked at him worriedly.

He shoved the paper into Harry’s hands, “Everyone will be reading this as we speak! It’s a disaster!”

Harry read through the article, barely glancing at the two photographs, and then looked up, surprise etched into every line of his face. He dropped the paper on the bed and sat up, “Christ, why didn’t we think? Ron and Hermione’ll kill me, to say nothing of YOUR housemates.”

Draco picked the paper up again, scanning the article for the third time as Harry took off his glasses and ran a hand over his face, discovering the overnight stubble. He looked like he had a hang over. “Ugh, why didn’t that batty cow think of what would happen to you?”

Draco looked at Harry, an eyebrow raised, momentarily uncomprehending as his mind was filled with the curses and hexes he could throw at Goodensnake.

“Half your bloody housemates have Death Eaters for parents! With this article out there, they’ll have a great reason to do as much harm to you as possible. Voldemort himself will probably rethink his plans on you!”

Harry flopped backwards back onto the bed and Draco saw an expression on his face that he hadn’t seen before, certainly not in conjunction with himself at any rate. Harry looked truly worried.

“I know that Harry, that’s what I’m so bloody pissed off at! This woman needs a bloody brain transplant or something!”  He sat heavily on the bed, nearly tearing the paper in two as he balled his fists while still holding it.

“Draco, I’m sorry about this. It’s my bloody fault, we should have gone to a muggle place, I should have known I’d get recognised in there.”

Draco shook his head a little helplessly. It wasn’t fair, the moment he found someone he felt comfortable with, even if it was Harry, everything else goes to pot. “It’s not your fault, so shut up. I was the one who took you there, completely forgetting you’d be recognised. It was a stupid mistake and now I’ve got to deal with the consequences.”

He felt Harry move into a sitting position and glanced over. The other boy still looked like he had a hang over, and he badly needed a shave, but there was tenderness in his tired over bright eyes.

They both sat in silence for a while, distraught over the carelessness of Rowena Goodensnake, trying to figure out how to salvage the situation.

After a long while Draco realised he didn’t actually care. His fellow Slytherin’s didn’t worry him in the least. He didn’t have any real friends there anyway, only people who fawned on him or followed his every whim.

Over the past year he’d been slowly dropping out of the social circles anyway, because of their superciliousness, heartlessness, their wanton acts of depravity. It had begun to sicken him as he had grown up, leaving the actions of a young school boy and his school boy bullying behind him.

The only two people to whom he still even spoke were Crabbe and Goyle, and despite what their parents were, they were not heading for Voldemort’s side.  They were a little thick, but they had a certain way of looking at things that made them too, well, nice, to be Death Eaters.

He turned to Harry and threw the paper roughly at the floor, “You know? I don’t even care. I’m glad that bloody woman wrote this stupid article. She just made it easier for me to tell the rest of my housemates to piss off.”

Harry looked shocked for a moment. “What? I thought you had friends there? And what about how they’ll treat you?”

Draco shrugged, “Crabbe and Goyle, though rather short on scintillating conversation, are the only people who treat me as a friend, the rest just fawn over me because of my family. And I can look after myself.”

Draco looked at Harry as the other boy slowly let this sink in. “Are you sure about this?”

Draco saw that Harry was trying to give him the option of calling it quits on their budding friendship, and from the look in his green eyes, Draco knew Harry would understand it if he chose too, though it would hurt.

Draco frowned, “I’m sure. Like you said, only about half of my housemates are linked with Death Eaters, the rest of them may be annoying, hedonistic and rather stuck-up, but they’re not criminal.   I can handle those who are.”

Harry just nodded and looked at the floor, relief showing slightly in his face. Draco wondered at it for a moment, and then shrugged it aside, in favour of the current situation.

“What about you? You said something about Weasley and Granger.”

“Ron and Hermione,” Harry corrected him, “My housemates will be rather scandalised. Before sixth year you weren’t exactly nice to any of them.”

Draco nodded, he understood completely. Before sixth year he had been as terrible as ever, as at that point he had still held a great respect for his father and his father’s wishes, even when his father had been particularly condescending or beastly, he had taken out his every petty jealousy on anyone he deemed pitiful, or anyone he simply felt like annoying.

He’d mostly attacked Harry because, well, he told himself it was his fame and obvious closeness to Weasley and Granger coupled promptings from his father at the time that facilitated his constant tormenting of the trio.

Once his father had been removed from his life, he had sat down and thought things over, after a conversation with someone about two weeks before the end of summer, coming to realise that most of the animosity between the two of them was completely unnecessary, almost completely fuelled by his father’s own hatred of the Boy Who Lived.

That lone conversation, as well as another incident that he would really rather not think about, changed his views on life completely. He had sat down and thoughts things over for a long time.

