All recognized characters belong to J.K. Rowling
Everything else is mine.
R – for violence, language and adult content
Contains male/male pairings- That's SLASH... you know, GAY
Harry Potter and the Parliament of Dreams
Chapter 5 – All Alone in the Night
As soon as the carriage arrived, George hopped out. Fred waved discretely to his twin as he pulled a firecracker out of his robe and set it off down near the carriage. Ron and Hermione, along with many others turned towards the noise while George dashed inside of the school.
George made his way straight towards the stairs. He disappeared down a corridor by the time the crowd of students outside entered the building. He took a circuitous route to a large gargoyle statue. It opened as he approached. He ducked inside and stepped on the moving stairs just inside the door. The gargoyle moved back into position.
“Good evening Mr. Weasley,” the headmaster said, looking up from some parchments on his desk.
“Good evening sir. You wanted to see me?” George asked.
“Indeed I did. If you’d be so kind as to go over this with your twin,” Dumbledore said as he handed George a thick envelope.
George peered inside for a moment and then looked over the first sheet. “Are you sure this is what you want?”
“Okay. We’ll get to work on it right away.”
“Thank you. Enjoy tonight’s feast,” Dumbledore said in dismissal.
A few minutes later found George sitting down next to his twin. A few moments later, Dumbledore walked into the Great Hall and sat down at his seat.
Harry wandered into the Great Hall and sat down without paying any attention to his surroundings. His detachment was so complete, he did not notice that he was giving the cold shoulder to his roommates. Ron and Hermione, who were still making eyes at each other, did not notice. Seamus Finnegan and Colin Creevey both noticed Harry's detachment, though they did not make note of each other's interest.
Harry happened to glance across the room at one point while they were sorting a small brown-haired boy named Steven Falvel. Harry glanced briefly at the boy before glancing back across the hall to a loan figure with platinum blonde hair. Malfoy was all alone. The goons that normally surrounded him were sitting a few places away from him as if he was poison. Perhaps he was?
Harry almost felt sorry for the other boy. He started violently at that thought. Sorry for Malfoy? Sorry for the boy that tormented me? I must be losing it!
Harry’s thoughts were broken when McGonagall called out, “Finch-Fletchley, Michael."
Harry watched as Mickey went forward. The Hufflepuff table watched with keen interest. Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger managed to stop staring at each other long enough to pay attention to the sorting. Mickey sat in the small stool and slipped the Sorting Hat over his head. The hat sat there silently for nearly a minute.
“Gryffindor!” the hat screamed out at last.
The Hufflepuffs stared in surprise as Mickey trotted over to the Gryffindor and squeezed his way between Ron and Harry. As soon as Mickey sat down, he forced himself into Harry’s bewildered embrace. Harry resisted mildly at first but gave in just to keep him quiet. Mickey snuggled in immediately. Harry glanced at Ron over the top of Mickey’s head. Ron shrugged at him in a nonchalant brotherly way.
Harry lost himself in his thoughts again until Dumbledore drew his attention when he stood at his seat and clapped his hands twice for attention.
“I’d like to take this time to welcome all the new students to Hogwarts!”
“And I’d like to welcome back our older students.”
Thunderous applause erupted.
“I’d like to let everyone know that we have updated many of the protections of this school over the summer due to the return of Voldemort.”
The entire crowd gasped, except Harry and surprising Malfoy.
“The Dark Lord returned near the end of last term. He took the life of one of our students. Over the summer, there was also an attack in Diagon Alley in which muggle parents and muggle-born wizards were targeted. Thanks to some quick thinking by two of our students, two of their fellow students are here with us again this year. The staff and I would like to wish our most heartfelt condolences to Justin and Mickey Finch-Fletchley for the loss of their parents,” Dumbledore said and paused for a long moment of silence.
“I’d like to thank Harry Potter and Ron Weasley for their bravery in defending their fellow students in the face of the gravest danger,” Dumbledore broke the silence, his blue eyes twinkling at Ron and Harry. “They were rewarded with the Order of Merlin Third Class in recognition of their effort to protect others from harm.”