Eventually he had come to the conclusion that he would only ever retaliate, never start anything, as he looked over his memories of previous years and wanted a few, at least, that didn’t include his arguing with Harry.

And he had done it; he had passed the last year having only one or two mild confrontations with the boy, mostly because of comments made by Weasley.. He had grown less belligerent as a result, and spent less and less time with any of his housemates who had true connections to Death Eaters, understanding that it would be one of the only ways to make himself less noticed by The dark Lord, which would bring him more peace.

He looked at Harry, wondering if he should explain, but finding himself unable to bring the words to his mouth when those green eyes locked on his for a second.

“They’re going to want to know what the hell happened to me, or you for that matter, for this sudden change of heart. Ron’ll probably think you did something to me, but I'm guessing Hermione’ll be a little more understanding.”

Draco looked at the raven haired boy as he shook his head, as his shoulders sagged  slightly. “The rest of the school I’m even less sure about, half of them will hate me, think I’m betraying them or something. And the rest? I dunno.”

Draco took his turn to flop backwards onto the bed. He stared at the ceiling in apprehension of the next year of school, only a couple of weeks away now. Harry flopped next to him and he looked over silently.

“Tell me,” Harry asked quietly, staring at the ceiling. “Did we do what I think we did last night?”

Draco’s eyebrows nearly hit his hair line. Of all the things he had been expecting Harry to say, that was on the bottom of a very long list. He cleared his throat and returned to staring at the ceiling, his pale cheeks flushing furiously.

The bed springs creaked as he felt Harry move up onto his elbows. He looked up into his green eyes, “Um, yes, we did.” Still blushing furiously he found he wanted the bed to just swallow him up and get him out of this rather scary conversation.

“I thought so.”

Again Draco was surprised, though less so. He had expected Harry to sound annoyed, or disgusted, or anything other than what he did sound, which was, well, happy.

He sat up surprisingly quickly and stood, not looking at Harry as he made his way to the wardrobe. He saw Harry’s reflection in the full length mirror as he opened the door, watching him with flushed cheeks, surprise and a little sorrow evident in his eyes as he sat up and dropped his hands into his lap.

Draco, still blushing, picked out a clean set of clothes. “You need a shave.” He said over his shoulder, still refusing to look at the other boy, refusing to acknowledge the urge to rush over and run his hand over the rough overnight stubble and through that unruly obsidian hair.

“I haven’t got my shaver,” He looked at Harry as the other boy spoke quietly, again running his hand over his cheeks, chin and neck.

Shaking off the urge to grab that hand he asked, “Don’t you know the spell?”

Harry shook his head, confusion on his face.

“I suppose you wouldn’t, growing up with muggles. Here.” He moved back over, the new clothes slung over his arm as he pulled out his wand. He pointed it at Harry’s face, seeing the other boy’s eyes widen slightly.

Moving the wand from right to left over Harry’s face, he said “Abscido Pilo.”

Harry ran a hand over his now smooth face. “Uh, thanks.” Draco found himself looking into those deep green eyes again, he blinked and was about to move away when Harry caught his wrist.

Harry stood and Draco found their faces were once again only inches apart, “Um, Harry?”

He blinked when the slightly taller boy smiled, “Thank you, Draco.”

“What for?” He relaxed slightly, un-tensing the arm Harry had a firm hold of.

Harry just smiled again and Draco felt the grip on his wrist lessen slightly, “For everything, for deciding to stay,” there was a pause in which Draco sorely wished either his legs would move, or Harry would – his thinking stopped there. “For last night.”

“Well, you know, you needed it.”  He stammered slightly then shrugged, acting as normally as possible, trying to retain at least some of his dignity.

Harry seemed to sag slightly and he looked at the floor a second, Draco felt his wrist released, “Where’s the bathroom?”

Draco didn’t know what he felt then, but he knew he didn’t like it, “Harry?” he spoke softly as the other boy took a step away. Harry stopped and before either boy knew what was happening,  Draco leaned forward and lightly brushed his lips over the other boy’s.

He stepped back, his heart pounding and then brushed his fingers over Harry’s cheek, tracing down his jaw line and over his chin, brushing his lips with his thumb. He smiled, dropping his hand, “It’s over there.”


Harry sat across from Uncle Vernon, glaring at him.

He was at that bloody dinner that had been set up between his relatives and Vernon’s work mate. He seriously didn’t want to be here, he’d much prefer to be back with Draco, or failing that, in his own room.

When he had seen his uncle again, at first he had been a little nervous, remembering the incident of only a day ago, but he had thought back on both Draco’s and Tonks’ words on the subject – and he knew that in some way or another, his uncle was going to get his comeuppance, so he had at once began glaring and stoically not saying a word.

Since they had sat down at the table and begun waiting for the man to arrive, Harry hadn’t spoken, but he’d been ignored in response, so it pretty much felt like his usual meals with the family.

“Ah! Mister Dursley.”

Harry turned and looked in the direction of the voice. There was a balding man standing in the doorway, he looked maybe forty five, grey hair, clean shaven, small glasses and a well pressed suit with a loudly purple tie. He sighed, it looked like this meal was going to be about as interesting as he had thought it would be.

He pointedly ignored his uncle as the man walked over to them, a faint smile on his face, and was then surprised when the empty seat next to him was taken, rather than the one next to Vernon and Petunia.

“Right, guys. I’m paying, so get what you like,” the man said jovially.

Harry defied his uncle’s obvious glares and ordered a meal that sounded rather nice, the man sitting next to him, Mr Henderson, approved of his order with a large smile, telling him he’d had it before and enjoyed it immensely.

While waiting for the meals to arrive, Harry found himself being shown, with a lot of enthusiasm, Mr Henderson’s many cats via photos in his wallet. He seemed particularly fond of a mid sized ginger tom named Oscar, there were a great many photos of just this one alone.

Harry was almost gagging to get back to his hotel room, or Draco’s, by the time the meal arrived, and he didn’t have much of an appetite, though, as Mr Henderson had said it would be, it was a lovely meal.

During the meal, Vernon finally managed to turn the conversation in his favour, and Harry spent the next half an hour listening, rather absently, to the two men discussing drill parts, drill sales, the over sea drill markets and the day to day goings on of the drill business.

While they were waiting for the puddings to arrive (Harry had selected a discreet treacle tart with custard, while Dudley selected an enormous ‘Double Trouble’ ice-cream and treats, which, according to Mr Henderson, was a foot tall) Harry again found himself being verbally accosted by the man.

“So what’s the hotel like? Where you’re staying?”

Uncle Vernon immediately tried to get his co-workers attention, but, much to Harry’s surprise, he completely ignored him. A little confused, and rather shocked, he answered, “It’s ok, Sir.”

He noticed both Vernon and Petunia giving him withering looks out of the corner of his eye as Mr Henderson continued to talk to him, “Less of the ‘sir’, please! My name is Colin, and I like to be called by it. So, which room are you in? I’ve stayed at the hotel myself a few times, I may know which you are currently staying in.”

Harry gave him a wary look, but answered, “Room three, sir – Colin, I mean.”

“Ah, yes! That’s the single bed a few doors down from the reception, is it not?”

“Um, yes, um, Colin.”

“Yes, yes, I stayed in a room a few doors from there once, on that occasion I had Oscar with me – Have I shown you his picture? Anyway, it was a good trip that one, a business trip rather than pleasure, though.”

Thankfully their puddings arrived at this point and Harry quickly set about eating.

Dudley’s ‘Double Trouble’ was indeed as big as Mr Henderson had said it was and contained not just ice-cream and ‘treats.’ It was a large mix of three or four flavours of ice-cream with banana slices, jelly babies, marshmallows (large and small in both pink and white), chocolate flakes, sugar coated chocolate drops in many sizes and colours, sprinkles, shaped wafers and chocolate sauce smothered over all.

Harry raised an eyebrow at it as it was placed down in front of Dudley who blanched slightly. Harry was sure he hadn’t realised quite what an undertaking the pudding would be. It appeared the thing was meant for couples to eat, not for one boy, who admittedly may just well finish it anyway.

Harry hid a grin as Dudley made an attempt at starting, obviously not really knowing where too.

He finished his own pudding, it had been delicious, as he knew it would be, and sat back, looking around the room. He once again stifled a grin, around the large dining room couples were beginning to order the ‘Double Trouble’ now that they knew how big it was.

He glanced over at Dudley. Despite his normally huge appetite for such things, his cousin was having troubles. It was evident though that he would not allow anyone to ‘help.’

As he was looking around, Harry’s eye was caught momentarily by Mr Henderson’s. The man smiled and then returned to his own pudding. Harry sat still, startled into immobility.

There had been something – something he couldn’t quite put his finger on – that was wrong with Mr Henderson just at that moment. With a shake of his head, he put the feeling out of his mind and simply concentrated on keeping himself awake until the meal was over and he could get back to his room.


I don’t want to be the one,
The battles always choose,
Cause inside I realise,
That I’m the one confused,


I don’t know what’s worth fighting for,
Or why I have to scream,
I don’t know why I instigate,
And say what I don’t mean,


I don’t know how I got this way,
I know it’s not alright,
So I’m breaking the habit,
I’m breaking the habit tonight.

-- "Break The Habit", Linkin Park [Meteora : Track Nine]

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