The great hall erupted into applause again. Harry turned around to glance at the Slytherin table to see most of them staring at Ron and him with very unfriendly looks. Malfoy looked even more lost than before.
“I will do everything in my power to ensure that this school is safe for all of our students. As such, I must remind everyone that there will be no wandering about the castle after dark. There will be no traveling on the grounds in groups of less then three and there will be no practicing Quidditch without teacher supervision. That is in addition to staying out of the Forbidden Forest, of course. Thank you and enjoy your year!”
He clasped his hands and the food appeared on all the golden plates.
Harry was able to pry Mickey off of him long enough for them both to pick at their food. Harry just was not feeling hungry with all the things that were going on. He was also feeling distinctly uncomfortable over the stability of his friend Justin. He shuddered for a moment like someone had passed over his grave. He finally gave up trying to eat.
While everyone around him was still busy eating and chatting, he got up and quietly slid out of the room. He went straight to his dorm, failing to notice the glances that were exchanged at the head table.
Dumbledore exchanged a look with Remus Lupin, who looked over at the always dark and brooding Severus Snape. Snape, too, noticed Potter walk out. He also noticed Draco Malfoy’s lost look and blank stare at the departing Potter. He cocked his head to the side slightly and Remus nodded slightly. Snape’s eyebrows shot into his hairline before an odd smirk appeared on his face and he stifled a laugh.
Minerva saw the smirk and looked at Malfoy who was still watching the departing Harry. Her eyebrows shot up as well. She glanced at Flora Sprout. Professor Sprout had also been watching Harry closely. She looked at Minerva significantly and then shrugged. Minerva turned to look at the rest of the students, her face resuming its taciturn appearance.
Draco was picking at his food during dinner as well. He watched Potter leave with his shoulders slumped. What’s wrong with him? he wondered to himself. He turned after Potter disappeared and was just in time to see the Herbology professor and the Transfiguration professor exchange glances at the head table. Professor Snape was looking at him with this funny grin on his face. He stared blankly at Snape for a moment before he got up and went to his dorm. He stopped at a prefect and got the password (viper’s nest) and then headed towards his bed.
Fred and George got up moments later, making excuses to Lee Jordan. Lee, who was often in on one of their schemes or another smiled at them in a knowing manner and didn’t question them. Lee knew that if it was something important, they would tell him.
Fred drifted into the shadows after he left the Great Hall and drifted silently a dozen meters behind a certain blonde Slytherin.
George separated from his twin and followed his raven-haired housemate back to their home tower.
Harry moved slowly towards Gryffindor Tower. He was halfway up one of the staircases when it decided to shift. He had always enjoyed riding them when they shifted, but they usually shifted when he was in a rush and couldn’t enjoy it. This time he rode it out with a small grin on his face. He went on his way as soon as it settled. Harry arrived at the portrait of the fat lady a few moments later and she asked for the password.
“Honorable Intentions,” he said. He had got it from Hermione, the new Gryffindor Prefect. She had surprised both Ron and him at The Burrow with that information. It had initially slipped her mind due to Harry’s overly exciting summer.
The Fat Lady swung open, allowing him to enter the common room. He walked in quickly as she swung shut behind him. He glanced around the common room on his way through. It hadn’t changed a bit since he had left at the end of last term. He reached the stairs to the boys’ dormitories and climbed them quickly. He continued up the stairs until he reached the door labeled “Fifth-Year Students.” He opened the door, walked straight to his bed, and dropped into it without undressing. He reached up and harshly yanked the curtains closed, engulfing him in darkness. He fell asleep almost instantly.
Draco went out of the Great Hall and went in the opposite direction towards the dungeons. The Slytherin dormitory was located down there. He made his way to the proper spot on the wall and whispered the password. The stone wall slid open and revealed the Slytherin Common room. He entered and looked about briefly on his way across the room to the stairs to the boys’ dormitories. Unsurprisingly, it was the same as he had last seen it. He went to the fifth year dorms, found his bed and dropped into it. He barely remembered to close the curtains on his bed before he was asleep.
Fred saw exactly what he had expected to see. Malfoy went straight to the Slytherin Dorms. It wasn’t surprising. He waited for a few minutes in silence to make sure Malfoy did come back out. He looked down at the piece of parchment that George had given him. After having used the Marauder’s Map extensively, this pale imitation was a disappointment. It did, however, have a nice use. It told him exactly what Malfoy was doing at the moment. Sleeping.
Fred pondered the day’s events as he ducked into a secret passageway. This one, which almost nobody knew about, allowed him to rapidly transverse the distance between Gryffindor Tower and the Slytherin dorms. The parchment was from Dumbledore and was a small part of something that Dumbledore had asked the twins to do.
Fred arrived in the room he shared with his twin a few minutes later. George was already there.
“About what you thought?” George inquired.
“The same. Do you think the old man has gone daft this time?” George asked slowly.
“Let’s hope not George. Let’s hope not.”
Harry awoke with a start a few hours later. It was very early in the morning, though he didn’t look at his watch. He became quite agitated at the fact that he still couldn’t get a good night sleep. He got up very quietly and opened his trunk. Using soft light from his wand he searched the trunk and pulled out the invisibility cloak and the Marauder’s Map.
He carefully activated the map by whispering, “I solemnly swear I’m up to no good.”
He looked over the map and saw that no one was outside in the corridor. Harry went through the portrait hole after placing his invisibility cloak on. Feeling a sudden desire to see the stars, he headed towards the Astronomy Tower. He padded silently through the dark and sleeping castle keeping an eye on the map. He noticed that Peeves was busy making mischief in the trophy room, which suited him just fine.
At least he isn’t up here, Harry thought.
He wandered along the hall and to the stairs leading up to the roof of the tallest tower in the castle. He stopped dead still in shock when he saw a little labeled figure sitting on the map.
Little bubbles were coming up that were saying things like “sigh” and “sob.”
Draco Malfoy. Again. Harry decided to continue out onto the tower’s roof anyway.
Malfoy must have heard something, because he suddenly scrambled to his feet and starting wiping at his eyes. Harry decided to show himself. When Malfoy was facing him he removed the hood, showing his head in mid-air.
“Potter!” Malfoy gasped.
“Shush Malfoy! Someone will hear us.”
“Can’t have the Great Boy Who Lived get in trouble, now can we?” Malfoy drawled quietly.
“Come off it Malfoy! Can’t you just treat someone nicely once in your life?” Harry asked, his voice full of unexpected emotion.
“Oh,” was all Malfoy could think to say.
“Um… are you okay Malfoy… Draco? This is the second time today I’ve seen you crying. That doesn’t fit your image very well.” Harry spoke very quietly.
“It’s none…” Draco started to hiss back, but cut out and then slowly drawled as if choosing his words, “I’m sorry… um… Harry. I don’t want to talk about it. Thank you for asking.”
“I know we’ve treated each other like enemies since the train ride here our first year. Even so, I see you need someone to talk to. I never liked seeing anyone in pain… even you Draco,” the last was said so quietly that the other boy almost didn’t hear it. Almost.
Draco’s eyebrows lifted in surprise, “You care?”
Harry’s head tilted to the side a bit, “It’s one of my more annoying traits. I seem to care for a great many people that logic suggests that I shouldn’t bother with.”
“So I’ve noticed. However, I was referring to you caring about me.”
“Oh... Draco, we might have been friends if you treated me like an equal instead of an inferior the first time we met. I mean, telling me whom I should be friends with? That is why I first avoided you four years ago. Your insistence on going out of your way just to annoy my friends and I is why I continued to avoid you.” Harry paused for a long moment before continuing, “Why did you?”
Draco looked thoughtful for a second, “At first, because my father told me that I had to do so. Later, it was simply because I was jealous of you.”
Harry’s face showed surprise, “You are jealous of me?”
Draco shrugged his shoulders, “You have friends. Do you see the mental toadstools I’m stuck with? They have their uses, but they can’t be there all the time and since they aren’t friends, they don’t want to be there all the time either. Both Weasley and Granger want to spend time with you. They are both loyal to you and would never let you stand alone, no matter what happens. I’m jealous of that. I have never had a real friend. My father’s a Death Eater, after all. That severely limits the possible candidates for real friends.”
“I know about your father. The Tri-Wizard Tournament was not remotely pleasant in its conclusion. Your father was there when Voldemort had Cedric killed.”
“Who else knows, besides those in our carriage tonight?”
“Dumbledore, McGonagall, Snape, Lupin, Sirius Black, the Weasleys know and a few others.”
“And they haven’t gotten him arrested yet?”
“They need evidence. I’m sure he is being watched. You are being watched too, come to think of it. Yesterday in the Leaky Cauldron I had to pass the third degree from two Aurors that were quite inclined to think you were already a Death Eater. And obviously, Justin seems to think so too.”
Draco frowned, “They don’t need to worry about me. I will never work for that bastard.”
“Logically, I wouldn’t have expected that. But on a strictly gut feeling level, I didn’t think you would. I told the Aurors that too.”
Draco tilted his head back for a moment before replying, “I don’t deny that I seek power. My father has always said that a Malfoy should be strong and independent. What doesn’t make sense is the way the man grovels at the Dark Lord’s feet. I will never grovel to that stupid fool.”
“I thought I dreamed seeing you with Voldemort this past summer?”
Draco’s face twisted in anger before saying, “Lucius had me locked in the dungeons for some time after he extracted me from the Hogwarts Express. He dragged me straight in front of the Dark Lord, as best as I can remember. I think Voldemort cast something on me. Most of it isn’t clear. I’ve remembered bits and pieces over the summer. I do know that he ordered Lucius to leave me alone. He did, but I was locked in my own room for close to two months. I also remember refusing to join him. I’m not sure why he left me alive.”
Tears of anger and frustration pored down Draco’s face at this point.
Harry gently laid his hand on Draco’s shoulder and let Draco cry himself out.
“That was very difficult to do. I didn’t know you had the courage to do that Draco,” Harry told him in such a way as to not imply that he was a coward.
“What would you know…erfff,” Draco cut himself off on that question.
He looked at Harry sheepishly, “Never mind. I’m sure you do know exactly what it is like. Sorry I snapped at you.”
Harry nodded. “Draco, have you talked to Dumbledore?”
He shook his head.
“I think you should. You are going to need protection and I don’t think it would be healthy for you to go home.”
“Lucius can’t do any worse to me than he has already.”
“Yes he can, Draco. He can kill you,” Harry said very seriously.
Draco’s eyes widened. “You don’t think Lucius would want me dead do you?”
“I think Lucius would kill you in a heartbeat if it would increase his own power. Furthermore, I don’t think he would like that you are even talking to me.”
“No, he wouldn’t like that at all. He would like me working with you and Dumbledore even less. You’re right; he might go too far in anger. Maybe I should seek out Dumbledore?”
“Is this what has been bothering you Draco?”
“Harry, why do you care and how can you care about me?”
“Have you ever really hurt someone, Draco?”
“No. Not really.”
“We’ve never really gotten into too bad of a scuffle, just normal schoolboy stuff. After last year, I can say I only really hate Voldemort and his Death Eaters.”
“What made you so sure that I’m not a Death Eater? Why did you defend me in the ranting that Finch-Fletchley was giving?”
“You aren’t cold enough. You try hard, but it is all a mask. And I’ve seen you as afraid as me. And Voldemort doesn’t even have you on his to-kill list. I’m at the top of it. The attack this summer in Diagon Alley was the last straw for me. I’m having enough troubles with nightmares of Cedric’s death. I don’t need to be trading petty insults with you in addition to everything else.”
“Harry, I’ve had a very long summer to think. I’m sorry for the way I’ve treated you. You really didn’t deserve it. I’m really sorry about that bit about Cedric on the train. I was simply acting as my father’s puppet.”
“What happened this summer? I was locked in my room and I didn’t hear anything about it. I also have been fairly well ignored by the other Slytherins. I take it that the Death Eaters attacked Diagon Alley and something bad happened to Finch-Fletchley?”
“They did attack. They manage to kill quite a few people, including Justin Finch-Fletchley’s parents. Justin and his brother moved in with the Weasleys, like I did.”
Draco gave him a sharp look, but motioned for him to continue.
“Ron and I were heading to Quality Quidditch Supplies when an explosion knocked us off our feet. I was the first to recover. Ron and I had landed on the Finch-Fletchley brothers. I stood between them and the attacking Death Eater. Long-story short, I disabled him and Ron and I ended up killing the second guy when we worked together.”
Draco’s eyes got huge as his eyebrows shot up. “You killed someone?”
Harry snorted, “It wasn’t our intention. He both hit him with the disarming charm at the same time and the impact against the wall crushed his skull. They didn’t even tell us who it was.”
“I didn’t know. I haven’t talked to anyone in almost two months. There has been a lot of pain to work through.”
“Your father is a complete arse,” Harry grunted in response.
“Will you help me please Harry? I’ve never asked for help before. I’ve never had a real friend before either. I think you’re the only one that I could ever trust. You have never been less than honest with me. Even when I didn’t deserve anything.”
Harry looked into Draco’s cloudy gray eyes for a long time. After a few minutes, during which both boys stared at each other intently, Harry finally nodded.
“Are you sure Harry?”
“Yes Draco. I’ll help you. I do have a few conditions though.”
Draco looked contrite for a few moments before asking in just above a whisper, “What are the conditions?” As soon as he said it, he looked back at his feet again.
“You have to be honest with me at all times. You have to come with me to talk to Dumbledore sometime after we settle in and you have to stop tormenting Ron and Hermione.”
Draco looked extremely small and pitiful to Harry when he looked up and locked eyes with him. The gray eyes showed emotion where there had been none before. They were screaming please.
“Yes, Harry. I promise,” he said firmly while still looking Harry straight in the eyes.
“Good. It’s getting really late. We should get back to bed,” Harry said.
Harry pulled out the Marauder’s Map and looked it over. He noticed Filch and his blasted cat were both in Filch’s room. Peeves was now making mischief in the History of Magic classroom. Harry showed Draco the map.
Draco’s eyes widened again, “What is this?”
“The Marauder’s Map. It was made a long time ago. It shows that the way is clear back to our dorms. Sleep well Draco.”
“You too Harry.”
“Draco, I just thought of something. We should probably keep this a complete secret for a while. I did mean it when I said I’d be your friend. Please know that anything I say to keep our little secret won’t really be meant.”
“I think I see your meaning. Please understand the same from me,” Draco replied with a glint of mischief on his now smiling face.
“Merlin! Give me a heart attack! Draco Malfoy is smiling. I would have never have believed it possible!” Harry exclaimed.
Draco took a swat at his head and Harry ducked and then disappeared beneath his invisibility cloak.
Two sets of footsteps could be heard walking down from the tower and then parting ways in the 7th floor corridor.
Draco walked quietly all the way down to the dungeon and he reentered his dorm room without any problems. He settled into sleep almost as soon as his head hit the pillow. He finally was able to get some peaceful sleep. The best five hours he had all summer.
Harry had the invisibility cloak on and walked quietly back to his dorm as well. The Fat Lady swung open when he said the password, not evening awakening. He got back in his bed and fell asleep quickly, listening to Neville’s soft snoring. He finally managed to get five hours of good sleep as well.
Fred and George Weasley looked at each other significantly as the papers in their hand indicated that the boys they were watching had returned to sleep.
George tapped out a seemingly random pattern of sound on his wooden bed frame.
After a moment of silence, Fred replied quietly into the still room, “I think you may be right.”
“Good night Fred.”
“Good night George.”
End of Chapter 5
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